Talmud Tips

For the week ending 11 March 2017 / 13 Adar II 5777

Bava Batra 46 - 52

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

“It is a mitzvah to listen the words of the Sages.”

When a Beit Din (Jewish religious court) rules that a husband divorce his wife with a get, but he refuses, the Beit Din (in theory) may choose to compel the person with physical pressure until he complies. The Rambam (Laws of Divorce 2:20) explains why such a get is valid even though it was apparently given under duress:

Only when one who is under duress sells, gives away something, or does anything he is not obligated to do, is he considered to be acting against his will. However, when he is pressured into doing something which the Torah requires, or to refrain from something that is forbidden, he is actually acting in according to his true will, which his evil inclination has attempted to enslave. Every Jew wishes to be part of his holy nation. He really wants to do what is right, and his outward refusal to obey the order to divorce is due to his being a prisoner of his evil inclination. When pressure is applied, it is to weaken the hold of his ‘captor’, and this ‘liberated Jew’ is considered as having expressed his true will when he complies with the order of the court.

  • Bava Batra 48a

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