Talmud Tips

For the week ending 13 February 2016 / 4 Adar I 5776

Gittin 65 - 71

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

The Sage Shmuel said in the name of Rebbi, “The halacha is according to the teaching of Rabbi Yossi, who stated that ‘words’ are not delivered to an agent’.”

We are taught on our daf that if a husband tells his agents to write and sign a get for his wife, the agents may not appoint a different agent (e.g. a scribe) to take their place, because of the principle that “words are not delivered to an agent”. When the husband initially appointed his agents, he commanded them with words, and that is the only item he “gave” them. And these words are non-transferable.

However, if the case would be that the husband gave a get to his agent to deliver to his wife, the agent may indeed give the get to a second agent to take his place to deliver the get to the wife. The difference is that in this case the agent was given the actual get and not just “words” telling him to write and sign a get. In this scenario, where he was given the get, the Torah teaches that “an agent may appoint an agent”, since the first agent was given more than a statement of words. He was given a “physical” get, and he is now an agent to deliver the get, as opposed to being an agent to fulfill the “words” of the person who appointed him, without any physical or tangible item to transfer to a second agent. (Rashi, and see Masechet Kiddushin 41a.)

  • Gittin 66b

“Hush, my son, hush. You never saw Rabbi Yossi. Had you seen him you would understand why the halacha is like his teaching, since ‘nimuko’ is with him.”

These are the words that Rebbi said to his son Rabbi Shimon when asked by his son why he ruled like Rabbi Yossi that “words cannot be delivered to an agent” despite the dissenting opinions of other great Sages.

But what is the meaning of “nimuko”?

Rashi offers two possibilities. On our daf he writes that Rabbi Yossi’s “explanation was with him”, i.e., he could give a reason for everything he said, and he would explain and clarify everything he said. In this sense the word “nimuko” means “reason”, a clear and solid reason.

In Masechet Eruvin (51a), however, Rashi explains “nimuko” to mean “straight like a plumb line” (a string with a weight tied to the end that hangs down in a perfectly straight manner). According to this explanation it seems that the word “nimuko” is based on the Hebrew word for “straight line”, a “kav” (“ko” at the end of “nimuko” is spelled “kuf, vav”, which can be read as “ko” or as “kav”). Accordingly, Rebbi is stating that Rabbi Yossi’s rulings are straight, and fitting to follow as the halacha.

  • Gittin 67a

© 1995-2017 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to Talmud Tips

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) and your donation is tax deductable.