A Get Attached to the Ground

Gittin (2:4) | Yisrael Bankier | 9 years ago

The Mishnah discusses the various materials on which a get (divorce document) can be written. For example the Chachamim allow a get to be written on an olive leaf, horn of a cow or hand of a servant provided that that which was used is handed to the wife in it entirety without there being an intermediate action, e.g. cutting the horn off the cow. Bartenura explains that since the pasuk writes that the husband “writes a severance document and places it in her hand” it precludes cases that require another process between the writing and handing over. R’ Yossi Ha’Glili in the Mishnah has a more restricted position disqualifying the use of food or living creatures as surfaces for writing a get, since the Torah refers to a get as a “sefer”. The nextMishnah continues by explaining that a get my not be written on some thing that is attached to the ground. Why?

Rashi (Gittin 21b) writes, since the pasuk (cited above) records the giving immediately after the writing, it means that the getcannot lack severing (it from the ground). What is not clear from Rashi is whether the husband could give such a get along with the land it is connected to without severing it? It appears to be implicit in Rashi’s explanation that it requires severing. Why?

The Rashba explains that even if the husband gave her the land as well, the get would not be valid. He cites the Yerushalmi that explains that since the Torah refers to the get as a sefer ,which is not connected to the ground, a get must also be detached from the ground. Indeed the Pnei Yehoshuaunderstands that according to Rashi, giving the get while it is attached to the ground is obviously invalid based on this reason. The Rashba notes that our Gemara learns something different from that pasuk. Nevertheless the particular choice of wording allows us to learn this law as well.

The difficulty with the above approach is that according to our Gemara it appears that only R’ Yossi Ha’Glili connects the term “sefer” with the material on which a get must be written. Furthermore, the Ritva raises a difficulty from our Gemara. A potted plant that has a hole at its base is always considered attached to the ground. The Gemara teaches that a get could be written on such a plant. Rava who forbids it, is only due to a gezeira in case the leaf on which the get is written is detached prior to handing over the get. According to the above logic, since the plant is considered attached to the ground, it should be excluded by the term “sefer”.

The Rasha brings another answer. Since the Torah writes “he places it in her hand” the getmust be written on something that can be transferred from hand to hand. The Ritva however understands the pasuk it as it is written. The husband must be able to place the get in his wife’s hand and he cannot truly do so while it is attached to the ground.


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