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Completing An Assignment
‘A Get May Be Written And Given Even 100 Times’
(Gittin 63b)

 

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The Gemara states that a scribe may not write a get unless he has received specific instructions from the husband to do so; a get written without the husband’s authorization is invalid (infra Gittin 71b).

Tosafos (supra Gittin 22b s.v. “veha lav benei de’ah”) explains that this is not due to a question of shlichus; the problem, rather, is one of lack of lishmah, i.e., the get is not considered to have been written specifically for her without authorization from the husband.

Spelling Counts

R. Yitzchak b. Shmuel b. Martha said in the name of Rav that if a scribe who was commissioned to write a get produces a defective one (e.g., he misspells the wife’s name), he is not authorized to write another get until he receives new instructions from the husband.

Validity Counts

R. Nachman ruled: A get may be written and given even 100 times (until a valid document emerges – see Maharam ad loc.). The halacha follows R. Nachman. He maintains that when a husband instructs a scribe to write and deliver a get, he intends to commission him to write and deliver a get that is valid, not just any get. Therefore, if the first get is not valid, or was lost before it was delivered, the scribe is authorized to write and deliver another get without any need to seek authorization again.

Deviating From Any Custom

The Mishkenos Yaakov (siman 27) extends this logic further and asserts that if a scribe deviates from an accepted custom (e.g., he does not write the get in ketav ashurit, the script used for writing a Torah scroll) or does not write a get whose length is exactly 12 lines (see Tosafos 2a, s.v. “Hamevi”), the get is biblically invalid. Even though failure to adhere to the accepted minhag is not grounds for invalidating a get, the get is nonetheless invalid because the husband presumably only authorized the scribe to write a traditional get. Thus, an unconventional get is biblically invalid since it was written without the husband’s authorization.

Rabbinically Defective, Yet Kosher

Toras Gittin (122:2) disagrees and maintains that a scribe who writes a get with a rabbinical defect is considered to be in the process of fulfilling the husband’s assignment. The first one is not good, so he must write another one. However, from the time the scribe starts writing the first get – and until he finally writes a valid get – he is considered a shaliach of the husband. Therefore, if the get containing a rabbinical defect is given to the wife, the get has biblical recognition and she is no longer considered a married woman according to the Torah.

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RABBI YAAKOV KLASS, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com. RABBI GERSHON TANNENBAUM, rav of Congregation Bnai Israel of Linden Heights, Boro Park, Brooklyn, is the Director of Igud HaRabbanim – The Rabbinical Alliance of America.