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



The Gemara on our daf states that a scribe (a sofer) may not write a get for a couple 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”) explain that this is not due to a question of shelichus (agency); the problem, rather, is one of lack of lishma, i.e., it is not considered as specifically written for her.


Spelling Counts

R. Yitzchak b. Shmuel b. Martha said in the name of Rav that if a scribe commissioned to write a get writes a defective get (e.g., he misspells the wife’s name), he is not authorized to write another get without receiving new instructions from the husband.


Validity Counts

R. Nachman ruled: A Get May Be Written and Given Even One Hundred Times [Until A Valid Document Emerges – see Maharam ad loc]. The halacha follows R. Nachman. He understands 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 a new authorization.


Deviating From any Custom

Mishkenos Yaakov (siman 27, at the beginning) 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 he 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, it invalidates the husband’s authorization. Mishkenos Yaakov reasons that when a husband appoints a scribe to write a get for him, he expects it to be written in the customary manner, and therefore the scribe is not authorized to write an unconventional get (e.g., containing more than 12 lines). Consequently, such a get is biblically invalid since it was written without the husband’s authorization.


Rabbinically Defective, Yet Kosher

Toras Gittin (122:s.k. 2) disagrees and maintains that although a scribe who writes a get with a rabbinical defect is authorized to write another get, this does not mean that the first get he wrote is considered to have been written without the husband’s authorization. Rather, it means that the scribe’s assignment has not been completed until a non-defective get is written. 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 (pesul miderabbanan) 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 is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.