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The Essential Component of Jewish Continuity


By TorahLab

Based on The Jewish Law of Divorce. By: David Werner Amram, Hermon Press, New York, 1975, pages 142-185, 192-204


Divorce Procedure Hus¬band Must Give the Order to Prepare the Get with the Intention of Divorcing His Wife What is Deemed a Sufficient Order to the Scribe and Witnesses Excep¬tions in Favor of Persons in Situation of Danger, etc. ¬Uses of the Bill of Divorce Divorce by a Mute hus¬band Writing the Get The Scribe Fees of the Scribe The Writing Materials.

The rules of divorce procedure, according to Jewish law, promote exactness, minimized mistake and mis¬understanding. It settled, with reasonable certainty, the legal status and the mutual obligations and rights of the parties. The result of this system was to make the granting of a bill of divorce too difficult for any layman to undertake, and the matter being thrown into the hands of the judge or Rabbi. The difficulty of divorce was enhanced, because the weight of Rabbinical persuasive power was thrown against it. Men were cautioned to beware of attempting to give Bills of Divorce, unless they were well versed in the law, lest they cause trouble and disgrace. (The Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 6 a.) Some Rabbis were of the opinion that all Bills of Divorce prepared by laymen ought to be declared null and void.
ORDERING THE PREPARATION AND DELIVERY OF THE GET. The first step in the procedure, was the order, given by the husband, to the proper persons, to write and deliver the Get (Bill of Divorce). They thereby became his agents, and according to the common principle of law, they could not, by their acts, exceed the power granted them. If they were told to write the Get, they could do this and nothing more. If they were told to write and deliver it, they might act accordingly. In a case where a man had given the order, ‘ write a Get for my wife,’ it was held that a de¬livery of a Get to her was unauthorized and void; but that if, from subsequent events, it appeared that it was truly the husband’s intention to divorce her, his intention could be carried out, despite this technical irregularity.( Mishnah Gittin vi, 6.) (*I don’t understand the end of previous sentence. Either we will delete or find someone who understands it, to make it clear.* Must check that this conforms with Halacha)
If a husband, instead of merely saying: “ write a Get for my wife,” had said “ write a Get and give it to my wife,” or “write a letter of divorce and give it to her,” or “divorce her,” or had made use of some such expression, to indicate that it was his desire that the Get should not merely be written, but should also be delivered, there would be no doubt as to the decision that she was divorced.( Mishnah Gittin vi, 5) If he had merely used such expressions as “ release her, “ provide for her,” “do to her as is customary,” or “do to her as is proper,” it appears that, under the construction given by the Rabbis to these terms, they would constitute no lawful warrant for a scribe and the witnesses to attend to the writing and delivery of the Get.( Mishnah Gittin vi, 5’wink
To this rule, there were several exceptions made in favor of persons who, while in situations of great danger, did not express their intention with technical exactness.  The Mishnah cites the case of one who, being led to execution, ordered a Get to be written, without adding that it should be delivered to his wife. It was, nevertheless, held to be valid, upon the presumption that his agitation, in face of death, caused him to forget to add the words: ‘Deliver the Get to my wife.” (Mishnah Gitten vi,5.)This principle, that the strict law is relaxed in favor of one who makes a statement, or performs an act, in contemplation of death, was a very ancient one, and in the report of the above case, the Mishnah indicates its antiquity, by stating that it was the rule “in the beginning.”
If one, who had fallen into a pit, cried out, call¬ing upon any one within sound of his voice to write a Get for his wife, but not adding that it should also be delivered to her, it would, nevertheless, upon the principle cited above, be valid, if written and delivered.’( Mishnah Gittin vi, 6) (The principle being that since he was nervous, he forgot to mention the detail of the Get being delivered).
From the citation of these cases, it will be seen that the Bill of Divorce could be used, and very probably was often used, for the purpose of saving the wife from being an Aguna (‘chained’ and not allowed to remarry) or for the purpose of saving her from the Levirate marriage, whereby she would have been compelled, if childless, to marry her husband’s brother, if he, the brother, so desired. The husband deliv¬ered or ordered the delivery of the Get to his wife, whereby she became a free woman and was not amenable to the law of the Yebama. (Yebama was the technical name of the widow who was bound by the law (Deuteronomy xxv., 5 10) to marry her de¬ceased husband’s brother; the brother was known as the Yabam.)
It was essential that the husband himself should order the Get to be written and delivered to the wife. I (Mishnah Gittin Vii, 2). In the case of a man who had been stricken dumb, and who therefore could not order the document to be prepared, it was permissible to write a Get and deliver it upon his order, given by signs or gestures. A deaf person could not divorce at all.
Regarding a mute, the following is the course of action. For the purpose of arriving at the intention of the mute, he was asked whether he desired the Get to be prepared; he assented by nodding his head. Thereupon he was tested by a series of questions, three times repeated, for the purpose of determining whether he fully understood what was to be done .(Mishnah Gittin vii,I)
An ancient formula for thus determining the mental soundness of the mute is given in the Tal¬mud. The witnesses asked him, “Shall we write a Get for your wife?” He nods affirmatively. “Shall we direct it to your mother ?” He nods his head negatively. “Shall we direct it to your wife?” He nods his head affirmatively. “Shall we direct it to your sister ?” He nods his head negatively, etc.
WRITING THE GET. THE SCRIBE. All persons were qualified to act as scribes in the preparation of the Get, even those who were otherwise legally disqualified, such as a deaf, mute, an idiot or an infant. These, however, could perform the duty of scribes only under the supervision of a competent person. (Talmud Bavli Gittin 23a) The act of writing, was merely a ministerial duty, and therefore could be performed by any one, under the direction of those whose duty it was to take care that the Get be written in proper form, according to law.( Mishnah Gittin, 5; Mishnah Eduyoth ii, 3) The woman who was about to be divorced, could write her own Get, and after giving it to her husband and having it re¬delivered to her, by him, she was divorced. The mere writing of the Get was a matter of minor importance, the validity of the Get being estab¬lished by the subscribing witnesses ( Mishnah Gittin,5; Mishnah Eduyoth ii,3).
Bills of Divorce that were prepared in the courts of the heathen were invalid. This discrimination against non¬-Jewish courts extended only to the cases of Bills of Divorce and Bills of Manumission of slaves. All other documents prepared in the courts of the Gentiles, were received at Jewish law, as though they had been prepared in a Jewish court.
It was essential that the scribe should receive the order directly from the husband. In a case where the husband was asked, ‘”Shall we write a Get to your wife?” and assented, and thereupon the per¬son who had received the order from him, instructed third persons to write and witness the Get, it was declared to be void. Although this Get was given to the husband by the scribe, and he himself delivered it to his wife, it was nevertheless invalid, because it was a rule of law that the husband himself must give the order to the scribe to write it and to the witnesses to attest to its being written.  (Mishnah Gittin vii, I) Rabbi Hanina, of the town of Ono, declared that if the husband gave his direc¬tions to three men, to give the Get to his wife, they could order another to write it, because being three, they were looked upon as a Beth Din ( Jewish Court: A court of law for the trial of civil suits, consisted of three members, one chosen by the plaintiff, one by the defendant, and the third by these two (Mishnah Sanhedrin iii, i) As such they had the authority to appoint a scribe to prepare documents to which they after¬wards gave validity.  (Mishnah Gittin vi, 7)
Although this decision was given upon the authority of so distinguished a sage as Rabbi Akiva, it did not become law.[ (The Mishnah, at this place, states that Rabbi Hanina brought this law from prison. Rashi, in his Commentary, states that Rabbi Akiva is the authority for it, he having given it to Rabbi Hanina during his incarceration. Akiva had taken a prominent part in the last heroic attempt made by the Jews, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, to throw off the Roman yoke (about 135 C. E.), and after the defeat of the Jewish arms, Akiva and many others of the most distinguished leaders were imprisoned and executed (Graetz’s History of the Jews,” Vol. 11, P. 428). While he was in prison, many of his disciples, in disguise and in danger of their lives, visited him for the purpose of consulting his opinion on questions of law) )(Talmud Yerushalmi Yevamos, sub Mishnah xii, 5 (12 d)). ] Against it, the Mishnah cites the opinion of Rabbi Yose, who said with much emphasis: “We have received a tradi¬tion that even if a man directs the great Sanhedrin at Jerusalem (the highest tribunal of the Jewish state) to give a Get to his wife, they cannot delegate the office of preparing the Get to another; “and if it be,” adds Rabbi Yose, in rather a peppery manner, “that the Sanhedrin do not know how to write it (if they are not skilled scribes), let them learn, and then write and deliver the Get accord¬ingly.” I(Mishnah Gittin vi, 7)
As stated above, the scribe had to be specially requested, or ordered, by the husband, to write the Get, and if some one other than the husband gave the order, it was null and void,
If the husband instructed more than one to pre¬pare the Get, all of those asked had to unite, and a mere majority did not suffice. Take, for example, the case where a man said to ten people, “Write a Get and give it to my wife.” One of them wrote it and two signed as attesting witnesses, in the presence of all of them. Since the husband specifically ordered all of them to write it, they were all obliged to sign the document as attesting witnesses. Hence in the case where all were requested to sign and one died before signing, the Get was declared void!  (Mishnah Gittin vi, 7 )
FEES OF THE SCRIBE. It was the rule of the Mishnah that the husband pay the fee of the scribe for preparing the Bill of Divorce. (Mishnah Baba Basra x, 3) The theory being, that the divorce was an act done to the advantage of the husband and at his special re¬quest. So too, the ten¬ant paid the fee for preparing the lease, as the lease was to his benefit. Likewise, the purchaser paid the scribal fee for the preparation of the deed of sale, which was to his advantage.
In each of the above cases, the party to whose advantage the transaction was presumed to be made, was charged with the payment of the scribe’s fee. But in the course of the development of the law in Babylonia, the theory, in this particular in¬stance, underwent a complete change. It was then decided that the fees of the scribe were to be paid by the wife. (Talmud Bavli Baba Basra 168 a.)
This was a Rabbinical innovation for the purpose of preventing the husband from setting up the question of expense, as an excuse for the non de¬livery of the Get. Presumably, this innovation was first introduced in cases where the husband was about to desert his wife, and where it was, no doubt, to her advantage that the divorce should be granted. Later on, the distinction between the respective positions of the parties was lost and it was made a rule that the wife should pay the fees of the scribe in all cases.( Maimonides, Treatise Gerushin ii, 4)
THE WRITING MATERIALS. Much space is de¬voted in the Talmud to discussions about the proper materials to be used in the preparation of a Get ; some of them occasioned by questions of practical importance which were brought before the Rabbis for decision. Other discussions revolve around theoretical cases. The sum and substance of all these discussions is sum¬marized in one sentence of the Mishnah. The Get may be written on any material whatever and with any substance which leaves a permanent mark.’ (Mishnah Gittin ii, 3)
Rabbi Yose, the Galilean, was of the opinion that a Get could not be written on anything ani¬mate or edible.(Mishnah Gitten ii,3) .This rather remarkable dictum was the result of a curious discussion upon the validity of a Get written on the horn of a cow. The question of the validity of the Get written on the hand of a slave also arose. Rabbi Yehudah ben Bathyra, of Babylonia, was of the opinion that a Get could not be written on papyrus which had been previously used and the writing on which had been erased , nor on unfinished vellum (a fine parchment prepared from calfskin, or lambskin, used for writing), because in such cases, forgery would be easy. But the general opinion was that it made no difference on what material the Get was written, provided that it was properly written and delivered to the wife in the presence of witnesses.’(Mishnah Gittin ii, 4.)
The Get could not be written on anything attached to the soil, unless the article had been previously severed from the ground .The reason for this is that it would be necessary, after the Get had been written, to cut it off from the ground, before delivering it to the wife. This would be in defiance of the law that nothing must be done to the doc¬ument between the writing and delivery. (Mishnah Gitten ii, 4)


Maimonides’ Form Blank Forms The Folded Get The Essentials of a Get Date Names¬Words of Separation Clauses in Restraint of Marriage The Get “ On Condition “ Origin of the Right of the Husband to Annex Conditions to his Bill of Divorce- ¬Wife Could Accept or Reject Condition Must be Strictly Complied With On Condition of the Husband’s Death On Condition of his Failure to Return.

From the scattered references in the Mishnah, it is possible to re construct, with fair accuracy, the ancient form of the Get, although it cannot be determined when this particular form came into use. The original form of the Get was very prob¬ably much more simple than the one in use at the end of the period of the Mishnah, and the later and more complicated form, was gradually evolved under the decision of the judges in particular cases, to meet the new requirements of the law. Maimo¬nides gives (Treatise Gerushin iv, 12) the following form, which in his day (at the end of the twelfth century of the present era) was already known as a very ancient form. It corresponds very largely to the hypothetical form that might be reconstructed from the fragmentary references of the Mishnah; with some slight changes, it has been in uninterrupted use for about two thousand years, being used to this very day. (In those countries where divorce of Jewish couples is governed by the law of the land, it is considered necessary for them to go through the ceremony of a Jewish divorce, in addition to the ordinary legal procedure; likewise, a religious marriage ceremony is usually performed after the civil marriage.)
“On the…… day of the week and day of the month of ………….. in the year………. since
the creation of the world ( Mishnah Gittin ix, 4; viii, 5 ; iii, 2), the era according to which we are
accustomed to reckon in this place, the town of…………( Mishnah Gitten viii, 5), do I ………..the son of ………. (Mishnah Gitten ix,5; iii) of the town of ………(Mishnah Gitten viii,2) (and by whatever other name or
surname I (Mishnah Gitten. ix, 8; Mishnah Yebamoth iii, 8) or my father may be known, and my
town and his town)’ (Mishnah Gittin viii, 5; iv, 2.) thus determine, being of sound mind ( Mishnah Yevamos xiv,I) and under no constraint (Mishnah Yevmos xiv,I).; and I do release and send away and put aside (Mishnah Gittin ix, 3.), you............daughter of ………….(Mishnah Gitten. ix, 5; iii,) of the town of ……… (Mishnah Gitten viii, 5). and by whatever other name or surname you (Mishnah Gitten ix ,8 ) and your father are known, and your town and his town ( Mishnah Gittin viii, 5), who has been my wife from the following date, until now; and hereby I do release you and send you away and put you aside (Mishnah Gitten, ix,3) that you may have permission and control over yourself, to get married to any man who you want (Mishnah Gitten).You are permitted to marry any man. (Mishnah Gitten ix,I,3) And these presents are for you, from me, a bill of dismissal, a document of release and a letter of freedom, (Mishnah Gitten, ix,3) according to the law of Moses and Israel.
. the son of a witness
. the son of a witness.(Mishnah Gitten ix, 4,7,8)

BLANK FORMS- During the period of the Mish¬nah, blank forms were used by the scribes or
Notaries, in the preparation of all sorts of legal documents, including bills of divorce. This custom was opposed by Rabbi Yehudah (150 210 C.E.), the compiler of the Mishnah, and by Rabbi Eliezer, on the ground that the laws of divorce must be strictly interpreted, and inasmuch as the law provides that the husband shall write her a bill of divorce, it is necessary that the document should be specially prepared at, or immediately before, the time when it is intended to be used as an instrument of di¬vorce, and it is therefore unlawful to prepare a portion of the document beforehand, when it is not yet known for whom it will be used. (Mishnah Gittin iii, 2) In spite of these opinions, however, the use of blank forms was continued. (* This whole inyan is not understood, someone who is frum and more familiar with Gitten and the halachos should read this and edit if necessary*)

THE FOLDED GET. A curious form of the Bill of Divorce was known as the Folded Get, which was prepared in the following manner: Two or three lines were written, then the parch¬ment was folded and fastened, so that the two lines written were entirely covered over, and a wit¬ness signed on the back of the fold ; then two more lines were written, and, again, the parchment was folded and fastened, and this fold was attested to by another witness. It became a maxim that the folded Get must have as many witnesses as it has folds, and if one fold is blank, the Get was called a “bald Get,” and was void.( Mishnah Gittin viii, 9, 10).
The reason and origin of this curious form, seem to have been forgotten at a very early period, and the Talmudists exercised their ingenuity in in¬venting reasons to account for it. (*not sure if this is a respectful statement*)
One of the most plausible, was that which re¬ceived the sanction of two great Talmudical com¬mentators, Rashi (1040 1105 C.E.) and Rabbi Obadiah of Bartinora (1470 1520 C. E.) Accord¬ing to this view, the folded Get was invented to meet the case of Kohanim (priests) who, in a fit of anger, di¬vorced their wives; the cumbrous formality delayed and protracted the procedure, and thereby gave the parties an opportunity for reconciliation (Talmud Bavli Bava Batra 160 b.) The Kohen (priest) could not, like the ordinary Israelite, remarry his divorced wife, for the Biblical law is that a priest is not allowed to marry a divorced woman (Leviticus xxi, 7.)
Dr. J. M. Rabbinowicz suggests (Rabbinowicz, “Legislation Civile du Talmud,” Vol. IV, P. 368) that the folded Get probably was a Persian custom, adopted by the Jews during the Captivity in Babylon. (*Is this a kosher sentence? Wouldn’t the folded get be a Mesorah from Sinai?*) There is some evidence in the Book of Jeremiah, of an analogous custom, well known and established in Judea. In his purchase of the field of Hanam’el, Jeremiah prepared two deeds, one of which was sealed, i. e., rolled up, fastened and then sealed and the other left open; the former to be referred to in case the latter had been lost or tampered with. (Jeremiah xxxii, 10 14.) It is probable, therefore, that the sealed or folded Get, was used both in Babylon and Judea, and that the difference in procedure between the execution of the deed of Jeremiah and the folding up and attestation of the “ Folded Get “, was the result of time and local custom. It appears that there was some discussion whether a plain Get was valid, if the witnesses signed on the back, and whether a folded Get was valid, if the witnesses signed within. Rabbi Simon ben Gamaliel (Died about 170 C. E.) decided that this question depended on the custom of the land, i.e., the local custom and law of the country in which the Jews dwelt. (Mishnah Bava Basra x, i. The term “Get” is here used in its simple sense of “ document,” including all written acts, as well as Bills of Divorce.)
The essential features of the Get were the date, the names of the parties, proper words indicating the complete separation of the husband and wife, and the signatures of the witnesses. The language commonly used in Bills of Divorce was Aramaic, although the use of Hebrew, Greek or other lan¬guages was not uncommon.( Mishnah Gittin ix, 8.) It was improper, of course, to introduce irrelevant matter into the body of the Get, ( Talmud Bavli Bava Basra 176 a.) although alterations could be made, and would not affect the validity of the instrument, if noted at the end and before the witnesses signed their names. (Malmonides’ Treatise Gerushin iv, 15)
DATE. It was, at one time, the custom to date the Bill of Divorce from the reign of Alexander of Macedon ; but as the scribes during the Middle Ages were not well versed in Greek chronology, it became the established custom to date the docu¬ments from the year of the creation of the world, according to the traditional calculation ( Hagaoth Maimuni to Gerushin i, 27) and to add the date according to the era current in the place where it was written, out of respect for the secular authorities and “on account of the peace of the Government.” (Maimonides’ Treatise Gerushin i, 27) It seems that in some instances, sentiment prompted the dating of Bills of Divorce according to the reign of extinct Median or Greek dynasties. These documents were held to be void, as they tended to irritate the public authorities and were subversive of the public peace. (Mishnah Gitten viii,8) For the same reason documents which were dated from the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem were de¬clared void, as tending, no doubt, to unduly exaggerate the strained relations between the Roman conquerors and the conquered Jews.(Mishnah Gitten viii,8)
Before the destruction of the Temple, while the religious conflicts between the Sadducces and Phar¬isees were raging, one of the Sadducees sarcastically charged the Pharisees with a lack of respect for the memory of the great Lawgiver, Moses, because they placed the name of the heathen sovereign and Moses, in the same document; the former being introduced at the beginning of the document (in the date) and the latter, in the very last phrase . The Pharisees justified their custom by pointing out, with equal irony, that if it was an offense to couple the name of the heathen sover¬eign and Moses, then Moses himself was guilty of a greater offense in coupling the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh, with the name of God, and even giving the former precedence, as it is written, (Exodus v,2) “And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?” (Mishnah Yadayim iv,8)

A Get written on the Sabbath day (Mishnah Shabbath xii, 3) or on any of the festivals, or on the New Year’s Day, or the Day of Atonement, (Mishnah Moed Katon iii, 6. Also Mishnah Megillah, i, 5) was void; if it was deliberately written in violation of the law, (Maimonides’ Treatise Gerushin iii, 19) If the scribe did not know that it was the Sabbath or Holy day and innocently wrote the Get, it was valid. (Maimonides’ Treatise Gerushin iii,19). Although the middle days of the Passover Festival and of the Festival of Tab¬ernacles, called Chol Hamo’ed, were holidays in their own right, bills of Divorce could be written on these days.(Talmud Yerushalmi Moed Katan ,sub Mishnah iii, 3 (82 a). On the “ middle days”, most of the ordinary affairs of life were conducted and all works necessary to the public welfare were attended to (Mishnah Moed Katan i, 2). Marriages were not allowed to take place during the Moed, for the rea¬son that the individual joy of the married man, would interfere with his duty to participate in the gen¬eral joy of the festival.
In cases where the date was omitted, a presump¬tion arose against the validity of the Get, and shifted the burden of proof on the wife. (Mishnah Gittin ix, 4).In strict law, the writing and attestation of the Get, had to take place on the same day.( Mishnah Gittin ii, 2.) The legal day of the Hebrews began and ended at sunset. It was con¬sidered necessary that a legal act, once begun, should be completed on the same day, except in the trial of criminal cases, in which the contrary rule obtained.
NAMES. Rabban Gamliel the Elder (about 40 C. E.) ordained that after the name and place of residence of both parties, the following phrase should be added: “And by what other name he or she may be known.( Mishnah Gitten iv, 2) It was customary to write in the Get the narne by which the parties were best known, and even in cases where merely a nick¬name was written, it was declared to be valid, pro¬vided the person was well known by such name.( Mishnah Gitten ix, 8)
WORDS OF SEPARATION. The essential words of the Get indicating the absolute separation of the husband and wife were, “You are permitted to any man,” or, according to Rabbi Yehudah, “You have here, from me, a bill of dismissal, a document of release and a letter of freedom, that you may go and be married to any man. (Mishnah Gittin ix, 3.)
DIVORCES COUPLED WITH CONDITIONS.  Not only did the husband have the right to divorce his wife, but he could couple the divorce with conditions. These conditions had to be fulfilled in order for the Get to be valid.
Nothing will illustrate more clearly the true theory of the ancient law as to the position of the husband, than this right to couple the divorce with conditions. The constitution of the patriarchal family left the husband supreme in the household. He could release his slave and divorce his wife, whenever it pleased him; and he could exact the performance of some act by them, as a condition to their release from his power.
The Rabbis declared that it lay in the power of the woman to accept or reject the Get, whenever the condition attached to it was the performance of some act by her. If the hus¬band annexed a condition to the divorce, providing that it should not become absolute, unless his wife paid him two hundred pieces of money and the woman accepted the Get, she became liable for the payment of the amount named; but if she refused to fulfil the condition, she was not di¬vorced.( Maimonides’ Treatise Ishus vi, 18.)
The general rule requires that conditions be strictly fulfilled. Where the husband provided that the wife should pay him a sum of money within a certain period. If the sum was not paid in time, the Get was declared void; payment after the expiration of the time was too late. (Mishnah Gittin vii, 5) Rabbi Simon ben Gamliel seems to have been inclined to interpret the conditions attached to a Get in favor of the wife. In one case, at Sidon, the condition was that the wife should give her husband a certain cloak, for which he seemed to have a special desire. The woman lost the cloak, and it was held that she could fulfil the condition by giving him its equivalent in money. (Mishnah Gitten vii,5) In the case where the condition annexed to the Get, was that the wife should serve her husband’s father for two years; if the father died before the expiration of the two years, the divorce was null and void, because the condition was not strictly fulfilled, the woman not having served for two years. But Rabbi Simon ben Gamliel was of the opinion that the impossibility of fulfilling the condition was not her fault, but was an act of God, and that therefore the divorce was valid. (Mishnah Gittin vii, 6.)

DIVORCE ON CONDITION OF THE HUSBAND’S FAILURE TO RETURN. Another form of the divorce on condition, provided that the divorce should become absolute, in case the absent husband did not return within a definite period, and if he died, while abroad, during this time, the wife was divorced. The use of this form arose in cases where the husband went abroad or to sea, or on a journey, with a caravan, through the desert. As the absence of the husband raised no legal pre¬sumption of death, his widow could never remarry if he died while abroad, and no legal proof of his death could be found. This case was met by a Get on condition. (Mishnah Gittin vii, 8.)If he returned before the time had elapsed, this was equivalent to a reconciliation, and the Get was void ; but after the time had elapsed, the Get became absolute and the woman was free,

DIVORCE ON CONDITION OF THE HUSBAND’S DEATH. The husband could make his own death the condition upon which the divorce became valid (Mishnah Gitten 3); the happening of this event worked retro¬actively, and during the interval between the de¬livery of the Get and his death. This pecu¬liar use of the Get on Condition seems likely to have arisen out of the desire of the husband to save his wife from the Levirate marriage.( Tahnud Babli NedariM 27 a (Rashi). In other words, if he just died and the wife became a widow, she would be required to marry her dead husband’s brother. If the wife was divorced upon the death of her husband, she was not bound to her brother-in-law.

According to the law, if a husband dies and the couple have no children, then the dead husband’s brother had a duty to marry his sister-in-law. The divorced woman was not subject to this law. Where the brother in law was distasteful to the husband or the wife, it would be quite natural to make use of the Get on Condition. This would prevent him from having any claim upon the wife, after her husband’s death. When the husband gave his wife a Bill of Divorce, on condition that it should become absolute at his death, she remained his wife as long as he lived; but at the moment of his death she was not his widow, but a divorced woman .(Mishnah Gittin vii, 3.) (There was a tradition cited by Rabbi Samuel bar Nachmani that the warriors of King David, on going to war, gave conditional bills of divorce to their wives, in case they died in battle. (Talmud Bavli Kesuvos 9 b)


The Get was Attested by Two Witnesses Who were Per¬sonally Acquainted with the Husband and Wife The Delivery of the Get was Essential to Complete the Divorce Method of Delivery- Delivery to minor wife-Delivery by Messenger Presumption that the Hus¬band is Alive at the Time the Messenger delivers the Get Who may be Messenger The Messengers of the Husband The Messengers of the Wife Sub-¬Messengers.

THE ATTESTATION OF THE GET. The Get, hav¬ing been written, was not signed by the husband, but was attested by the signatures of two competent wit¬nesses, who were not related to the parties and were not otherwise legally disqualified. (Mishnah Sanhedrin iii, 3 ) For example: “Reuben ben (son of) Jacob, Ed. (witness) ( ¬Mishnah Gittin ix, 4.) The names could be signed in any language.( Mishnah Sanhedrin ix, 8)
Although it was not absolutely essential that there should be subscribing witnesses to the Get, Rabban Gamaliel ordained, on account of public policy, that in order to facilitate the proof of legal documents, the witnesses should subscribe. (Mishnah Gittin iv, 3) Their attestation raised a presumption in favor of the validity of the document, and the burden of prov¬ing the contrary, was upon him who attacked it.
After this ordinance, requiring the attestation of witnesses to the document, it was still maintained for a long time that the Get could be otherwise proved, and Rabbi Eliezer (about 150 C. E.) held that in a case where there were no subscribing wit¬nesses, but where the Get had been properly de¬livered to the wife, in the presence of witnesses, it was valid and could be proved by the witnesses of the delivery.( Mishnah Gitten ix, 4.) This decision was rendered after the rebellion of Bar Kokhba, when the danger attending the preparation and delivery, of a Bill of Divorce, was very great; the death penalty hav¬ing been decreed against all persons indulging in this practice. Therfore, exact conformity with the prescribed regulations was often impossible.( Talmud Babli Gittin 64 a.)
In strict law, it was essential that the witnesses should be personally acquainted with the husband and wife, so that they might literally be said to know that this particular Bill of Divorce was written and intended, for a certain woman.( Mishnah Gittin iii, I ) This being premised, the Get could be prepared in the absence of the woman, whose identity could after¬wards be established by the witnesses.’( Mishnah Baba Bathra x, 4.)

But cases sometimes arose where the exigen¬cies of the situation demanded that legal acts should be done without the usual formalities; as, for instance, where the husband was in danger of his life and ordered a Bill of Divorce for his wife, it was decided by Rabbi Ishmael that the Bill of Divorce might be written and de¬livered to her, even though the witnesses did not personally know the parties.( Talmud Babli Gittin 66 a.)
If, however, the name was only partially written, it was nevertheless a valid attesta¬tion, or if the word “a witness “ was omitted (it was nevertheless presumed that the subscriber wrote his name with the intention of being a wit¬ness to the document. As, for instance
“Reuben………a witness.”
………….the son of Jacob, a witness.”
“Reuben the son of Jacob ...............” (Mishnah Gittin ix, 8.) The Mishnah states that it was the custom of some of the best men in Jerusalem to attest docu¬ments in this way, not writing the word “‘Ed” (witness) after their names; and the Gemara cites a number of instances of dis¬tinguished judges who used marks or seals. For instance, Abba Areka, commonly called Rab (The Master, 175 247 C. E.), the greatest of all the Sages of the law, in Babylonia, in attesting documents made a mark in the shape of a fish. Rabbi Hanina’s mark was a branch of a date palm. Rabbi Hasda used the second letter of his name, “ Samekh “ (“ S “wink, and Raba Bar Rab Huna used as a seal the emblem of a mast of a ship (Talmud Bavli Baba Basra 161 b; Talmud Yerushalmi Gittin sub Mishnah ix, 8; Tal¬mud Babli Gittin 36 a). It is the custom of modern judges to attest certain documents, especially orders of court, by their initials instead of writing out their names in full.

THE DELIVERY OF THE GET. The final step in the divorce procedure was the delivery of the Bill of Divorce to the wife. This was ordinarily done by handing it to her, with some words indicating that the document presented was a Bill of Di¬vorce. In order to avoid doubt and to facilitate proof of divorce, it was ordained that the deliv¬ery of the Get should always be made in the presence of two witnesses, (Mishnah Gittin ix, 4) who were otherwise competent to testify at Jewish law (Talmud Bavli Kiddushin 43 a) These wit¬nesses were not absolutely essential at the delivery of the Get.. If the Bill of Divorce had been delivered with¬out witnesses, it was nevertheless presumed to have been properly delivered, if it was found in the wife’s possession, and its writing was proven by the subscribing witnesses. ( Maimonides Gerushin i, 16.) (*This seems to be slightly contradictory, someone who is familiar with Gitten must look this over*)
At the time of the delivery of the Get, the wife must have actual or presumptive, notice of its nature and content. If the husband, after a con¬versation with his wife about their divorce, handed her a Bill of Divorce, she was presumed to know its nature from the previous conversation.(Mishnah Maaser Sheni iv, 7) If there had been no previous conversation about it, it was necessary for the husband to give his wife formal notice that the document handed to her was a Bill of Divorce. (Talmud Bavli Qiddushin 6 a. ) Hence, if the husband handed the Get to his wife, telling her that it is a bond or some other document, or if he put it into her lap while she was asleep, she was not divorced.( Mishnah Gittin viii,2)
As soon as the Get came into possession of the wife, she was divorced. It was not necessary that she should have actual manual seizure of it; but if it was brought under her control or within her reach, or placed in the hand of her authorized agent, she was divorced. Therefore, if the husband threw the Get towards her, while she was in her own house, or in her own courtyard, it was con¬sidered a valid delivery, because the Get was then in her possession. (Mishnah Gitten viii, I) If he cast it towards her, in his own house, it was not a valid delivery (Mishnah Gitten viii,I) unless it actually came into her own hand, because being in his own house, he is supposed, by a legal presumption, to retain possession of the document. If he cast it towards her on neutral ground, or on the public highway, she was divorced if it fell nearer to her than to him, then being considered to be in her possession. (Mishnah Gitten viii,2)
A curious case of mistake in the delivery of the Get is cited in the Mishnah. The scribe prepared two documents, a Get for the wife and an acknowl¬edgment of receipt of the amount of the Kesu¬bah, for the husband. By mistake, he handed the Get to the wife and the receipt to the husband. They, being illiterate, exchanged the documents, the husband thinking that he was de¬livering the Get to the wife and the wife thinking that she was giving the receipt to the husband. Afterwards the mistake was discovered. In the meantime, the woman had remarried, and it was contended that her second marriage was void and that therefore she could not live either with her first or her second husband. But Rabbi Eliezer was of the opinion, which was accepted as a correct statemcnt of the law, that if the mistake had been discovered before her second marriage, the divorce would have been declared void, and the husband could have given her a second Get, or could have become reconciled to her. But having entered into a second marriage and having acquired a new status, the mere mistake in the exchange of the documents would not be permitted to affect or disturb it.( Mishnah Gittin viii, 8) (*This final sentence is not understood by me, because if she never received a Get, how can she remain married to the second husband? * must be clarified or deleted*)

DELIVERY OF THE GET TO A MINOR WIFE. ¬Where a minor had been betrothed, and her affi¬anced husband desired to release her, he had to give her a Bill of Divorce, as though they had been actually married, and this Get had to be deliv¬ered to her father and not to her. (Mishnah Kesuvos iv, 4.) But after the minor has been married, her father’s guardianship over her is absolutely at an end, and hence it seems that she would be entitled to receive the Get herself. (Talmud Yerushalmi Gittin vi, sub Mishnah ii. See Rashi to Talmud Bavli Kiddushin 43 b, sub Tit. “ Hi ve’aviha.")
If, however, the minor was so young as not to understand the nature of a Get, she could not be divorced at all.( Mishnah Gittin Vi, 2) A minor could not appoint an agent, messenger or attorney. As long as the minor was merely betrothed, her father could appoint a mes¬senger to receive her Get. After she was mar¬ried, she could be divorced only by actual delivery of the Get to her; ( Mishnah Gitten vi, 3)

THE DELIVERY OF THE GET BY A MESSENGER The Biblical law provides that the husband give the wife a bill of divorce.  This did not, in all cases, mean that the husband had to physically hand the Get to his wife. The Mishnah provides that both the husband and wife, living apart, could appoint lawful agents or messengers to give and receive the bill of divorce.

PRESUMPTION OF LIFE. The authority of the messenger to deliver the Get, was revoked by the death of the husband.  In other words, in order for the Get to be valid, the husband must be alive at the time of the delivery of the Get. In order to avoid vexatious litigation to deter¬mine whether a man was yet alive at the time the Get was delivered, it was laid down, as a general rule, that in all cases, the husband who was alive when the messenger started on his journey, was presumed to be alive when the Get was delivered to the wife; even where the husband was sick or very aged, he was presumed to be alive at the time when his messenger delivered the Get. (Mishnah Gittin iii, 3) This was an important presumption of law, inasmuch as there could be no divorce after the death of the husband; (Mishnah Gitten i, 6.) and if the Get was invalid, the wife became a widow and not a divorced woman, whereby her status was changed. (*I don’t know the difference of the status’, and it should be included here*)
According to the decision of Rabbi Eliezer ben Parta, when a man charged with a capital crime was being led to trial for his life, he was presumed to be alive at a subsequent time (when a legal act was performed which required his existence, to give it validity); but if he was being led to execution, the fact of his existence becomes a question to be determined by proof. Hence, if a man, while be¬ing tried for his life, sent a letter of divorce to his wife, he was presumed to still be alive when it was delivered to her; but if he was being led to execu¬tion, this presumption did not arise. Rabbi Joseph was of the opinion that if a man was being led to execution, in obedience to the sentence of a Jewish Court, the presumption is in favor of life, for the Jewish law gives him the benefit of the slightest particle of evidence, in order to put off the execution and allow a new trial; If the sentence was im¬posed by a Court of the Gentiles (Romans), he is presumed to have been executed; for “when a man is condemned by them, he will surely be put to death.” (Talmud Babli Gittin 28 b.)

WHO MAY BE A MESSENGER. All persons are competent to act as messengers for the husband or the wife, except deaf mutes and idiots, because they are not competent; infants, because of their non age; blind persons, because they cannot see from whom the Get is brought or to whom it is delivered, and therefore, in doubtful cases, their testimony would be of little value; heathen and slaves, because they are not within the pale of the Jewish law, which looks upon divorce as a religious act. ( Mishnah Gittin ii, 5; Talmud Bavli Gittin 23 b.) All other persons are competent, even those who in ordinary legal proceedings would be deemed in¬competent. The danger of fraud or perjury is to a large extent obviated by the document, which having been properly written and attested, proves itself.( Mishnah Gittin ii, 7; Mishnah, Yevamos xv, 4)
The messenger must strictly follow the instruc¬tions of his principal and any act contrary to such instructions is void. (Mishnah Gittin vi, 3) But if the instructions given to the messenger are general, he may, within a certain scope, exercise his discretion in the per¬formance of his duty. If, for example, the messenger is told to deliver the Get at a particular place, he has no power to deliver it elsewhere. But if it is merely suggested to him that he may find the wife at a particular place, for the purpose of delivering the Get to her, he may, if he does not find her there, deliver the Get to her elsewhere.( Mishnah Gittin vi, 3.)
The law recognized five classes of agents or messengers. Two of them being the appointees of the husband, two of the wife and the fifth, being the appointee of the messenger or of the court, to act as a substitute for the one originally appointed. These five classes of messengers may be consid¬ered under the following heads:
First, the messenger for the delivery of the Get; second, the messenger for the delivery of the Get from foreign parts; third, the messenger for bring¬ing the Get to the wife; fourth, the messenger for receiving the Get for the wife; and fifth, sub mes¬sengers.
THE MESSENGER FOR DELIVERY The messenger of the husband, appointed to deliver the Get, stands in the place of his principal. In the eye of the law, his act is the act of the husband who appointed him, and when he delivers the Get, it is supposed to be the act of the husband himself, unless posi¬tive proof is adduced that he has exceeded the authority conferred upon him.
THE MESSENGER FROM FOREIGN PARTS The messenger who brought a Get, from the husband, to the wife, within the boundaries of Palestine, need not have been a witness of the writing and the attestation, since any question as to the proper preparation and execution of the Get, could be settled by the testimony of the subscribing wit¬nesses.( Mishnah Gittin i, 3 ) But when the messenger brought the Get from a foreign country, into Palestine, or vice versa, or from one province or jurisdiction into another, when both are situated beyond the boundries of Palestine, or from one hostile jurisdiction into another, within Palestine, it was necessary that he should have witnessed the writing and attesta¬tion of the Get, so that he could, when delivering it, testify “before me it was written and before me it was subscribed.(Mishnah Gitten. i,I)
This statement of the messenger raised a strong presumption in favor of the validity of the Get. The scribe who wrote it was presumed to have been scrupulously exact (Talmud Bavli Gittin) The responsibility of the messenger,(Talmud Bavli Gittin, 3a) was deemed equivalent to the testi¬mony of two witnesses.
If, therefore, the messenger could not testify that it was written and subscribed in his presence, the Get was void, (Mishnah Gittin ii,I) unless the subscribing witnesses were produced to authenticate it, (Mishnah Gittin. I,3) it being considered less dangerous to declare the Get void, than to allow the wife to remarry on the faith of it and afterwards subject her to the necessity of proving that she had been divorced, in a case where the divorce had been sent to her from a distant land, and the difficulties of proving her position would be almost insurmountable.( Maimonides’ Treatise Gerushin vii, 8)

THE MESSENGER FOR BRINGING THE GET TO THE WIFE. The wife may appoint a messenger to bring the Get to her from the husband or his messenger, but her messenger is not deemed to be absolutely her representative, unless he is ap¬pointed by a special formality, and she is not divorced until he has actually delivered the Get into her hands. (Mishnah Gittin vi, 4) This principle is illustrated in the case of the wife of a priest. As his wife, she was entitled to share in the offerings that were set aside for the sustenance of the priest and his family. After she had appointed a mes¬senger to bring the Get from her husband, the question arose as to whether she was still entitled to the above rights, and it was decided that she was not divorced, and therefore not deprived of her rights, until the Get was actually delivered into her hands.(Mishnah Gitten vi, 4)

THE MESSENGER FOR RECEIVING THE GET FOR THE WIFE. It is, of course, presumed that the appointment of any of the three former classes of messengers is made in the presence of wit¬nesses. In the case when the wife appoints a messenger to receive her Get, the law provides that the presence of two sets of wit¬nesses is required. One pair or set to prove the appointment of the messenger and the other pair to prove the reception of the Get by him.( Mishnah Gittin vi, 2) There¬by this messenger becomes her lawful representa¬tive, and the delivery of the Get to him, has the same effect as the delivery to her, and she is divorced as soon as the Get reaches his hands (Talmud Bavli Gittin 64 a; Maimonides’ Gerushin vi, I)
As stated above, she must have two witnesses to testify that she appointed him her messenger, and two witnesses (although these may be the same persons as the witnesses of the appointment) to testify that the Get was delivered to the mes¬senger and that he tore it up..( Mishnah Gittin vi, 2)
The tearing up of the Get is said, by Rabbi Yehudah, to refer to the period of public danger, when Bills of Divorce were classed among the numerous religious and quasi religious acts which the Roman authorities interdicted.( Talmud Bavli Gittin 64 a) The period referred to is the one following the rebellion of the Jews under Bar Kokhba, during the reign of Hadrian.(Graetz’s “ History of tile Jews,” Vol. II, P. 422.) In order to avoid detection, it became customary to destroy the Get immediately after it was delivered and this, of course, had to be done in the presence of witnesses, in order to perpetu¬ate the proof of delivery, in the absence of the Bill of Divorce. (*Make sure that all this is kosher*).

SUB MESSENGERS. – In the case when a messenger, carrying a Get from one place to another, in Israel, became ill while on the road, he could constitute a sub-messenger to deliver the Get for him. (Mishnah Gittin iii, 5) If, however, in addition to his appointment by the husband to deliver the Get, he had been commissioned to receive from the wife, at the time when he delivered the Get to her, some article of value, for the purpose of bringing it back to the husband, he could not appoint a sub-messenger (Mishnah Gittin iii, 5), because special trust and confidence had been reposed in him, and he became the bailee for the husband; and the bailee could not transfer the bailment to a third person, without the consent of the owner.
When the messenger bringing a Get from foreign parts fell sick, or was for other reasons, unable to continue his journey, he could not constitute a sub-messenger; for the messenger bringing the Get from foreign parts, had a special duty to perform at the time of the delivery of the Get, namely, to testify that it was written and attested in his presence; and the performance of this special duty could not be delegated to another. He was obliged to go before a Bais Din (Jewish Court) and make his deposition that the Get was written and attested in his presence, and the Bais Din then appointed a messenger to deliver it. The substituted messenger, acting under the authority of the Bais Din, was merely obliged to announce himself as the messenger of the Court, instead of repeating the customary formula, “Before me it was written and before me it was subscribed. (Mishnah Gittin iii,6).

The Order of the Get

Rules of Procedure in Divorce, as reported by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the Shulchan Aruch, Treatise Eben Ha’ezer, Section 154, with occasional notes by Rabbi Moshe Isserles.

NOTE. During the days of the Talmudists, it was the custom to have a man learned in the law preside over the divorce proceeding, and the early Rabbis were accustomed to have the divorce procedure conducted only before the ablest authorities. Therefore, it is improper for just anyone to get involved in these matters, unless he is learned in the law of marriage and divorce. If one should endeavor, without being authorized, to conduct divorce proceedings, I am of the opinion that his acts should be declared null and void.

(1) It is the custom in some places not to con¬duct divorce proceedings on the eve of the Sabbath.

(2) A scribe and two witnesses, must be present; none of whom is related to the other, nor to the husband or the wife.
NOTE. The witnesses should be cautioned by the presid¬ing Rabbi to review their lives and repent of any sin that they may have committed. Due to their sins, they might be incompetent to act in this proceeding. They should be men of understanding who appreciate the meaning of divorce proceedings.

(2) The scribe should not be one of the wit¬nesses.

(4) The fee of the scribe and of the presiding Rabbi, should not be greater than the value of their time.

(5) It is necessary that they should know the man to be the husband and the woman to be his wife.

(6) If the husband is sick, care should be taken to see that he is of sound mind at the time of the writing and delivery of the Get.

(7) If he desires to couple the divorce with a condition, it should not be mentioned to the scribe or to the subscribing witnesses, until the document is delivered.

(8) All persons may write the bill of divorce, except a deaf mute, an idiot, a slave, an idol worshipper, an Israelite who has apostatized, or one who will¬fully desecrates the Sabbath.

(9) The husband himself should not write the Get, unless no other person can be obtained to write it.

(10) Likewise, the husband should not interfere with the scribe, by directing him how to write the Get.

(11) If it is possible to obtain another person, no relative of the husband or of the wife should act as the scribe.

(12) The scribe should provide the parchment, ink, pen and all other materials. The hus¬band should buy acquire these materials from the scribe.

(13) The Rabbi should ask the husband, “Do you give this Get of your own free will, without any compulsion? If you have made any vow, or taken any oath, which binds you to give this Get, tell it to us and we will absolve you from its obli¬gation.” The husband should answer, “I have neither vowed nor sworn and I am under no com¬pulsion, but I give this Get of my own free will, without any compulsion or condition.” If the husband should acknowledge that he has in any way bound himself to give the Get, he must first be absolved, in order that he may act without com¬pulsion. If he has given security that he will divorce his wife, it is not considered equivalent to the above cases, and he is not deemed to be under restraint or compulsion, in the sense above indicated.

(14) The husband hands the parchment, the pen and ink, to the scribe, in the presence of the witnesses, saying to him “Write, for me, a bill of divorce of my wife……… the daughter of ………….., for the purpose of separation. I authorize you to write as many bills as necessary, until one is produced which will be without flaw, both in the writing and in the attestation, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi ...........

(15) “And you and be witnesses, and attest this Get for my wife, the daughter of……… For the purpose of separation, I authorize you to attest as many bills as may be necessary, until one shall be produced which will be without flaw, both in the writing and in the at¬testation, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi………”

(16) If it becomes necessary to write two bills of divorce, because of doubt as to the proper names of the parties, the scribe and the witnesses, should be specially authorized to do so.

(17) The scribe should not write and the wit¬nesses should not sign, until they have received the order from the mouth of the husband himself.

(18) The husband should pay the fee of the scribe. If he does not, the wife may pay it.

(19) The husband should state, before the wit¬nesses, that he has not raised and will not raise, any protest or declaration, annulling the Get; and that anything which he had said or may say, for this purpose, is null and void.

(20) The witnesses, in whose presence instruc¬tions are given to the scribe, should be personally requested to sign the Get, and should be present when the names of the parties and the date are written in it.

(21) It is necessary that they should know this to be the Get that the scribe has written, in the name of the husband, for the wife, and therefore, if they desire to leave after it has been written, they should make a mark on it, so that they may be able to identify it.

(22) It is advisable that the husband should be present with the scribe and witnesses, until it has been written, signed and delivered, that he may not raise any protest against the Get, or do any¬thing which might tend to invalidate the pro¬ceedings.

(23) If he desires to send the Get to the wife through a messenger, it is necessary that the mes¬senger should be present through the entire pro¬ceedings.

(24) It is necessary, before the Get is written, that he should be informed that he is to be the mes¬senger and the Rabbi should state that this Get is written and attested, for the woman, in order that the messenger be able to testify to this fact afterwards.

(25) When the Get is sent by a messenger, it is advisable that the husband should be solemnly sworn not to raise any protest against the Get or do anything which might invalidate the proceed¬ings and annul the Get.

(26) The husband and the messenger must be of full age.

(27) The messenger must be neither a deaf¬-mute, an idot, an infant, a slave, an idolator, a blind man, or one who has been guilty of trespassing of some Biblical commandment.

(28) The Bill of Divorce should not be delivered by a messenger, if the husband and wife are both in the same city.

(29) If the husband is obliged to go away and cannot wait until the Get is written and signed, let him give his directions as above, adding the following : “I hereby constitute…………the son of......….., a messenger to carry this Get to my wife, ………the daughter of ………., wherever he may find her, and his hand shall be as my hand and his mouth as my mouth and his act as my act and his delivery as my delivery, and I authorize him to
constitute any number of sub messengers, until the Get reaches her hand, or the hand of her messenger and as soon as the Get reaches her hand or the hand of her messenger, from the hand of ........, my messenger or from the hand of any sub messen¬ger thus constituted, she is divorced from me and is permitted to be married to any man.”

(30) He who orders the divorce to be delivered in this manner, cannot couple it with conditions.

(31) If he desires that the divorce should not go into effect until after a certain period, he must, when ordering the messenger to deliver the Get to the wife, state that she will not be divorced until after the fixed period of time has expired.

(32) It is not necessary that the messenger should be constituted in the presence of the hus¬band, but he may be constituted by the witnesses (under the direction of the husband) to act as messenger.
NOTE. This is only true when the husband, for certain reasons, cannot himself hand the Get to the messenger.

(33) Those not competent to act as messengers have been mentioned above.

(34) The messenger must be present during the proceeding, as stated above.

(35) Before the scribe begins to write the Get, he must ask the husband to give him his name, the name of his father and any surnames that they may have.
(36) It is proper (where possible) to put the same question to the woman and her father (regarding their names)

(37) The scribe and the witnesses, must be to¬gether during the entire proceeding.

(38) The parchment must be cut to the required size before the writing is commenced.

(39) If the scribe has made a mistake in writ¬ing and begins a new Get on the same sheet, he must first cut off the portion of the parchment on which he has written.

(40) The parchment should be greater in length than in breadth.

(41) It should be ruled with thirteen lines, the last line to be divided into two small lines for the signatures of the witnesses, one under the other.

(42) Some say that the writing should be on the side of the parchment which was next to the flesh, and not on the hairy side.

(43) The lines should not be ruled with lead, nor on the same side as the writing. (*this is unclear*)

(44) Some say the Get should not be written with a quill pen.

(45) The writing should be clear and not crooked or confused.

(46) The letters should be separated and not joined together.

(47) Care should be taken not to have the letters of two lines running into each other.

(48) The letters should not extend beyond the marginal line.

(49) There must be no erasures of ink spots. In case ink drops into a letter, a new Get must be written.

(50) If a slip of the pen caused an error, it cannot be erased; a new Get must be written.

(51) There must be no roughness in the letters, and no writing over erasures.

(52) The scribe must be careful to write the form of the Get according to the regulation.

(53) If the Get is found to be improperly written and the husband is still present, he must give the order to write a new one.

(54) When the scribe is about to write, he must say to the witnesses, “ Behold, I write this Get
in the name , the son of ……, for the purpose of divorcing his wife ,………, the daughter of
........ ” and then he must proceed to write it at once.

(55) The ink must be dry before the witnesses sign.

(56) And then they sign one under the other.

(57) And in the presence of each other.

(58) Each of the witnesses must state before signing, “I sign this Get in behalf of……., the son of……., for the purpose of divorcing, with it, …........., the daughter of ………..”

(59) The signatures must be placed at the right hand of the sheet, next to margin; not more than the space of two lines from the last line in the body of the Get.

(60) Each witness must sign his own name and the name of his father, thus………., the son of........, a witness.

(61) The signatures must be clear and distinct.

(62) The scribe must not be a witness.

(63) The signatures must be dried.

(64) The Rabbi and the witnesses, must read the Get, together with the signatures of the wit¬nesses, and after they have read it, the Rabbi must ask the scribe, “Is this the Get which you have written, at the request of the husband, for the purpose of divorcing his wife, …………, the daughter of ……….?” and he answers “Yes.”
He then asks one of the witnesses, “Did you hear the husband give the order to the scribe to write
the Get ?”

(65) “Do you recognize this to be the Get ?”

(66) “Did you sign it at the request of the husband ? “

(67) “Did you sign it in his behalf and for the purpose of divorcing his wife?”

(68) “Do you recognize your signature?”

(69) “Did you sign it in the presence of the other witness ?”

(70) “ Do you recognize his signature ?”

(71) And the witness answers “Yes” to all of these questions; and in the same manner, the second witness is interrogated.

(72) Then the Get is given to the husband and he is asked whether he gives it of his own free will, as above.

(73) The husband then repeats the statement made in paragraph 19.

(74) If the husband leaves before the delivery of the Get, he is sworn not to attempt to invalidate the proceedings, or raise any protest against the Get.

(75) Ten men are summoned to be present at the delivery of the Get.

(76) The Rabbi addresses them, saying: “If any man present knows why the Get should be invalidated or why it should not be delivered, let him speak before it is delivered; for after it is delivered, I shall pronounce the ban of excommunication upon any one who shall attempt to invalidate the Get.”

(77) The Rabbi calls upon all competent persons to be witnesses.

(78) It is advisable that the attesting witnesses should be present at the delivery of the Get.

(79) The Rabbi should direct the woman to re¬move any rings that she may have on her fingers, and stretch forth her hand to receive the Get.

NOTE. It is customary for the woman to remain veiled until she is thus addressed by the Rabbi. The Rabbi asks her whether she receives the Get of her own free will, and she answers “ yes.” The Rabbi then inquires about the Kesuvah, in order that there may be no dispute regarding it thereafter.

(80) Care must be taken that no one assists her in taking the Get.

(81) She must not close her hand on it, until the husband pronounces the words mentioned in para¬graph 82.

(82) The husband places the Get into her hands, saying: “This is your Get, and you are divorced, by it, fro

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