Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gittin 33-36 - Agunah, Nachmeni and Punishment for swearing falsely and in vain

Some notes on recent pages studied in the Daf Yomi. Possibly of interest to Daffies; all others, feel free to read or skip as you choose.

Gittin 33a
As we have already noted, the Rashba and Rashi have two different definitions of “agunah” as a technical term.
-Rashba says it refers to a woman who does not know whether she is married.
-Rashi says it also refers to a woman who is married, but is not able to live with her husband.

Therefore, on Gittin 32a when the gemara says that one may not nullify a get after giving it to a delivery agent, unless in the present of the agent, Rashi explains that this is because the husband may just be trying to pain her - making her an agunah - because now she will remain married to him, but be emotionally distant from him.
Rashba, though, would not consider that an agunah situation. Therefore, Rashba says it’s actually לצעוריה קא מכוין, something which pains the delivery agent. The fear is that all agents will have to wonder whether they are on a fool’s errand. Therefore, they will hesitate to deliver gittin. It is not about agunah at all.

However, this approach to 32a creates a problem on 33a, where the gemara says explicitly (in Reish Lakish’s view) that this is a matter of agunah! So the Rashba explains that we have an additional concern, that she might hear that the get has been annulled but not know whether it was annulled before or after she received it. Thus she does not know whether she is married - fitting Rashba’s definition of agunah.

The gemara here discusses הפקעת קידושין, annulment of marriage, a fascinating topic. Certainly, one must see the very interesting remarks of Tosafot ואפקעינהו here. See, too, the opinions brought in Shitah Mekubetzet to Ketuvot 2b.

Gittin 34a
Rashi and Tosafot disagree on how legal guardians (אפטרופוס) of inheriting orphans function. Rashi says they choose portions of the estate for their charges. Tosafot disagrees and argues that the court does the distribution, and the guardians then take care of the property put into their care.

Gittin 34b
See the note in R’ Akiva Eiger’s Gilyon haShas on possible sources of the title נחמני Nachmeni given to Abbaye. Rashi’s explanation (that Rabbah bar Nachmeni was his guardian) is the familiar one, but there is another possibility, as R’ Akiva Eiger shows.

The gemara says we record the names of parties in a get, and record “וכל שום שיש לו,” “and any other name he has.” Tosafot brings two views, one that we literally write וכל שום שיש לו, the other that we record the actual other names. We follow the latter view.

Gittin 35a
The gemara presents a story in which a woman swore falsely, by mistake, regarding an item in her care, and suffered as a result. Tosafot לא asks why she was punished, since we say that a person who is forced by circumstance to swear falsely does not bring a korban. Tosafot offers two answers: (1) That one in such a situation doesn’t bring a korban, but is subject to punishment, or (2) That she was careless regarding an item she was supposed to guard, and that carelessness was what led to the false oath. She is liable for the carelessness.
For a strong statement against oaths, verging on declaring all oaths to be שבועת שוא, oaths in vain, see Sefer Chasidim 418-419.

Rashi חוץ לבית דין משביעין is very important for a core understanding of the vows we are discussing here.

Gittin 35b
Interesting; the gemara here uses הפרה when it really means התרה; a judge does התרה, not הפרה. This is surprising; Bava Batra 120b says that if a judge uses the term הפרה, saying “מופר לך”, the vow is not annuled!

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