Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. It is necessary that a messenger who, from a foreign country, 1 brings a Get [from a husband to his wife], should declare, "This document was written and signed in my presence." 2 Rabbon Gamaliel saith, "[It is necessary that this declaration should be made] even [when it was brought] from [the villages] Rakam and Chagar." R. Eleazar saith, "Even from the village of the Luddites to Lud [Lydda]." 3 But the sages hold, "That only when a person brings a Get from a place beyond sea, or carries it thither, that he is bound
to declare, 'It was written and signed in my presence.' And the same must be declared by a messenger who, in a country beyond sea, brings a Get from one province to another." Rabbon Simeon ben Gamaliel saith, "Also by one who only brings it from one lordship [jurisdiction] to another [jurisdiction]."
§ 2. R. Jehudah [considers as beyond the limits of Palestine] from Rakam and beyond [Rakam included] all places towards the east, from Ascalon and beyond [including that place] every part towards the south. From Acco and beyond [Acco included] every place towards the north. 4 But R. Meir is of opinion "That Acco must, in respect to Get, be considered as an integral part of the Holy Land."
§ 3. Whoever brings a Get within the limits of the Holy Land, need not declare, "It was written and signed before me," but if any demur is made, its validity must be proved by the signatures [of the attesting witnesses]. Should a messenger bring a Get from a place beyond sea, and is not able to testify that it was written and signed in his presence, its validity must be proved by the signatures of the attesting witnesses.
§ 4. Both Gittin of women and deeds of manumission for slaves, are alike in respect to the person who brings them from, or carries them to [a distant country], 5 and this is one of the points in which the laws respecting Gittin and deeds of manumission are alike.
§ 5. All legal documents, on which the attestation of a Samaritan witness appears, are void, Gittin and deeds of manumission excepted. It once happened that a Get was brought to Rabbon Gamaliel in the village Otnay, which was attested by Samaritans, which he nevertheless declared to be a valid instrument. All legal documents made in courts of justice of non-Israelites are valid, even when the attesting witnesses are not Israelites, Gittin and deeds of manumission excepted. R. Simeon declares these also to be valid, the contrary was only mentioned to apply to the case when they were prepared in an extra judicial manner.
§ 6. When a person says, "Give this Get to my wife, or this deed of manumission to my slave," he can, if he repents of his purpose, take it back. 6 Such is the dictum of R. Meir, but the sages hold
[paragraph continues] "That this is only allowable with a Get, and not with a deed of manumission, because it is permitted to confer advantages on a person in his absence, but not to deprive him of any advantage, except in his presence; for, if a person refuses to maintain his slave, he may do so, but he may not refuse maintenance to his wife." He [R. Meir] thus argued to them: "Does he not surely disqualify both his slave and wife from the right of eating heave?" 7 But they [the sages] replied, "It is because the slave is the priest's property [and is considered in the same light as his cattle] that he has a right to eat of the heave." 8 Should a person say, "Give this Get to my wife, and this deed of manumission to my slave," and dies [before it was delivered], they may not be delivered to the parties mentioned after his decease; but if he said, "You are to give a maneh to A.B.," and dies, that money must be paid [to the legatee].
280:1 In the original מדינת הים, "provinces or countries [beyond] sea." All countries with the exception of Palestine are thus called, but it relates more especially to the countries situated beyond its line of sea-coast or western frontier, which is bounded by the Mediterranean.
280:2 Because it is supposed that it is only in Palestine where it is generally known that a Get, to be a valid instrument, must be written and signed in the presence of the messenger, if it is intended to send it to another place.
280:3 The mentioned places are on the eastern frontier of Palestine, and are known in Scripture by the names of Kadesh and Bared [see Targum on Gen. xvi. 14]. The two last-mentioned places are also situated near the northern frontier of Palestine.
281:4 It was unnecessary to assign the western limit, as the Mediterranean forms its natural and well-defined boundary.
281:5 Viz., that this messenger must make the above mentioned declaration, "This document was written and signed in my presence."
281:6 That is, before the slave or woman had received it.
282:7 In case the husband or master is a priest, when the slave is disqualified to eat heave the moment he is manumitted, and the wife as soon as she is divorced; consequently a disability is imposed on them, and both are here damnified.
282:8 And the advantage he gains by his manumission, by being raised in the scale of human society, does amply compensate for the prohibition of eating heave after becoming a freeman. Consequently `no disadvantage is imposed on him.