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Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. When a person sends a Get to his wife, and afterwards meets his messenger, or that he sends another agent after the first, who tells the latter [in the sender's name], "The Get I gave you is now annulled," the Get is void; should the husband meet his wife before the arrival of his agent, or that he sends her another messenger [before the arrival of the first], who tells her [in her husband's name], "The Get I sent thee is now annulled," it is void; but when the Get has once reached the wife's hands, it is no longer in the power of the husband to revoke it.

§ 2. Formerly a husband had a right to select a Beth Din in another place, 1 and to declare before them, that he revoked the Get he had sent; but Rabbon Gamaliel the elder ordained, "That this should no longer be permitted, on account of the maintenance of social order." 2 Formerly a husband was allowed to change his or her name, and that of the place in which he and she dwelt; 3 but Rabbon Gamaliel the elder ordained, "That, for the upholding of social order, 4 it would be henceforth required to add to the names of the husband and wife [the words], 'And every other name he [or she] may have.'"

§ 3. Formerly a widow was not paid from the orphans’ estate until she had sworn [that she had not even received her Ketubah from the estate]. When they abstained from administering that oath, 5 Rabbon Gamaliel the elder ordained, "That she should solemnly vow [to that effect] in the presence of the orphans, and may then receive her

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[paragraph continues] Ketubah." [The above, as also] that witnesses must sign the Get, was ordered on account of the maintenance of social order; and the same motive induced Hillel to ordain the ‏פרוזבול‎ or contract of pre-monition. 6

§ 4. When a person had ransomed a captive slave, if he ransomed him as a slave, he becomes again a slave; 7 but if as a freeman, 8 he cannot afterwards subject him to slavery; but Rabbon Simeon ben Gamaliel saith, "He remains a slave in either case." When a slave was given by his master as a security for the repayment of a debt, and then he manumits him, the slave is not bound in any way [to the second master] according to strict justice; but, for the upholding of social order, the [second] master shall be compelled to manumit the slave, and the latter shall sign a contract of debt for the value he would bring [were he to be sold in the slave market]; R. Simeon ben Gamaliel saith, "The slave need not sign any contract; but the [first] master who manumitted him [must pay his value to the second]."

§ 5. One who is partly a slave and partly free, shall work one day for his master and another day for himself. Such is the dictum of Beth Hillel; Beth Shammai said unto them, "Your institution is good for the master but not for the slave; because, being partly free he cannot marry a bondwoman, nor a free woman on account of his being partly a slave; remain unmarried he may not, since the world was created that man should thereon be fruitful and multiply, as it is said (Isaiah xlv. 19), 'He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited;' therefore, for the sake of upholding social order, the master is to be compelled to manumit such a slave, completely, and the latter shall sign a bond for half of his value." Then did Beth Hillel adopt the opinion of Beth Shammai.

§ 6. When a person sold his slave to a non-Israelite, or to be carried to a foreign country, 9 the slave must be manumitted. 10 No more money must be paid for the redemption of slaves than what they are really worth, for the sake of the maintenance of social

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order; 11 nor are, for the same reason, captive Israelite slaves to be assisted to escape. But Rabbon Simeon ben Gamaliel saith, "It is for the sake of their fellow-captives." 12 No more than the value must be paid for holy writings, Tephillin and Mezuzzot, when bought of a non-Israelite, 13 for the maintenance of social order.

§ 7. A person who divorced his wife on account of an evil report, 14 may not take her back; also when he divorced her on account of a vow. R. Jehudah saith, "When the vow was known to many people, the husband may not take her back, but he may, when it is not generally known." R. Meir saith, "He may not take her back, if the vow was of a nature to require the investigation of a person learned in the Holy Law [to annul it], 15 but he may when such investigation is unnecessary." 16 R. Eleazar saith, "The prohibition in the first mentioned case was made on account of the second case." R. José ben Jehudah saith, "It happened once at Zidon that a person said to his wife, 'Konam17 if I do not divorce thee,' and did divorce her." The sages allowed him to take her back, [for they issued the above-mentioned prohibition, only] for the maintenance of social order.

§ 8. When a person divorces his wife because she is an ‏אילנית‎ [i.e. one who is unfit to bear children], he may not take her back, according to R. Jehudah but the sages allow it. If she married another husband, had children by him, and then claims her Ketubah [of the first husband], the latter may reply to her claim, "It were better for you to be silent than to speak." 18

§ 9. When a person sells himself and his children as slaves to non-Israelites, he is not to be ransomed, but his children are to be ransomed after his death. When a person sold his field to a non-Israelite, and an Israelite purchases it from the latter, the purchaser

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must bring the offering of the first fruit, for the preservation of social order. 19


287:1 That is, in any place from which the wife and messenger are absent.

287:2 For it may happen that the messenger, not knowing of the revocation of the Get, brings it to the wife, who thereupon remarries, not being aware that it had been revoked before it was delivered to her.

287:3 That is, when there were two names for the same person or town, by one of which it was known in the Holy Land, and by the other abroad; it is not necessary to write both names, but only that used in the place in which the Get was written.

287:4 Because her children, in a second marriage, would be prejudiced, as it might be said that their mother was never lawfully divorced from her first husband, the names in the Get being different from those by which the parties are known in that town, and therefore they might, without any real cause, be called the bastard children of an adultress.

287:5 It often gave cause to many false oaths being sworn by widows.

288:6 See Treatise Shebiith, chap. X. § 3.

288:7 To the person who ransomed him; this treats of a heathen who had been slave to an Israelite, was made captive, and ransomed by another Israelite.

288:8 That is, if he was bought with the intention of giving him his liberty.

288:9 That is, out of Palestine.

288:10 The tribunal compels the Israelite master to repurchase the slave he had sold, and give him his liberty, as that sale was illegal.

289:11 In order not to encourage incursions from foreign enemies for the purpose of making slaves, in the expectation of receiving large sums for their ransom.

289:12 Remaining behind in slavery, that they may not be worse treated.

289:13 Not to encourage him to steal them.

289:14 Of having been guilty of adultery.

289:15 Viz. a vow which cannot be annulled by the husband.

289:16 When the husband can annul it. (See Treatise Nedarim.)

289:17 A legal expression of taking a vow. (See Treatise Nedarim, chap. I. § 2.)

289:18 For, having children with the second husband, it becomes evident, that the reason for which the Get was given was ill-founded, and the first husband may say, "Had I known I would have to pay your Ketubah, I would not have divorced you." Her Get becomes thus void, and she an adultress.

290:19 To discourage the sale of land in Palestine to non-Israelites.

Next: Chapter V