OUTLINES OF HALACHOS FROM THE DAF
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
1) ONE-LINE DOCUMENTS AND CONCERNS THEY AROUSE
1. If between the text and the witnesses there is a
smudge of ink, the document is Pasul. Perhaps the
witnesses signed under the smudge and did not intend
to testify about the text.
2. 163b (R. Yochanan): Two blank lines between the text
and the witnesses invalid a document, but even one
blank line between the witnesses and the validation
3. Question: Presumably, we are concerned lest he cut
off the top (the document and witnesses) and write a
document and forge signatures in the blank line (and
it will have a validation of Beis Din below it)!
i. R. Yochanan must say that a one-line document
that includes the signatures is valid.
4. Answer: R. Yochanan must say that a one-line
document in which the signatures are underneath is
invalid (we do not learn from the bottom line).
ii. Summation of question: Also when there is one
blank line between the text and the witnesses,
perhaps he will cut off the top, and write a
document in the blank line (and it will have
5. Question: Perhaps when he writes the document in the
blank line (above the witnesses), he will also forge
signatures in that line. He will say that he wanted
to have extra witnesses, therefore there are also
6. Answer: In such a case, it must be validated from
the witnesses in the same line as the document.
1. The Rif brings the Gemara verbatim.
i. Hagahos Chavos Ya'ir (1): We did not enact to
Machshir a one line document in which the
witnesses signed underneath, and disqualify
when witnesses left a blank line, for witnesses
are not so proficient to sign without leaving
any space. Beis Din is proficient.
2. Rambam (Hilchos Malveh 27:4): A one-line document
that includes the signatures is Kosher.
i. Magid Mishneh: The Rashba says in the name of
Tosfos that we learn from here that witnesses
must sign at the beginning of the line, so
there is no room to write a document in the
margin. If such a document were written, it
would (seem to) be a Kosher document. Since
there is concern for this forgery, this
disqualifies the document. If the first witness
left room in the margin, the second witness
should sign under him. Now the bearer cannot
write a new document with witnesses all in one
3. Rambam (5): If a document is in one line, and the
signatures are in the second line, it is Pasul.
Perhaps witnesses signed one line below a Kosher
document, and the bearer cut off the document and
wrote this document in the bkl, and the witnesses
are signed underneath it. Similarly, if a document
and two signatures are in one line, and two more
witnesses are in the second line, and he says that
he wanted to have extra witnesses, we validate it
only from the witnesses in the top line. Perhaps in
the bkl between the original Kosher document and the
witnesses he wrote a document and forged signatures.
i. Hagahos Maimoniyos (Hilchos Gerushin 1:3,
citing Sefer ha'Terumos): Witnesses must sign
at the beginning of the line, so the there is
no room to write a document in the margin.
Witnesses should sign one under the other, lest
there be room in the margin to write 'Ploni
borrowed a Maneh (100 Zuz) from Almoni.' Even
if they sign one under the other, if there is
room the bearer could write 'I signed below owe
a Maneh to Ploni', and the witness will be
signed afterwards! The only solution is to
leave a small margin. One should finish the
last line of the document to the end. Some do
so by elongating the letters.
4. Rosh (10:2): The Sugya disqualifies any document
that could be used to swindle, even if no fraud was
done, for it is unlike Chachamim's enactment.
Witnesses must sign at the beginning of the line, so
there is no room to write a document in the margin.
If there were room, and they signed in one line, the
bearer could cut off the document, and write what he
wants to the side. His new document has the text and
witnesses all in one line. We accept such documents!
If there is a margin, one may dirty it with ink. We
are concerned lest witnesses signed (only) on an ink
smudge only when it is between the text and the
signatures, like the concern lest witnesses signed
on a greeting under the document (176a).
Alternatively, witnesses may sign one under the
other (even if there is space to the side). Even
though the bearer could write 'I owe 100 to you' to
the side, and (it will look as if) one witness
signed on it, we are concerned only when the bearer
can forge a document that can be used to force
others to pay. We are not concerned if he can force
the witness to pay, for the witness caused his own
loss. However, if one may join two documents, each
of which was signed by one witness, we must
disqualify a document with space next to the
5. Rosh (10:10): R. Yochanan holds that one blank line
between the witnesses and the validation
disqualifies the validation. Since there is no
problem between the document and the witnesses, we
disqualify only from the problem and below.
1. Shulchan Aruch (CM 45:11): Witnesses must be
meticulous when they sign, that if there is blank
parchment in front of their signatures, that they
not sign one after the other in one line. Perhaps
the bearer will write what he wants, cut off the
top, and he will have a document with signatures in
i. Beis Yosef (DH Kosvu ha'Tosfos): Tosfos (163b
DH Shitah) says that even if witnesses signed
and left much blank parchment at the beginning
(of the line - Bach), perhaps the document is
Kosher. We disqualify only when a part
essential to the document can be used to forge.
2. Shulchan Aruch (ibid): Rather, they should smudge
the blank parchment with ink. We say that witnesses
signed (only) on the smudge only when it is between
the text and the witnesses.
ii. Shach (19): It seems that the reason to be
Machshir is because one could cut off the
margin if it is not essential to the document.
iii. Darchei Moshe (3): The Rosh, Tur and Mordechai
iv. Tashbatz (1:6, cited in Hagahos Tur ha'Shalem
87): The custom is to have a big margin in
Kesuvos. It should be filled with pictures or
stanzas or verses. However, it is better not to
v. SMA (24): We are concerned even when they
signed under the beginning of the text lines,
if there is a big margin.
i. SMA (25): There is no reason for witnesses to
testify that the area was smudged (and the
lender did not erase`anything there), for the
lender could cut off the margin without any
suspicion, if he desired.
3. Shulchan Aruch (ibid): If witnesses began to sign in
the middle of a line, and the blank parchment before
their signatures was cut off, it is Pasul. Perhaps
an unfavorable clause for the bearer or a Tanai was
written there, and he cut it off.
i. SMA (26): We do not learn from the last line to
help the bearer, but we learn from it to weaken
him (44:1, Nimukei Yosef 76b DH Masnisin).
4. Shulchan Aruch (ibid): However, if Sharir v'Kayam
was written at the end of the line above it is
Kosher, if the witnesses signed one under the other.
i. Shach (20): The Rosh, Tur and Shulchan Aruch
say that if Sharir v'Kayam was written at the
end of the line above it is Kosher. Perhaps an
unfavorable clause for the bearer was written
after Sharir v'Kayam! The Bach (12) says that
since it is rare to write more than one Sharir
v'Kayam, we are not concerned for this, even if
there is a Re'usa (problem). This is wrong.
Also, perhaps there was an unfavorable clause
after Sharir v'Kayam without a second Sharir
v'Kayam! Rather, the Rosh, Tur and Shulchan
Aruch discuss nowadays that we learn from the
last line since we (always) write Sharir
v'Kayam. They hold that based on Gemara law, we
do not learn even to weaken the bearer from the
last line, like the Rashbam (Sof 161b) says.
Likewise, nowadays we do not learn at all from
what is after Sharir v'Kayam. The Rema (42:5
and 44:1) holds that we learn from the last to
weaken the bearer. If so, he should have
commented here also (to disagree with the
Mechaber (below) who is Machshir if Sharir
v'Kayam was written at the end of the line)!
5. Shulchan Aruch (ibid): If they signed one after the
other, it is Pasul. Perhaps a Kosher document was
written in one line with the witnesses, and he cut
off the text, and wrote the current document in the
blank parchment above.
ii. Gra (22): The Shulchan Aruch is difficult. If
there is no Sharir v'Kayam, in any case
(nowadays) it is Pasul!
i. SMA (27): This teaches that one should not make
a document with the witnesses in one line if
there is blank parchment above. He must smudge
the blank parchment or cut it off. (If the
margin is cut off before the witnesses,) since
we see a problem (they did not sign at the
beginning of the line), we are concerned (lest
they also left blank parchment above, and the
lender added text).
SHARIR V'KAYAM IN DOCUMENTS NOWADAYS (Bava Basra 160)
BLANK PARCHMENT BETWEEN THE TEXT AND THE WITNESSES (Bava Basra 162)
Index to Halachah Outlines for Maseches Bava Basra