1) ONE WHO FINDS A RECEIPT FOR A KESUVAH
QUESTION: The Beraisa (end of 19b) states that when one finds a receipt ("Shover") for the payment of a Kesuvah, it may be returned to the husband if the woman admits that she received the money. The Gemara asks why it may be returned; even if the wife admits that she received the payment of her Kesuvah, it is still possible that the receipt was written in Nisan and was not given to the husband until Tishrei. In such a case, the wife may have sold to someone else the rights to collect her Kesuvah (in the event that she is widowed or divorced), and the buyer may have collected the Kesuvah after Nisan (before Tishrei). In such a case, returning the Shover to the husband will allow him to collect unlawfully from the buyer. Since his receipt says that he already paid the Kesuvah to the woman in Nisan, Beis Din will conclude that the subsequent payment to the buyer of the Kesuvah was incorrect and will return the land that was collected (the land that was designated as payment for her Kesuvah) to the husband.
Rava answers that this Beraisa supports the opinion of Shmuel who rules that if a lender sells a Shtar Chov to a third party and then absolves the borrower of his debt, the debt is cancelled even though it now belongs to the third party. Likewise, in the case of the Gemara here, there is no concern that the husband will collect unlawfully from the buyers because the woman who sold the rights to collect her Kesuvah is still entitled to absolve her husband of his responsibility to pay it. If she does absolve her husband of this obligation, then the husband's obligation to pay the buyer will be nullified retroactively, and the husband will be justified in taking back the land that he paid them.
Abaye rejects Rava's opinion that the Beraisa supports Shmuel's ruling. Abaye maintains that the Beraisa can be explained differently. The Beraisa can be understood to refer to a case in which the woman is still in possession of her Kesuvah, and that alone proves that she did not sell it. Rava rejects this answer with the argument that perhaps the husband wrote two Kesuvos for his wife and she sold the first one, in which case the fact that she still has her Kesuvah does not prove that it was not sold.
Abaye gives two responses to Rava's argument. First, Abaye maintains that the Halachah never takes into account a possibility that two Kesuvos were written. Second, even if there would be such a concern, the Shover takes effect to cancel the debt on the day that it was signed (and not just on the date that it was given), and thus even if the wife sold the rights to her Kesuvah after the receipt was written, the buyers were not entitled to collect the Kesuvah. The Gemara states that Abaye's position here is consistent with his own opinion earlier (13a, 19a) where he rules that when witnesses sign a document, the document takes effect immediately.
It is difficult to understand why Abaye needs to give both answers. If Abaye maintains that a document takes effect at the moment that witnesses sign it, then his second answer is an adequate and accurate explanation for the Beraisa's ruling, and no further explanation should be necessary. Why does Abaye add in his response to Rava that the case of the Beraisa may be one in which the woman still possesses her Kesuvah? According to Abaye's opinion, the Beraisa can be understood in all cases, even if the woman no longer has her Kesuvah, because a receipt always takes effect at the time that it is signed.
ANSWERS:
(a) The RI MI'GASH (cited by the Shitah Mekubetzes) answers that Abaye gives his first answer to refute Rava's argument even according to Rava's own position. That is, Abaye wants to prove that the Beraisa does not support Shmuel's opinion even if a document takes effect not when witnesses sign it but when it is given to the recipient. Since the case of the Beraisa can be explained as one in which the woman is still in possession of her Kesuvah, it is not necessary to interpret the Beraisa to mean that the woman cancelled her husband's obligation to pay the Kesuvah. Rather, since Beis Din would not suspect that two Kesuvos were written, the fact that she still has her Kesuvah proves that she did not sell it to anyone.
(b) The MA'AYANEI HA'CHOCHMAH offers an answer based on the opinion of the RIF according to the ROSH, who maintains that even if witnesses cause a document to take effect when they sign it, the effect of their signatures can be nullified if the subject of the document is sold between the time that the document is written and the time that it is given. Consequently, in the case of the Gemara here, Abaye's second answer does not suffice to address the concern that the woman may have sold the Kesuvah for which the receipt was written, because her sale would override the effect of the witnesses' signatures. Therefore, Abaye also answers that the Kesuvah still may be in the woman's possession, in which case the Beraisa is no proof for the opinion of Shmuel. Why, then, does Abaye give the second answer, if that answer does not address the Gemara's concern? The second answer is meant to address a different concern -- that perhaps the woman borrowed money from a third party after the receipt was written but before it was given to the husband. In such a case, the Kesuvah would be Meshubad to the loan due to the law of Rebbi Nasan, who teaches that a lender is permitted to collect his debt from someone else who owes money to the borrower. (In this case, the husband owes the Kesuvah money to the wife, who is the borrower, and thus the lender may collect directly from the husband.) In such a situation, the woman certainly cannot release her husband from his obligation to pay the Kesuvah (see Shulchan Aruch CM 86:5 and Shach there). Hence, Beis Din must suspect that the woman and her husband are conspiring to cheat the lender. (If the woman "admits" that her Kesuvah was paid already and the pre-dated receipt is returned to her husband, he will be able to take back the property that the creditor collected, which is the property designated for the Kesuvah.) The fact that she still has her Kesuvah would not prove this second concern to be invalid, since the fear is not that she sold the Kesuvah, but rather that she borrowed money against it. Therefore, Abaye must add that the receipt took effect from the moment that the witnesses signed it. (I. Alsheich)
(See also BA'AL HA'ME'OR and CHEMDAS SHLOMO.)
2) THE WOMAN'S ABILITY TO PARDON THE DEBT OF HER "KESUVAH"
QUESTION: The Beraisa (end of 19b) states that when one finds a receipt ("Shover") for the payment of a Kesuvah, it may be returned to the husband if the woman admits that she received the money. The Gemara asks why it may be returned; even if the wife admits that she received the payment of her Kesuvah, it is still possible that the receipt was written in Nisan and was not given to the husband until Tishrei. In such a case, the wife may have sold to someone else the rights to collect her Kesuvah (in the event that she is widowed or divorced), and the buyer may have collected the Kesuvah after Nisan (before Tishrei). In such a case, returning the Shover to the husband will allow him to collect unlawfully from the buyer. Since his receipt says that he already paid the Kesuvah to the woman in Nisan, Beis Din will conclude that the subsequent payment to the buyer of the Kesuvah was incorrect and will return the land that was collected (the land that was designated as payment for her Kesuvah) to the husband.
Rava answers that this Beraisa supports the opinion of Shmuel who rules that if a lender sells a Shtar Chov to a third party and then absolves the borrower of his debt, the debt is cancelled even though it now belongs to the third party. Likewise, in the case of the Gemara here, there is no concern that the husband will collect unlawfully from the buyers because the woman who sold the rights to collect her Kesuvah is still entitled to absolve her husband of his responsibility to pay it. If she does absolve her husband of this obligation, then the husband's obligation to pay the buyer will be nullified retroactively, and the husband will be justified in taking back the land that he paid them.
How does the Beraisa support the opinion of Shmuel? RASHI (DH Shema Minah) explains that according to Shmuel, even if the woman sold the rights to her Kesuvah before she gave the receipt to her husband, "her husband justly acquires the receipt." Rashi apparently means that when the woman gives the receipt to her husband, that act in itself absolves the husband of his debt. Accordingly, since Shmuel maintains that a creditor may forgive a debt even after he has sold it, the woman's act of forgiving her husband's debt (by giving him a receipt) takes effect. (This is also the way the NIMUKEI YOSEF, RASHBA, and RAN explain.)
However, Rashi later (DH l'Shtei Kesuvos) gives an entirely different explanation. Rashi writes that "since it is in her ability to forgive the Kesuvah to her husband" there is no concern that she sold the rights to collect the Kesuvah. Rashi there takes the position of Tosfos that the woman has a "Migu": since she could have forgiven the debt, her admission that she already received the Kesuvah payment is sufficient for the receipt to be returned to her husband. Shmuel maintains simply that she has basis for a "Migu," which gives her credibility. Rashi does not mention that the very act of giving a receipt to the husband releases him from his obligation to pay the Kesuvah. How can these two different explanations of Rashi be reconciled? (MAHARIM SHIF)
ANSWER: RAV ISUR YEHUDAH UNTERMAN zt'l (She'eilos u'Teshuvos, Kuntrus Acharon 80:18) answers based on the view expressed in the Yerushalmi that when a creditor forgives a debt owed to him while he still retains the document about that debt, his forgiveness is ineffective and the debt remains in force (see Shulchan Aruch CM 241, and the Shach there, #4). In the Gemara here, Abaye says the woman still has the Kesuvah in her possession (in order to explain why Beis Din does not need to be concerned that she sold it to others). According to Abaye, therefore, even if she gives the receipt to her husband, that act cannot absolve him of the debt of the Kesuvah, because she still has the Kesuvah in her possession. Rather, it must be that the receipt may be returned because of a "Migu" that the woman could forgive the debt right now. The second statement of Rashi explains Rava's response to Abaye who understands that the Beraisa refers to a case in which the woman still has possession of her Kesuvah. Since she still has her Kesuvah, even if she were to forgive the debt it would not be cancelled, so Rashi cannot explain that the woman forgives the debt by giving the receipt to her husband. Rather, Rashi explains that the woman's ability to forgive the debt gives her a Migu which lends her credibility so that the receipt can be returned to her husband.
The first statement of Rashi is an explanation of Rava's initial statement (before Abaye's response). At that point in the Gemara, Rava understands the case of the Beraisa as one in which the Kesuvah is not in the woman's possession. That is why she is able to forgive the debt of the Kesuvah, and Rashi is able to give his first explanation: that the very act of giving a receipt to her husband is itself a way for the woman to forgo payment of her Kesuvah. (See a different approach in CHIDUSHEI CHASAM SOFER.) (I. Alsheich)
3) "IGROS MAZON"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that one who finds "Igros Mazon" may return it to the bearer of the document who lost it. RASHI explains that an Igeres Mazon is a document in which a man obligates himself to support his step-daughter (the daughter of his wife).
If the Igeres Mazon is a document of obligation, then why does the Mishnah allow it to be returned? With regard to other types of Shtaros, the Mishnah (12b and 18a) expresses concern that the person who wrote a document may have decided not to give it, and therefore the document should not be returned lest it be used unlawfully against the person who wrote it. Here, too, the Mishnah should not allow the Igeres Mazon to be returned to the woman, because it might unjustly cause the man who wrote it to be forced to pay.
ANSWERS:
(a) The RASHASH answers that Rashi refers to an Igeres Mazon which states that the man accepted this obligation upon himself "with a Kinyan," in which case he is not able to retract his commitment to support his step-daughter. Since the Kinyan makes the obligation take effect (and not the Shtar), the Shtar itself merely serves as proof of his obligation, and thus it may be returned.
(b) The IMREI MAHARSHACH answers that according to Rashi, the Mishnah refers to a Shtar written in Beis Din. Beis Din authorizes the writing of documents only when they are written with the intention to be used. Therefore, there is no concern that the man changed his mind, and thus the document may be returned. (Rashi himself writes this with regard to "Kol Ma'aseh Beis Din" in DH Harei Zeh Yachzir, #1.) (I. Alsheich)

20b----------------------------------------20b

4) DID AN AMORA FORGET A MISHNAH?
QUESTION: When a Get was found in the court of Rav Huna, Rabah ruled that it may be returned to the Shali'ach who lost it. He based his ruling on the Mishnah (20a) which states, "Any document written in Beis Din may be returned." Rav Amram questioned how Rabah could derive a Halachah for a matter of Isur (divorce) from a Halachah pertaining to a monetary matter (Shtaros). Rabah responded, "Fool! The Mishnah is [also] discussing Shtarei Chalitzah and Mi'un (which are matters of Isur)!"
What was Rav Amram's intention when he asked Rabah how he could derive a Halachah of Isur from a monetary matter? He certainly knew that the Mishnah mentions Chalitzah and Mi'un!
ANSWERS:
(a) The PNEI YEHOSHUA writes that Rav Amram maintained that there is a difference between the Isur associated with Chalitzah and the Isur associated with Gerushin. If a man marries a woman who did not do a proper Chalitzah, he transgresses only an Isur Lav, while a man who marries a woman who did not receive a proper Get transgresses the Isur of Eshes Ish, which is very severe. Accordingly, although the Mishnah indicates that a document pertaining to Chalitzah or Mi'un may be returned, Rav Amram was not willing to extrapolate from those cases to the case of a Get. Rabah, on the other hand, maintained that regardless of the severity of the Isur, the same rule would apply to all such documents that are found, since they all relate to issues of Isurim.
(b) The EIN YEHOSEF explains that Rav Amram's difficulty was with the language that Rabah used in his ruling. Rabah based his ruling on the "Ma'aseh Beis Din" mentioned in the Mishnah, but Rav Amram maintained that the phrase "Ma'aseh Beis Din" refers only to Shtaros pertaining to monetary matters. Rabah answered that since this Mishnah also discusses Shtaros of Chalitzah and Mi'un, "Ma'aseh Beis Din" includes all types of Shtaros. (I. Alsheich)
5) "FOOL!"
QUESTION: When a Get was found in the court of Rav Huna, Rabah ruled that it may be returned to the Shali'ach who lost it. He based his ruling on the Mishnah (20a) which states, "Any document written in Beis Din may be returned." Rav Amram questioned how Rabah could derive a Halachah for a matter of Isur (divorce) from a Halachah pertaining to a monetary matter (Shtaros). Rabah responded, "Fool! The Mishnah is [also] discussing Shtarei Chalitzah and Mi'un (which are matters of Isur)!"
How could Rabah, a holy Amora, call Rav Amram a "fool"? (See CHAVOS YA'IR (#152), as quoted in Insights to Bava Kama 65:2 with regard to a similar question.)
ANSWER: RAV YERUCHAM LEVOVITZ zt'l, the Mashgi'ach of the Mirrer Yeshiva, in DA'AS CHOCHMAH U'MUSAR (volume 2), teaches that every action of the holy Amora'im was done with the utmost purity and holiness. We, who do not live on such a lofty level of holiness, would insult and degrade our fellow man if we were to call him by a derogatory name, and it indeed would be a severe transgression for we cannot be confident that no impure motivation was behind our words or actions. The holy Amora'im, on the other hand, spoke only with absolute purity of intention. Hence, even words that might seem to be words of derision were spoken -- and understood -- by the Amora'im with the "fire of Torah" burning in them, with only the purest intentions. (I. Alsheich)
6) A "SHTAR" OR A "SHOVER" AMONG ONE'S TORN "SHTAROS"
QUESTION: Rav Safra states that when a lender finds among his torn Shtaros a receipt (Shover) which states that a certain debt was repaid to him, that receipt is valid and he may not demand payment for the debt for which it was written.
RASHI (DH she'Nimtza) writes that the Shtar itself (and not the Shover) was found among the torn Shtaros. Why does Rashi say that the Shtar was found among torn Shtaros, when the Gemara clearly says that the Shover was found?
ANSWERS:
(a) The MAHARSHA, MAHARAM, and MAHARAM SHIF answer that Rashi refers to the two Shtaros for which this Shover might have been written (for example, two borrowers with the same name borrowed money from this lender, and a Shover was written stating that one of the Shtaros is paid). Rashi means that the two Shtaros are kept together with torn Shtaros, and when each borrower claims that "this is my Shtar," he claims that the Shtar for which a Shover was written is his Shtar.
(b) The EIN YEHOSEF answers that when Rashi here mentions "Shtar," he actually refers to a Shtar of receipt, a Shover.

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