1) TELLING A MESSENGER TO TELL OTHERS TO SIGN A GET
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that if "Omer Imru" works, a husband may send a messenger to tell a scribe to write the Get and to instruct witnesses to sign the Get.
However, there is a rule that a witness may testify only about something that he saw with his own eyes. He may not testify about something that his friend told him about. Why, then, is the Get valid when signed by witnesses whom the messenger told to sign? The witnesses who sign the Get are testifying to its validity (that is, they are testifying to the fact that the husband wanted the Get to be written), but they did not hear directly from the husband that he wanted the Get to be written! They heard about his desire only from the messenger. Why, then, may they testify about his desire to write a Get?
(a) TOSFOS (DH Imru) answers that the rule that witnesses may not testify about something which they did not see themselves applies only when they testify about a specific event or action that occurred. In such a case, the testimony was not "given over" to them as witnesses to testify about. In contrast, in the case of the Gemara here the testimony was "given over" directly to these witnesses; the messenger was sent by the husband to appoint these people to be witnesses and thereby "give over" the testimony to them.
How Tosfos' words answer the question is unclear. After all, in practice the witnesses did not actually hear the command of the husband.
(b) The NESIVOS HA'MISHPAT (28:7) answers that in the case of the Get, the witnesses do not testify about an action or event that took place. Their testimony is solely about the fact that the husband desires the Get to be written and signed by them. Since the messenger who tells them to sign it is the representative of the husband, he has the ability to convey the desire of the husband to the witnesses. As long as they hear from the husband's appointed representative that he wants them to sign the Get, they may testify about his desire.
2) AGADAH: ATTRIBUTES OF THE SAGES
Isi ben Yehudah enumerates the attributes of some of the Chachamim. The commentators explain the meanings of his descriptions.
(a) "Rebbi Meir was a wise man and a scribe." The IYUN YAKOV explains that the attribute of being a scribe is that he had a perfect memory of the Torah and was able to write a Torah scroll without having to look into another one to know what to write (see Megilah 18b).
The BEN YEHOYADA points out this is a rare combination of two attributes that usually are not found together in one person. People who are very sharp and sagacious tend not to have an extraordinary memory, while people who have a phenomenal memory tend not to apply their minds and develop a deep understanding of what they learn. Rebbi Meir, however, had both attributes.
(b) "Rebbi Yehudah was a wise man when he would choose to be." RASHI explains that this means that when Rebbi Yehudah wanted to delve into a matter carefully and thoroughly, he was wise.
The ARUCH (quoted by the Maharsha) explains that Rebbi Yehudah was the leader of the sages and was always the first to speak. Whenever he wanted to speak, he was able to speak spontaneous words of wisdom.
The MAHARATZ CHAYOS explains that Rebbi Yehudah had the ability to dwell into the depths of the wisdom of the Torah in any situation in which he found himself, regardless of how unsettling or troublesome it was.
(c) "Rebbi Tarfon was like a pile on nuts." RASHI explains that just as when one removes a nut at the bottom of a pile of nuts, the entire pile of nuts collapses, so, too, when Rebbi Tarfon was asked a question, he would cite proofs from all parts of the written and oral Torah.
The BEN YEHOYADA adds that Isi ben Yehudah uses the term "nuts" to describe Rebbi Tarfon because the Gematriya of "Egoz" (nut) is the same as that of "Tov" (good) and the Torah is called Tov ("Lekach Tov"; Mishlei 4:2). In addition, just as one must crack the shell to get to the fruit of the nut, so, too, one must toil in order to "break open" the Sugya one is learning by asking questions and analyzing it so that he will arrive at a proper understanding of the Gemara.
(d) "The teaching of Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov was Kav v'Naki (measured and pure)." RASHI explains that although Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov taught less (in terms of quantity) than the other sages (his teaching was "measured"), that which he taught was always accepted as the Halachah (it was "pure"). The MAHARSHA writes that there are 102 Beraisos taught by Rebbi Eliezer ben Yakov (102 is the Gematriya of "Kav").
The BEN YEHOYADA explains that Isi ben Yehudah uses the term "Kav" because a measure of a Kav is comprised of four Lugim, which represent the four basic approaches to studying the Torah: Peshat, Remez, Derash, and Sod. He adds that Torah is acquired by one who limits himself in worldly indulgence, like the Kav of carobs which Rebbi Chanina would eat each week, and which would be his sustenance for the entire week.
3) THE GET OF THE MUTE
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that if one who lost his speech wants to divorce his wife, Beis Din asks him, "Should we write a Get for your wife?" and if he nods his head, Beis Din tests him three times to see if his mind is clear, and then they write and give the Get to his wife on his behalf.
The Mishnah specifies that Beis Din asks him if he wants them to "write" the Get. Based on his response, Beis Din writes and gives the Get to his wife. This seems to contradict the Mishnah earlier (66a) which states that if a man says only to "write" the Get (and not "give" the Get), we may not give his wife the Get.
ANSWER: The PNEI YEHOSHUA answers that Rashi says that the Mishnah refers to one who lost his ability of speech because of illness. Such a person is like a Shechiv Mera for whom we write and give a Get even when he says only "write it" (and he does not say "give it").
4) STEALING FROM THE REISH GALUSA
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rav Sheshes did not trust the servants of the Reish Galusa, and he wanted to demonstrate their wickedness to the Reish Galusa. In a scheme to prove to the Reish Galusa that his servants are suspected of violating the prohibition of eating Ever Min ha'Chai, he told his own servant to steal a leg from one of the Reish Galusa's animals that had been cooked and prepared for consumption. When the servants laid out the cuts of the animal which they had prepared for the meal, they counted only three legs. They went and cut off the leg of a live animal, cooked it, and placed it before the Reish Galusa and Rav Sheshes at the meal. Rav Sheshes then told his servant to place the leg which he had stolen next to the other legs. In this manner, Rav Sheshes exposed the wickedness of the servants of the Reish Galusa.
Why was Rav Sheshes permitted to tell his servant to steal? The Halachah is that one is prohibited to steal even if he plans to return the item, such as when he wants to steal the item as a joke or to anger his friend.
(a) The BEN YEHOYADA answers that Rav Sheshes told his servant to steal the leg of the animal in the presence of the Reish Galusa who was the owner of the house and of the other servants. Since it was done with the consent of the Reish Galusa, it was not considered stealing.
(b) The Ben Yehoyada answers further that the servant took the leg of the animal in order to prevent the Reish Galusa and Rav Sheshes from sinning by eating prohibited meat, for the servants were not trustworthy and were not meticulous with the laws of food preparation. In order to demonstrate that the Reish Galusa's servants were not trustworthy and thus to prevent people from eating prohibited food, it was permitted to steal. (This was a specific ruling relevant only to that situation and is not meant to be understood as the Halachah in practice. In any situation, a competent rabbinical authority must be consulted.)