Monday, October 15, 2007

Kiyum Shtaros - Mipihem v'Lo Mipi Ksavam

In our last post on kiyum shtaros we left off with a question on the Rambam (link). The Rambam says that if a woman produces a get in bais din, no certification is required. The question is, why is the Rambam so lenient?

To answer this question let us bring the Rambam in Hilchos Edus 3:4

[ד] דין תורה שאין מקבלין עדות, לא בדיני ממונות ולא בדיני נפשות, אלא מפי העדים: שנאמר "על פי שניים עדים" (דברים יז,ו)--מפיהם, ולא מכתב ידן. אבל מדברי סופרים שחותכין דיני ממונות בעדות שבשטר, אף על פי שאין העדים קיימין, כדי שלא תנעול דלת בפני לווין

The Rambam here says a remarkable thing. All shtarei mamon are only acceptable on a d'rabbanan level. On a d'orayssa level, we don't allow eidim to write down their testimony. It must be mipihem, from their mouthes. Rav Chaim speaks at length about what exactly is the Rambam's shitah. One thing is forsure, however. We know that a get isha is a concept mid'orayssa. The torah itself speaks about a sefer krisus!

Rav Chaim is basically michadesh that a get (and other shtarei kinyan - as opposed to shtarei raayah) has a "challos shem shtar". It is not eidus bichsav. Rather, it is in a different category altogether. A simple shtar raayah by dinei mamonos has no shem shtar, rather it is eidim giving their testimony in writing. A get is a different animal. It is part of the gezairas hakasuv of shtaros and works as a shtar, not as eidus bichsav.

In light of the Rambam's shitah one thing should become clear. We had a gemara in Kesuvos that said that kiyum shtaros is midrabbanan. Rashi interpereted that on a d'orayssa level the shtar is good, and only the Rabbis required kiyum.

The Rambam almost certainly argues. He says the gemara means that in general shtarei mamon are only d'rabbanan. It's all one halacha. The Rabbis accepted shtarei mamon as long as they had kiyum.

In gittin 3a on the other hand, when Reish Lakish says that eidim who sign a shtar it is as if their eidus was already admitted in court, that is specifically by get, and is even on a d'orayssa level. There the gemara is saying that on a d'orayssa level a get has a shem shtar.

[Interestingly, in Kesuvos 18a Reish Lakish's statement is mentioned in a totally different context of kevan shehigid shuv eino chozer umaggid. See Rabbeinu Kreskas in gittin 3a and the Birchas Shmuel siman 9. It would seem that the Rambam learns these seemingly identical statements of Reish Lakish as two separate halachos.]

Acc. to this understanding of the Rambam, we can say that there is no such thing as kiyum shtaros midrabbanan at all by get isha. When the gemara in gittin says that the Rabbis required a shliach to say b'fanei nichtav and b'fanei nichtam, that is not a din of kiyum shtaros. Kiyum shtaros was a din only by d'rabbanan shtaros. The din of b'fanei nichtav is because we are afraid the husband may come later and protest and there will be no eidim around to certify. In such a case, however, the get would need kiyum on a d'orayssa level. This is clear from Perek 7 of Hilchos Gerushin. (See the Griz in Hilchos Gerushim who explains that the "baal hashtar" has a special power to pasul the shtar.) The halacha of kiyum when a husband protests is unconnected to the rule of kiyum shtaros d'rabbanan according to the Rambam. This is in total contrast with the Raavad's view.

What emerges is a great chiddush in the Rambam that the whole halacha of kiyum shtaros midrabbanan doesn't exist at all by shtaros like a get which work on a d'orayssa level. This is the reason why the Rambam is so lenient with regards to a woman who produces a get in bais din that no certification is required. In light of this explanation in the Rambam, the Rambam in Gerushin 7:7 reads beautifully.

והרי הגט יוצא מתחת ידה--אינה צריכה לומר כלום; והרי היא בחזקת מגורשת, הואיל וגט שבידה כתוב כהלכתו והעדים חותמין עליו. ואף על פי שאין אנו מכירין כתב העדים, ולא נתקיים--אין חוששין לה, שמא זייפה אותו: שהרי אינה מקלקלת על עצמה; ועוד שהעדים החותמין על הגט, הרי הן כמי שנחקרה עדותן בבית דין, עד שיהיה שם מערער. לפיכך נעמיד הגט בחזקתו, ותינשא, ואין חוששין, שמא יימצא מזוייף: כמו שנעמיד הגט בחזקת כשר, כשיביא אותו השליח--עד שיערער הבעל, או עד
שיביא ראיה שהוא מזוייף או בטיל

The Rambam here is saying that if the woman is holding her get in court she needn't say anything. Why not? He quotes Reish Lakish's halacha that d'orayssa the get is as if it has already been admitted into court. There is no kiyum shtaros midrabbanan halacha at all, because it doesn't exist by get. The Rambam here also compares it to when a shliach delivers a get where we assume the get to be kosher. What does the Rambam mean by this? That is only true if the shliach delivered within Israel. Otherwise, don't we require b'fanei nichtav? Is the Rambam only talking about a shliach in Israel?

The answer is that acc. to the Rambam when one says b'fanei nichtav, it has nothing to do with kiyum and it has nothing to do with suspecting the kashrus of the get. The get is kosher forsure. The issue is a side issue that the baas may come in the future and pasul the get, because, as we said before the baal hashtar has the ability to pasul the shtar.

Again, we see that in the shitas HaRambam a get is intrisically kosher and never requires kiyum. B'fanei nichtav is a different din altogether.