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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Induction: A peculiar little discussion in tractate Gittin 28a

In what follows, I copy the soncino translation of tractate Gittin 28a. I intersplice the text with my italicised comments. I have nothing of real interest to say about this excerpt. That's why I'm appealing for your help! If we don't want to reduce the Talmud's second response, on behalf of Raba below, to absurdity, how should we interpret it?

The exceprt talks about a person who is delivering a Get (a bill of divorce) from a husband to a wife. The divorce doesn't take effect until the Get reaches the hand of the wife (or her appointed agent). Only a living man can divorce his wife, so the rabbis discuss what justifies the messenger's assumption that the husband is still alive at the point of delivery to the wife.