Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Gittin 74

Gittin 74 is an interesting daf as it has ramifications well beyond the sugyos that are discussed on the amud. I would like to briefly discuss a few points which I found interesting.

One interesting point has to do with the mechanism of a tenai (condition). On 74a, the gemara mentions the dispute between R' Huna and R' Yehuda in connection to a person who gives a get on condition that the wife pay him money. The gemara then quotes another gemara in Kiddushin (60a) where a man tells a woman that they will be married upon his payment to her of a sum of money. In each circumstance, R' Huna holds that once the condition is fulfilled, the transaction (either marriage or divorce) is effective retroactive to the date that the statement was made. Tosafos (d'h R' Huna) comments that the halacha follows this line of thinking (like Rebbi) that any time a transaction is effectuated with a condition that must be fulfilled, the completion of the condition renders the transaction effective, retroactive to the original date.

There is also an interesting discussion on 74b in which the gemara attempts to tie togther a machlokes as to whether a condition being fulfilled by an act of Hashem (an owner tells the aris to water the field four times and he will have a greater share of the produce, but then it rains before the fourth watering, thus rendering it unnecessary) with a machlokes about whether a man who requires that his wife give him a definite object in order for the divorce to be effectuated and she pays him money instead of the object. In trying to line up the disputes, the gemara says that perhaps Rabbah (who says that the aris gets paid despite not having watered four times) holds like R' Shimon Ben Gamliel (who says that she can substitute money for the object). In rejecting this logic, the gemara notes that it is impossible because while the halacha is like Rabbah when he disputes R' Yosef (except in three unrelated matters) , the halacha is not like R' Shimon Ben Gamliel when he disputes the Rabanan (except in three other unrelated matters). As such, the arguments cannot be aligned as it would violate one of the rules of discourse.

A final thought has to do with Rabbah and his position in relation to the aris (who gets paid despite the fact that he has not watered the 4th time). Tosafos (d'h Rabbah) writes that one should not ask from the situation in Baba Metziah (77a) where a farmer hires a worker to water for one day and the rains come and the worker does not water the field. Tosafos writes that the one day worker goes unpaid, since he was hired for one purpose. On the other hand, this worker was hired for the year and had performed all the other tasks (including watering three other times), so he has earned a portion in the field and is entitled to the heightened wage from the moment that the owner mentioned the need for a fourth watering, regardless of whether the rain renders that chore unnecessary.

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