Monday, September 10, 2007

Daf Yomi Ketubot 20b-21a: Do the Sages Really Say That He Is Tesifying About the Money?

In Ketubot 20b-21a, citing my translation of the Rif:
{Ketubot 20b}
זה אומר זה כתב ידי וזה אומר זה כתב ידי צריכין שיצטרף אחר עמהן דברי רבי
וחכמים אומרים אין צריכין לצרף אחר עמהן אלא נאמן אדם לומר זה כתב ידי:
This one says "this is my handwriting" and this one says "this is my handwriting," they require that another combine with them. These are the words of Rabbi.
And the Sages say: They do not require another to combine with them, but rather a man is believed to say "this is my handwriting."

כשתמצא לומר לדברי רבי על כתב ידן הן מעידין ולפיכך צריך לצרף עמהם אחר ולדברי חכמים על מנה שבשטר הן מעידין ובתרוייהו סגיא וקי"ל כרבנן:
If you find to say according to the words of Rabbi, they are testifying about their own handwriting and therefore they require another to combine with them {such that there are two witnesses testifying about each signature},
{Ketubot 21a}
and according to the words of the Sages, they are testifying regarding the 100 zuz in the contract, and thus with the two of them it is sufficient.
And we establish like the Sages.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב שנים חתומים על השטר ומת אחד מהם צריכים שנים מן השוק להעיד עליו כי היכי דלא ליפוק נכי ריבעא דממונא אפומא דחד סהדא
וכן הלכתא

ואי ליכא אלא חד מאי
אמר אביי ליכתוב חתימת ידיה אחספא ושדי ליה בבי דינא ומחזקי ליה ולא צריך איהו לאסהודי אחתימות ידיה ואזיל איהו והאי ומסהדי אאידך ודוקא אחספא אבל אמגילתא לא דילמא משכח לה אינש דלא מעלי וכתיב עליה מאי דבעי ותנן הוציא עליו כתב ידו שהוא חייב לו גובה מנכסים בני חורין

א"ר יהודה אמר שמואל עד ודיין מצטרפין
אמר רמי בר חמא כמה מעליא הא שמעתא
א"ל רבא מאי מעליותא מאי דמסהיד סהדא לא מסהיד דיינא ומאי דמסהיד דיינא לא מסהיד סהדא אלמא לא מצטרפי
וכן הלכתא:
Rav Yehuda cited Rav: Two are signed on the document and one of them dies, they require two {rather than one} from the marketplace to testify as regard to him.
So that 3/4 of the money would not go out based on the word of a single witness.
And so is the halacha.

And if there is one one {other witness}, what?
Abaye said: Let him write his signature on a piece of clay and cast it forth in the court, and they will establish it, and he will not be required to testify about his own handwriting, and then he and this other one will go and testify on the other {signature}.
And specifically on a piece of clay, but on a scroll, no, lest an untoward man find it and write upon it what he wishes, and they have learnt: If he takes out against him his handwriting that he is obligated {money} to him, he may collect from the assets with no lien on them.

Rav Yehuda cited Shmuel: A witness and judge can combine.
Rami bar Chama said: How sublime is this statement.
Rava said to him: What is the excellence? This that the witness testifies {the transaction}, the judge does not testify to, and that which the judge testifies {his own signature} to the judge does not testify to. Therefore, they do not combine.
And so is the halacha.
This is somewhat difficult for me. The presumption of the gemara seems to be against the Mishna. The gemara begins by stating that ולדברי חכמים על מנה שבשטר הן מעידין ובתרוייהו סגיא, that "according to the words of the Sages, they are testifying regarding the 100 zuz in the contract, and thus with the two of them it is sufficient." Yet, if they are really testifying about the money and not about the signatures, then why does the Mishna explain the words of the Sages as אלא נאמן אדם לומר זה כתב ידי, such that we are granting each of then neemanut? That indeed would be a valid explanation why we do not need another witness to combine with them.

And indeed, Abaye certainly seems to read it as testifying about signatures. As does Rav Yehuda citing Shmuel. Rava surely does not -- that is the point of his statement.

Perhaps there is some other way of understanding it -- and indeed there is! It is a girsological dispute between the Mishna as learned by Shmuel and the Mishna as learned by Rav.

We have the Mishna as above. But, Rabbi Zera notes that in the Bet Midrash of Rav, they have a different girsa of the Mishna in which a different explanation is offered. I'll excerpt the Yedid Nefesh Yerushalmi (Yerushalmi Ketubot 11b):

We would only know this by reading Yerushalmi Ketubot. We then may resolve that Shmuel is based on our girsa of the Mishna, as is Abaye. Meanwhile, Rav has a different version of the Mishna which he learns in his academy. And this is why Rami bar Yechezkel came -- presumably meaning from Eretz Yisrael -- he said not to heed the words of his brother Yehuda in the name of Shmuel.

If I may boast, I was bothered by this issue first, and only saw this Yerushalmi that resolves it last.

And a slight concern -- what is the true basis of Abaye? I can understand him based on our Mishna, but if the point is not the signatures, how do we understand this? Rif cites him lehalacha. I need to think more about this.

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