Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gittin, and the Separation between Bamidbar and Devarim

The first Tosfos in Gittin brings from the Geonim Rav Hai and Rav Saadiah that a Get needs to be written in twelve lines. The Torah refers to a Get as a Sefer Krisus, a Book of Severance, or a Book of Separation. We interpret the word "Sefer" to be a reference to the Sefer Torah, and the word Krisus to refer to the the four lines which separate each book of the Torah from its neighbor. Since between the first four books of the Torah there are a total of three separations, and the three separations yields a total of twelve lines of separation, a Get, which is called the Book of Separation, should be written in twelve lines.

In other words, the Get creates division and separation. The lines that separate in a Sefer Torah are, in a sense, made manifest in the Get, and they generate separation between the man and the woman.

Of course, the question that immediately presents itself is that there are four separations between the five books, so the Get should be written in sixteen lines, not twelve. Why only focus on the three separations between the first four books?

Tosfos answers that we don't count the lines of separation between Bamidbar and Devarim, because Devarim is just a reiteration of what has been said before. The question, however, seems to be far better than the answer.

I recently saw a suggestion that we don't count all four lines of separation between the books. All parshios are separated, and parshios pesuchos have a blank line separating them from the following parsha. If so, it was said, we don't count all four lines between chumashim, we only count the extra ones, namely, three of the four. Four separations, three lines each, total of twelve. Voila.

This answer assumes that the standard parsha pesucha separation line is separate from the Sefer separation lines. This is not necessarily true. Let's imagine that the halacha leMoshe MiSinai required there be four lines between chumashim, and there be one line between parshios. One of the four between chumashim could also serve as the one between parshios. In other words, the answer assumes that the halacha was that we needed three between chumashim, and we added another because we need one between parshios. This is not necessarily so. It could be that the halacha requires four, but one of the four does double duty, since in fact the separation exists.


  1. Two Tishabav questions
    1) Are you allowed to say tehillim before Chatzos it is not learning so there is no joy and I know an Oinain can?
    Why last night where People wearing Bigdie SHabbos at Eicha I was told it is a Minhag what is the Mekor?

  2. 3)Why dont we say Avinu Malkienu?

  3. Sorry for the delay. Family matters have occupied my attention for the last week.

    1. The Sha'arei Teshuva says one may say tehillim only after chatzos. The idea is that limud hatorah is joyous. We may not feel the joy, but that is because we are not properly attuned to the spirtual ecstasy it brings.
    However, I believe the Shaarei Teshuva should have been more precise. Obviously, we say tehillim all day-- we say pesukei dezimra. The reason is that this is considered tefillah, not limud Torah. Similarly, when he was mattir in the afternoon, that would be the tehillim one says as part of his daily devotion. If one would say the tehillim because he enjoys the wisdom therein, it would probably be assur even in the afternoon.

    2. Some poskim hold the opposite, that one should specifically go home and change out of his Shabbos clothes before hearing Eicha. I don't know of any minhag to spefically wear shabbos clothes, and I doubt the authenticity of any such claimed minhag. After all, the fact that most now wear bigdei Shabbos on Shabbos Chazon is only a phenomenon of the last several hundred years. Before that, people didn't wear bigdei shabbos even on shabbos, to say nothing of wearing them during eicha.
    3. We don't say Avinu Malkeinu for the same reason we don't say tachanun; because TB has an innate potential to be a yomtov. We have ruined our chance to celebrate that potential yomtov, but the time will come that it will revert to its intended character. To commemorate that faith, we skip those two parts of tefillah.

  4. I recieved the following from an individual who is well known as a scholar and a gentelman:

    I looked at the braissa in Bava Basra (13b) and noted the difference between what the Gemara says ("Bein chumash L'chumash shel torah arba") and how it is stated by rabbenu gershom ("ubilvad she'yaneach hakelaf panooi 4 shittin...") which is the lashon of the rambam as well. It certainly seems to bolster YOUR position that one of those lines is NOT for a stuma... It directs the leaving of 4 lines (more clearly even than the gemara) and no mention at all re:stuma...

  5. I am sory for my Ignorance but~
    1)Why is Tehillim allowed only after Chatzos an Oinain can if you say it is the spirtual ecstasy it brings Why an Oinain yes and Tishbav no, In logic Why?
    2)We say Avinu Malkeinu on Rosh Hashanah its a Yom Tov?

  6. 1. Tisha Ba'av is more strict than private aveilus. An aveil can eat meat and drink wine, while during the nine days neither is done. The reason stated is that 'aveilus de'rabbim' is more strict.
    2. Because Rosh Hashana is a Yom Tov of din, we allow the requests of avinu malkeinu.

  7. Thank you very Much!!!