ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Kesuvos 19
KESUVOS 16-19 - have been anonymously dedicated by a unique Ohev Torah and
Marbitz Torah living in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.
(a) To explain why Rebbi Meir does not believe the witnesses even when they
claim 'Anusim Hayinu Machmas Nefashos' - Rav Chisda suggests that they are
forbidden to sign a document falsely even on pain of death. Consequently,
when by subsequently claiming that they were forced into signing, they make
themselves Resha'im and 'Ein Adam Meisim Atzmo Rasha'.
(b) Rava queries Rava Chisda however - on the grounds that, even if the
witnesses were to ask whether they were permitted to sign under such a
death-threat, we would give them the green light. How much more so should
they not be branded Resha'im for having done so.
(c) We ultimately establish Rebbi Meir like Rav Huna Amar Rav - who says
'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kosvo', Ein Tzarich Lekaymo' (once the debtor concedes
that the document was written - i.e. that the loan took place - it is no
longer necessary to substantiate it. Nor will he be believed should he claim
that he has already paid).
(d) Rebbi Meir too, speaks in a case when the debtor admits that he wrote
the document. Consequently, the testimony of the witnesses substantiating
the document is not required, and it is no longer a case of 'Peh she'Asar',
and the witnesses are not believed.
(a) Rav Nachman asked Rav Huna - that, seeing as it is Rebbi Meir who holds
'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kosvo, Ein Tzarich Lekaymo', why did he not simply say
that he holds like Rebbi Meir?
(b) Rav Huna responded by asking Rav Nachman for his opinion regarding this
issue. He replied - that, whenever creditors came before him without the
witnesses who had signed on the document, he would instruct them to verify
it, even if the debtor had conceded that he wrote it (because he held like
the Chachamim - Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kosvo, Tzarich Lekaymo').
(a) A 'Sh'tar Amanah' - is a document that the debtor writes and hands to
the intended creditor in anticipation of a loan, before any loan has
actually taken place. He trusts that he will not claim unless the loan
(b) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav rejects the claim of someone who states 'Sh'tar
Amanah Hu Zeh'. We initially refute the contention that that someone is ...
1. ... the borrower - because it is obvious that he is not believed.
2. ... the creditor - because, if he is sufficiently honest to admit that he
did not lend the debtor money, why should he not be believed?
3. ... the witnesses - because, if it speaks when *their signature appears
on other documents*, then it is obvious that they are not believed (as we
learned above); whereas if it speaks when it does *not*, then, seeing as
they have a 'Peh she'Asar', why should they not be believed.
(a) According to Rava, Rav Yehudah Amar Rav here refers to the borrower, and
he is following his own reasoning above (that 'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kosvo',
Ein Tzarich Lakaymo'). Here too, he speaks in a case when the borrower
admitted to having written the document. Consequently, the document is as
good as substantiated, and when he claims that it is a Sh'tar Amanah, he is
(b) Abaye establishes Rav Yehudah with regard to the creditor, in a case
when the creditor himself owes money to someone else. Consequently, by
claiming that the document is a Sh'tar Amanah and denying himself the right
to claim it, he is causing his creditor (who could have subsequently claimed
his debt from him) a loss.
(c) Rebbi Nasan learns from the Pasuk "ve'Nasan la'Asher *Asham* Lo" (and
not "la'Asher Hilveihu") - that a debtor pays, not necessarily to his
creditor, but to the person whom his creditor owes (should he claim from
(a) Rav Ashi establishes Rav Huna Amar Rav by the witnesses - like Rav
Kahana, who learns from the Pasuk 'Al Tashkein be'Ohalecha Avlah" - the
prohibition of retaining a Sh'tar Amanah in one's house.
(b) Rav Sheishes Brei de'Rav Idi extrapolates from Rav Kahana's D'rashah -
that witnesses who claim that the document on which they signed is a Sh'tar
Amanah, are not believed, seeing as signing on such a document is unjust,
such a claim renders them Resha'im, and 'Ein Adam Meisim Atzmo Rasha'.
(a) According to Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, the Pasuk "Al Tashkein be'Ohalecha
Avlah" refers to a paid document. In Eretz Yisrael, they quoted Rav too, as
saying that. According to them - the Pasuk there "Im Ein be'Yadcha,
Harchikeihu" then refers to a Sh'tar Amanah and a Sh'tar Pasim (where one
person persuaded another to lend him an official document).
(b) Rav Kahana establishes the Pasuk "Al Tashkein ... " by a Sh'tar Amanah,
and not a Sh'tar Paru'a - because, in his opinion, it is sometimes necessary
for the creditor to retain a paid document, such as where the creditor laid
out the Sofer's fee for writing the document (in lieu of the debtor, who is
initially obligated to pay the Sofer), in which case he would hold on to the
document as a security until the debtor reimbursed him.
(c) Rebbi Ami establishes the Pasuk with regard to an uncorrected
Sefer-Torah, Nevi'im or Kesuvim - which one is not permitted to retain for
more than thirty days.
(a) Everyone agrees that witnesses who state 'Amanah Hayu Devareinu' are not
believed. According to Rav Nachman, if they say 'Moda'a Hayu Devareinu'
(meaning that the debtor informed them that he was being forced to write the
document, even though no debt had taken place), they are not believed
either - because a verbal denial does not have the power to overturn a
(b) Mar bar Rav Ashi however, maintains that they are believed - because
whereas a Sh'tar Amanah *should never have been written* (because it is an
injustice), a Sh'tar Moda'ah *should* (to save the debtor from the threat
that looms over him).
(c) Rav asked Rav Nachman whether witnesses who said 'T'nai Hayu Devareinu'
are believed or not. 'T'nai Hayu Devareinu' might be better than 'Amanah
Hayu Devareinu' or 'Moda'a Hayu Devareinu' (both of which are not believed,
according to Rav Nachman) - because whereas the first two intrinsically
contradict the document, the latter does not (since it is external to the
contents of the document itself).
(d) Rav Nachman replied - that whenever the witnesses said 'T'nai Hayu
Devareinu', he would instruct the parties concerned to fulfill the relevant
condition (in other words, he believed the witnesses).
(a) If one of the witnesses claims that there is a condition, and the other,
that there is not, Rav Papa validates the document - on the grounds that
they both consider the document to be valid; and as for the one who claims
that there is a condition attached, he is only a single witness, and one
witness is not believed against two.
(b) Rav Huna Brei de'Rav Yehoshua disagrees with him, because if adding that
there was a condition does not affect the witnesses verification of the
Sh'tar, and he is nevertheless considered one of the 'Mekaymei ha'Sh'tar,
then the same sould apply to two witnesses (i.e. we should ignore their
statement that there was a condition, and accept their verification of the
Sh'tar - contrary to Rav Nachman's previous ruling that the condition must
(c) Rav Huna Brei de'Rav Yehoshua therefore rules - that, although the
condition is not an intrinsic part of the testimony as regards the Sh'tar,
nonetheless, since it comes immediately after its verification ('within the
Shiur of 'Toch k'Dei Dibur' - the time it takes to say 'Shalom Aleichem
Rebbi [u'Mori]), it is considered as if it came to negate it (the
verification). Consequently, we are left with only one witness (who
testifies that a transaction took place without any conditions).
(d) The Halachah is like Rav Huna Brei de'Rav Yehoshua.
(a) According to the Tana of a Beraisa, witnesses who verify the signatures
of other witnesses who died, adding 'Anusim Hayu', 'Ketanim Hayu' or
'P'sulei Eidus Hayu' are believed (due to 'ha'Peh she'Asar') provided there
are no witnesses to attest to their signatures, nor do their signatures
appear on other documents. Otherwise, they are not believed.
(b) The problem with the latter case (where they are not believed, and where
the document remains Kasher) is - how can we simply ignore the fact that the
second pair of witnesses clash with the first pair. Why do we not consider
it a case of two against two?
(c) Rav Sheishes learns from here that 'Hakchashah Techilas Hazamah Hi' -
meaning that whenever a second pair of witnesses contradict the testimony of
a previous pair, it is considered the first stage of Hazamah. Consequently,
just as Hazamah can only take place in the presence of the witnesses who are
being invalidated, so too, Hakchashah, in which case, the testimony of the
second pair in our case, cannot be accepted at all, seeing as the first pair
are no longer alive.
(d) We learn from the Pasuk "ve'Hu'ad bi'V'alav" - 'Yavo Ba'al ha'Shor
ve'Ya'amod al Shoro' (that one can only have [even] one's ox killed, in the
presence of the ox).
(a) Rav Nachman (like whom we always rule in money-matters) disagrees with
Rav Sheishes. In his opinion, we cannot ignore the second pair of witnesses
in our case, because, unlike Hazamah (or even a straight Hakchashah, which
comes to negate the testimony of the first pair), the claim that there is a
condition, does not. For all we know, the first witnesses themselves might
have agreed that there was indeed a claim.
(b) 'Hakchashah' - is when a second pair of witnesses contradict the
testimony of the first; 'Hazamah' is when the second pair testify that the
first pair could not have witnesses what they claim they saw (even if it did
take place), because they were with them in a different location at the
(a) So Rav Nachman rules - that this a case of two against two, in which
case 'Uki Mamona be'Chezkas Marei' (the money remains where it is).
(b) When the Beraisa said 'Ein Eilu Ne'emanim' - it meant that they are not
believed outright. The ramifications of this are that we do not tear-up the
document. Consequently, if the owner of the Sh'tar seizes the money before
going to Beis-Din, he will be permitted to retain it, in keeping with the
ruling 'Uki Mamona be'Chezkas Marei'.
(c) 'Uki Mamona be'Chezkas Marei' implies, as regards ...
1. ... a loan - that the money remains with the debtor (provided the
creditor has not seized it, as we just explained).
2. ... a sale of land - that the land remains in the possession of the