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During a divorce proceeding, should the husband's wife ideally be given the Gett in person, even if she lives ~3000 miles away? (The divorce is consented by both parties and they are relatively amicable.)

Should great effort be made to do the Gett in person in this case? Or is it perfectly acceptable to appoint a schliach to deliver the Gett? And in that case, is there something spiritually that one would be missing out on?

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya and thank you for the question! If this is a practical issue, make sure to ask your rabbi rather than rely on anything from this site. Also, if you've found anything relevant in your research, please go ahead and add your sources to the question. – Leopold says Reinstate Monica Nov 8 at 6:02
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    There is indeed a possibility for a woman to receive a get by shaliach and for a man to give a get by shaliach, שליח קבלה ושליח הולכה. masechet Gittin treats the issues of get by shaliach widely – kouty Nov 8 at 7:54
  • The overall principle here, in theory, is "there is more of a mitzvah to do it one's self than by appointing a proxy." I would ask the particular Beis Din handling this Gett how much they prefer that it be in-person. "Spiritually missing out on" -- the mitzvah to give the Gett is the man's, so it's the same for the woman regardless. Some people find the process of severing ties face-to-face cathartic, others would rather not; but that's a practical psychological question and not a "spiritual" one per se. Short answer -- ask whichever rabbis are handling this (or you might ask to). – Shalom Nov 8 at 10:01
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There is no question that it is perfectly acceptable to appoint a shaliach (messenger ) to deliver the divorce document (get). The Rambam (Mishne Torah Gerushin chapter 6) writes

(6:3) A husband may [...] appoint an agent to deliver a get to his wife. Such an agent is referred to as a delivery agent (sh'liach holachah). (6:13) Until the get is given to the woman, the status of the divorce is in doubt. Once it reaches her possession, the divorce is definitely binding.

Now the question is whether to write a get is a mitsva. I originally thought it was (based on the Rambam's intro to Sefer Gerushin). When I discussed your question with R Binyamin Tabady, he mentioned the Maharsha writes that it is only a mitsva if the woman behaved improperly (e.g., relations with others), otherwise writing a get is permitted but is in no way a mitsva.

If it is a mitsva, we can build on the gemara in Kiddushin 41a which writes

it is more fitting that the mitzva be performed by the man himself than by means of his agent.

as well as the gemara in Baba Kama 9b which writes that

what Rabbi Zeira said is that for the embellishment of the performance of a mitzva, e.g., to purchase a more beautiful item used in the performance of a mitzva, one should spend up to one-third more than the cost of the standard item used to perform the mitzva.

to suggest that there is a hiddur mitsva (beautification of the mitsva) to do it in person.

But if the divorce is due to personal preferences, e.g., lack of fit between the spouses, then these gemarot don't apply and there is no benefit to giving the get in person.

In all cases, a rabbi who knows the couple should be approached to balance the above sources with his knowledge of the specifics of the situation and help come to a practical decision.

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    Do these concepts really apply to delivering a bill of divorce personally? The Gemara says מצוה בו יותר מבשלוחו about betrothal, and applying hiddur to delivering a bill of divorce seems a little strange to me – b a Nov 9 at 17:02
  • (From what I understood from being present at a Gett given in the Eida Chareidis in Jslm, all Gittin are given via Shaliach, even if both parties are in the same room. Not sure that's true.) – Danny Schoemann Nov 10 at 13:37
  • @ba I wondered as well and discussed the question further - then edited my answer. Thanks for the push – mbloch Nov 10 at 19:15
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    This doesn't address any of the practical aspects of this. It can be a much bigger pain to arrange a get via messenger even if it works. – Double AA Nov 10 at 19:17
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    @DannySchoemann I've seen the husband place it directly in her hand. – MDjava Nov 10 at 19:18

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