It says in the Mishnah in Gitten (See here Daf 87b)

That if an eid (witness) signs on the Get "ben ish ploni eid" then it's kosher. Meaning instead of writing for example his full name "Moshe ben Yaakov" he writes simply "ben Yaakov". Still the get is kosher.

However I don't understand how this works.

What about if there is another person named "Yaakov" in the city that has boys, how do we know that this "ben Yaakov" is really the one that signed? And if you'll say there is only one "Yaakov" in the whole city, what about if Moshe ben Yaakov has other brothers (Yitzchak ben Yaakov, Yehoshua ben Yaakov, etc, etc.) How do we know who the person that signed is since they are really all technically "ben Yaakov"?

  • 3
    EVven if he signed it Moshe ben Yaakov you could ask all the same questions.
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2013 at 1:45
  • I concur with @DoubleAA. IIRC, it is heavily emphasized in Gittin that the importance of the subjects being identifiable far supersedes that of the subjects being called by their actual given names.
    – Seth J
    May 26, 2013 at 2:01
  • If there is known to be more than one "Yosi ben Shimon" (Talmud's example) in a given community, they must resort to either an additional generation "YbS ben Moshe" or another descriptor "YbS HaRofe". R' J. David Bleich discusses this here: yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/776187/Rabbi_Dr_J_David_Bleich/… May 26, 2013 at 3:36
  • @Ze'evFelsen where in the shiur?
    – Yehoshua
    May 26, 2013 at 5:23
  • @DoubleAA and the overall answer is?
    – Yehoshua
    May 26, 2013 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


Based on Rabbi J. David Bleich's class here: If there is known to be more than one "Yosi ben Shimon" (Talmud's example) in a given community, they must resort to either an additional generation "Yosi ben Shimon ben Moshe" or another descriptor "Yosi ben Shimon HaRofe". (My own addition: In the current age, listing a family name would seem to be another good way to disambiguate). R' Bleich believes a single synagogue nowadays constitutes a community, presumably in spite of the fact that there may be a single shul for many municipalities or many shuls in a single municipality. He feels it is rare that there be a chazaka of two people with the same name in a given synagogue, because rarely do people know that someone else in their shul has the exact same Hebrew name. If someone knows this to be the case, he should inform the mesader kiddushin. Here ends my summary of R' Bleich.

If the signer knows his patronym alone won't suffice, he should of course not sign with it. Though it seems the Mishna is not describing ideal conditions, but whether or not a get is kosher if in fact sub-optimal things were done.

I'd note the original question of how this can work applies just as well to other statements in that Mishna, where only the first name of the witness is signed, or simply "Sofer and Witness".

  • My apologies for not giving a more specific citation within the given class. It has been some time since I listened to it. If someone does want to listen through and say where it is, I'd prefer that be left as a comment. May 27, 2013 at 1:13

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