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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
— As R. Hisda said:1 [This is a case where the witnesses record,] 'And we have acquired [legal possession] of him,2 in addition to [the presentation of] this gift.3 [so] here also [the testator's motive may be known] when he declared, 'Also write, and sign, and deliver to him.'4
It was stated: Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: The halachah is that [the deed of a gift] is written and delivered.5 And Raba in the name of R. Nahman said likewise: The halachah is that [the deed] is written and delivered.5
MISHNAH. IF A PERSON [DESIRES] TO GIVE HIS ESTATE IN WRITING TO HIS SONS,6 HE MUST WRITE, '[THIS ESTATE IS ASSIGNED]7 FROM THIS DAY AND8 AFTER [MY] DEATH';9 THESE ARE THE WORDS OF R. JUDAH. R. JOSE SAID: THIS10 IS NOT NECESSARY.11 IF A PERSON ASSIGNED HIS ESTATE, IN WRITING, TO HIS SON12 [TO BE HIS]13 AFTER HIS14 DEATH, THE FATHER MAY NOT SELL [IT]15 BECAUSE IT IS ASSIGNED IN WRITING TO THE SON, AND THE SON MAY NOT SELL [IT] BECAUSE IT IS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE FATHER. IF THE FATHER SOLD [THE ESTATE]. THE SALE IS VALID UNTIL HIS DEATH.16 IF THE SON SOLD [IT], THE BUYER HAS NO CLAIM WHATSOEVER UPON IT UNTIL THE FATHER'S DEATH.
GEMARA. [Of] what [avail] is it that he wrote, 'FROM THIS DAY, AND AFTER [MY] DEATH'? Surely we learnt, [if one inserts in a divorce]. 'from this day, and after [my] death', the divorce is valid and invalid;17 and if he dies she is subject to the law of halizah18 but not to that of the levirate marriage!19 — There20 it is doubtful whether it21 is a condition22 or a retraction.23 Here, however, [it is obvious that] he meant to say this to him.24 'Acquire the land itself25 today; the fruit after [my] death'.26
R. JOSE SAID: THIS IS NOT NECESSARY. Rabbah b. Abbuha was indisposed [and] R. Huna and R. Nahman came in [to see him]. 'Ask him', said R. Huna to R. Nahman,27 '[is] the halachah in accordance with [the view of] R. Jose or [is] the halachah not in accordance with [the view of] R. Jose?' — 'I do not [even] know R. Jose's reason, replied the other, '[shall] I ask him28 [about] the halachah?' 'You inquire of him,' said [R. Huna] 'whether the halachah [is according to R. Jose] or not; and as to his reason I will tell you [it later].' [Thereupon, R. Nahman] inquired of [Rabbah], who replied to him, 'Thus said Rab: The halachah [is] in accordance with [the view of] R. Jose'. When29 they came out, [R. Huna] said to him.30 'This is R. Jose's reason: He is of the opinion that the date of the deed proves its import,'31 Thus it was also taught [elsewhere]: R. Jose said, 'This is not necessary, because the date of the deed proves its import.'
Raba inquired of R. Nahman: What [is the law] in [the case of a deed of transfer?32 — He said to him: in [the case of] a deed of transfer this33 is not required. R. Papi said: There are deeds of transfer where [this33 is] required, and there are deeds of transfer where [this is] not required. [If the deed reads]. 'He conferred upon him34 possession', [concluding with], 'and we35 acquired it from him',36 there is no need [for this].37 [If, however, it reads], 'We acquired it from him' [concluding with], 'he gave him possession', this38 is required.39 R. Hanina of Sura demurred: Is there anything we do not know and the scribes would know?40 The scribes of Abaye were asked and they knew;41 the scribes of Raba, and they knew.41
R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said, whether [the order was]. 'He conferred upon him possession … and we acquired it of him', or, 'We acquired it of him … and he conferred upon him possession the insertion of 'from this day] is not required;42 and their dispute43 [has reference only to the case] where [the deed reads], 'a memorandum of the transaction that took place in our presence'.44
R. Kahana said: I mentioned the reported statements in the presence of R. Zebid of Nehardea, and he told me: You read thus,45 [but] we have the following version: Raba said46 in the name of R. Nahman, 'In [the case of] a deed of transfer this47 is not required whether [the formula was], 'He conferred upon him possession … and we acquired it of him' or, 'We acquired it of him … and he gave him possession'; their dispute [has reference only to the case] where [the formula is], 'a memorandum of the transaction that took place in our presence'.
IF A PERSON ASSIGNED HIS ESTATE, IN WRITING TO HIS [TO BE HIS] AFTER HIS DEATH. It was stated: If the son sold [the estate]48 during the lifetime of his father, and died while his father was still alive,
Baba Bathra 136b
R. Johanan said: The buyer does not acquire ownership;1 and Resh Lakish said: The buyer does acquire ownership.2 R. Johanan said [that] the buyer did not acquire ownership, [because] possession of usufruct is like the possession of the capital;3 and Resh Lakish said [that] the buyer did acquire ownership [because] possession of usufruct is not like the possession of the capital.4
But, surely, on this [principle]5 they have once disputed!6 For it was stated: If a person sells the usufruct of his field,7 R. Johanan said, [the buyer] must bring [the bikkurim]8 and recite [the declaration];9 and Resh Lakish said, he must bring but does not recite. R. Johanan said [that] he must bring and recite because he holds the opinion that possession of usufruct is like the possession of the capital.10 and Resh Lakish said [that] he must bring but not recite [because in his opinion] the possession of usufruct is not like the possession of the capital!6 — R. Johanan [can] answer you: Although possession of usufruct is, generally, like the possession of the capital [itself], it was necessary [to re-state the principle] here; since it might have been supposed [that] a father would renounce his claims in favour of his son;11 so he taught us [that this is not so]. And R. Simeon b. Lakish [can] answer you: Although possession of usufruct is, generally, not like the possession of the capital [itself], it was necessary [to re-state the principle] here; since it might have been supposed [that] whenever [it is a matter] of self-interest a man considers himself first even where there is a son;12 so he taught us [that this is not so].
R. Johanan raised an objection against Resh Lakish: [If a person said]. 'I give my estate to you; and after you, X shall be [my] heir; and after X, Y shall be my heir', [when the] first dies, the second acquires the ownership; when the second dies the third acquires ownership. [If] the second dies in the lifetime of the first the estate reverts to the heirs of the first.13 Now, if it were [so],14 it should [revert] to the heirs of the [original] owner?15 — He replied to him: Rab. Hoshaia in Babylon16 has already explained this: It is different [when the expression], 'after you', [was used].17 Rabbah son of R. Huna pointed out the same incongruity in the presence of Rab, who [likewise] replied: It is different [when one used the expression] 'after you'.
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