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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 150a

And R. Dimi b. Joseph said in the name of R. Eleazar: Movables1  in the case of a slave were regarded2  as a reservation; but movables in the case of a kethubah3  were not regarded as a reservation!4  — There,5  [R. Joseph retorted,] it would have been proper that [the term] 'land', should not have been used [at all]; only because in the first part [of the Mishnah] it was stated, 'R. Akiba said: Land of any size is liable to [have the ears at its] corner[s left for the poor], and to [the bringing of its] first ripe fruit [to Jerusalem]; a prosbul6  may be written in connection with it;7  and movable property8  may be acquired in conjunction with it by means of money, deed9  and possession',10  [the term] 'land' was in consequence used [in the second part of this Mishnah also].11

And [do you suggest. Abaye again asked R. Joseph,12  that] wherever 'whatsoever'13  was taught no [minimum] size is required?14  Surely we learnt: R. Dosa b. Horkinas said: Five ewes which supply15  [fleeces of the weight of] a maneh and a half each,16  are subject to [the law of] 'the fist of the fleece'.17  But the Sages said, '[Even] five ewes [which] supply any [quantity] whatsoever [of wool]'18  And to the question,19  how much [was meant by] any [quantity] 'whatsoever',13  Rab replied: A [total of a] maneh and a half, provided each supplies [no less than] a fifth [of the total quantity]!20  — There, [R. Joseph retorted], it would have been proper that [the expression] 'any [quantity] whatsoever' should not have been used [at all]; only because the first Tanna speaks21  of a large quantity.22  [the Sages] also speak21  of a small quantity,23  which is described [as] 'any quantity whatsoever'.24

[It is] obvious [if a person] said, 'My movables [shall be given] to X', [the latter] acquires possession of all the things he used except wheat and barley. [If he said], 'All my movables [shall be given] to X'.[the latter] acquires possession even of wheat and barley and even of the upper millstone,25  except the lower millstone.26  [If he said], 'All that can be moved', [the latter] acquires possession even of the lower millstone.27  The question. [however]. was raised: Is a slave regarded as real estate or as movables!28  — R Aha son of R. Awia said to R. Ashi, Come and hear: He who sold a town has [also] sold [its] houses, ditches and caves, [its] bath houses, olive presses and irrigation works, but not the movables [that it contains]. In the case, however,29  where he said, 'It and all that it contains', all its contents,30  even if it consisted of31  cattle or slaves, are sold.32  [Now.] if it is granted [that slaves are] like movables, one can well understand why they are not included in the sale in the first [case];33  if, however, it is assumed [that] they are like real estate, why are they not included in the sale? — What, then, [is it suggested, that] they are like movables? Why 'even'?34  All, however, that can be said in reply35  [is that] movables which [can] move [of themselves]36  are different from movables that [can] not move;37  so also it may be said38  [that slaves] are like real estate [but that] real estate that moves is different from real estate that does not move.39

Rabina said to R. Ashi, Come and hear:40  If one gave all his property to his slave, in writing, [the latter] goes forth [as] a free man. [If] he left [for himself] any land whatsoever [the slave] does not go forth [as] a free man. R. Simeon said: [The slave] is always free unless [the master] said, 'All my possessions are given to my slave X, except a ten thousandth part of them'. And R. Dimi b. Joseph said in the name of R. Eleazar: Movables in the case of a slave are regarded as a reservation,41  but movables in the case of a kethubah are not regarded as a reservation.42  And Raba asked R. Nahman, 'What is the reason?' [To which the latter replied.] 'A slave is [regarded as] movables, and [in the case of] movables,43  movables44  are regarded as a reservation; the kethubah of a woman, however, is [payable from] real estate,45  and [in the case] of real estate, movables44  [are] not [regarded as] a reservation.46

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Though this Mishnah speaks only of 'land', 'movables' are included.
  2. Lit., 'they made'.
  3. If a person allotted to his wife a share in his lands when he distributed them to his sons, she loses thereby the claims of her kethubah (v. supra 132a). If, however, he gave her a share in movables only. her rights are not impaired.
  4. From the fact that, in the case of a slave, 'movables' are regarded as 'land', though the latter term only is used, it follows that the expression 'land' may include movables; how, then, could R. Joseph urge that since our Mishnah spoke of 'land', movables could not have been included?
  5. In the case of a slave.
  6. V. Glos.
  7. V. p. 324. n. 8.
  8. Lit., property which has no security, i.e., from which creditors cannot collect their debts.
  9. Confirming the sale of the land.
  10. By performing some kind of work on the estate. V. Supra 42a; 77b.
  11. In this case only, for the reason given, R. Joseph maintains, could the term 'land' include movables. Elsewhere, however, 'land' implies real estate only.
  12. Who objected (supra, 149b) to the interpretation that 'some' in our Mishnah meant, 'sufficient for one's maintenance'. V. Rashb.
  13. [H]
  14. Lit., 'it has not'.
  15. Lit., 'shear'.
  16. Lit., 'maneh and a half' (bis).
  17. Which has to be given to the priest. Deut. XVIII, 4.
  18. Hul. 137b.
  19. Lit., 'and we said'.
  20. Which shows, contrary to R. Joseph's argument, that even where the expression, 'any (quantity) whatsoever' is used, a minimum is required
  21. Lit., 'said'.
  22. A maneh and a half per ewe.
  23. A fifth of the first Tanna's quantity.
  24. Elsewhere, however, where 'any quantity whatsoever' (kol shehu), is mentioned no minimum is required. Hence R. Joseph's objection (supra 149b), against the interpretations of the elders is well founded.
  25. Since It is sometimes removed from its place, it is included in the movables.
  26. Which is always kept in its place on the ground.
  27. It can be removed from its place since it is not actually fixed to the ground.
  28. Though, as regards Biblical laws, slaves are regarded as 'land' or 'real estate' as, e.g., in the case of oaths and acquisition by means of money, deed and possession, the question here is whether in the course of ordinary conversation people describe a slave as 'real estate' or as 'movables'.
  29. Lit., 'and at the time'.
  30. Lit., 'all of them'.
  31. Lit., 'they were in it'
  32. Supra 88a.
  33. Where the town only was sold, and all movables were, consequently, excluded.
  34. 'Even', suggests that they are not in fact like 'movables'.
  35. Lit., 'but what have you to say'.
  36. I.c., 'slaves'.
  37. And this is the reason why 'even' was used.
  38. Lit., 'you may even say'. in relation to the first case.
  39. Hence slaves who can move about could not have been in the mind of the person who sold 'a town' that cannot move. In other cases, however. where no particular kind of real estate was mentioned, slaves also may have been included, while in the ease where only 'movables' were specified, slaves may have been excluded.
  40. V. supra 149b, for notes on the following citation.
  41. As the slave does not gain his freedom where his master has reserved some real estate so he does not gain his freedom when his master reserved some movables.
  42. v. p. 647. n. 8.
  43. I.e., when the master reserved for himself 'any movables' whatsoever.
  44. Slaves.
  45. A woman can collect her kethubah from real estate only (v. infra 150b) and not from movable objects.
  46. It has thus been proved from R. Nahman's statement that a slave is regarded as movables; and not as real estate.
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Baba Bathra 150b

He1  replied to him:2  We explain this3  as being due to [the fact4  that the freedom] certificate is not complete.5

Raba said in the name of R. Nahman: [In] five [cases] it is necessary6  that all one's possessions shall be given away in writing;7  and they are the following:8  [The case of a] dying man; one's slave; one s wife, one's sons; [and] a woman who keeps her husband away from her estate.9  'A dying man' — for we learnt: IF A DYING MAN GAVE ALL HIS PROPERTY, IN WRITING, TO OTHERS, AND LEFT [FOR HIMSELF] SOME [PIECE OF] LAND, HIS GIFT IS VALID. [IF, HOWEVER], HE DID NOT LEAVE [FOR HIMSELF] SOME [PIECE OF] LAND, HIS GIFT IS INVALID.10  'One's slave' — for we learnt: If one gave all his property to his slave, in writing. [the latter] goes forth [as] a free man. [If] he left [for himself] some lands [the slave] does not go forth [as] a free man.11  'One's wife' — for Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: If [a dying man] gave all his property to his wife, in writing. he [thereby] only appointed her administratrix.12  'One's sons' — for we learnt: If [a person] assigns all his property to his sons in writing, and he has assigned [also] to his wife [a piece of] land of any size whatsoever, she loses [the claims of] her kethubah.13  'A woman who keeps her husband away from her estate' — for a Master said: A woman who [desires to] keep [her husband] away [from her estate],14  must give away all her estate, in writing.15  In all these [cases]16  movables are [also regarded as] a reservation,17  except [in that] of a kethubah since [in respect to it] the Rabbis have enacted [that a woman has a claim] upon lands, [but] have not provided [her with the right of collecting it]18  from movables.19

Amemar said: Movables that are entered in the kethubah and are [also] available, are [regarded as] a reservation.20

[If a person]21  said, 'My property [shall be given] to X', slave[s] are included,22  for we learnt: If one gave all his property to his slave in writing, [the latter] goes forth [as] a free man.23  Land is described [as] property; for we learnt: Property which has a security24  may be acquired by means of money, deed and possession.25  A cloak is called property, for we learnt:26  And that which has no security27  can only be acquired by means of pulling.28  Money is called property; for we learnt: And that which has no security may be acquired in conjunction with property which has a security. [bought jointly with it,] by means of money, deed and possession;29  as in the case of30  R. Papa [who] had a [money claim of] twelve thousand zuz at Be-Huzae, [and] he passed them over into the possession of R. Samuel b. Aha by virtue of the threshold of his house, [and] when the latter came [back] he went out to meet him as far as Tauak.31  A deed is called property; for Raba b. Isaac said: There are two [kinds] of deeds. [If a person says.] 'Take possession of the field on behalf of X, and write for him the deed', he may withdraw the deed but not the field. [If. however, he says. 'Take possession of the field] on condition that you write for him the deed', he may withdraw both the deed and the field. But R. Hiyya b. Abin said in the name of R. Huna: There are three [kinds of] deeds. Two have just been described. [And the] third is one which the seller writes before [the sale] in accordance with the law we have learnt that

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. R. Ashi.
  2. Rabina.
  3. The reason why the reservation of some movables deprives the slave of his freedom.
  4. And not to use reason given by R. Nahman.
  5. Lit., 'cut'. In order that the slave may procure his freedom it is essential that the master should present him, with a writ 'of emancipation which definitely severs (cuts off) all connections and all relationships between master and slave. Where, however, the master reserves for himself in the writ something, whether in land or in movables, the separation between them effected by it is not complete. Furthermore, it may also be assumed that by that reservation the slave himself may have been intended. In other cases, however, R. Ashi maintains, it is possible, contrary to R. Nahman (Rashb.), or even R. Nahman would agree (R. Tam), that a slave is spoken of as 'land' or 'real estate'.
  6. Lit., 'until'.
  7. Otherwise, the laws stated are inapplicable.
  8. Lit., 'these'.
  9. Lit., 'causes to flee'.
  10. Supra 146b; Pe'ah III, 7.
  11. V. supra 149b.
  12. Supra 131b (q.v. for notes). 144a, Git. 14a.
  13. Supra 132a, q.v. for notes, Pe'ah, ibid.
  14. I. e., that it shall not pass over into his possession by virtue of his becoming her husband.
  15. To a stranger, if she did so she may, on the death of her husband, or if divorced, reclaim her estate. Since no sane person would give away all his possessions and leave for himself nothing, it is obvious that the sole purpose of her presentation of the whole of her estate must have been the prevention of her husband from acquiring ownership thereof. IF, however, she left some portion of the estate for herself, this law does not apply, the gift is valid and she is not entitled ever to reclaim it.
  16. Lit., 'and in all of them', i.e. the four out of the five cases.
  17. Though in every case the term, 'land' was used.
  18. The kethubah.
  19. That is in accordance with Talmudic Law. In virtue, however, of a Gaonic enactment ascribed to R. Hunai (8th century), a Kethubah is payable also out of movables; v. Eben ha-'Ezer, 100. 1.]
  20. Because from such movables a kethubah may be collected as from real estate, v. Keth. 55a. If the husband, therefore, reserved these for her, she loses her rights to the kethubah as if he had reserved for her real estate.
  21. Either a dying man, or one in good health where symbolic acquisition took place.
  22. Lit., 'is called property'.
  23. Supra 149b.
  24. I.e., land.
  25. Kid. 26a.
  26. The conclusion of the previous citation, loc. cit.
  27. Movables, such as garments.
  28. V. Glos., Meshikah.
  29. Kid., l.c.
  30. Lit., 'that'.
  31. Supra 77b, q.v. for notes. The case of R. Papa quoted as an example of 'property which has no security', clearly proves that money is also called 'property'.
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