Previous Folio / Baba Bathra Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site

Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 48a

[From the superfluous words], he shall offer it,1  we learn that a man can be forced to bring an [offering which he has vowed]. Does this mean, even in his own despite? — [This cannot be] because it says. Of his own free will.2  How then [are we to say]? Force is applied to him until he says, 'I consent.'3  But perhaps there is a special reason in this case, viz. that he may be well satisfied [to do so retrospectively], so as to have atonement made for his sins?4  — We must therefore [look for the reason in] the next passage [of the Baraitha quoted]: 'Similarly in the case of divorces, [where the Rabbis have said that the husband can be forced to give a divorce]5  we say [that what is meant is that] force is applied to him till he says, I consent.' But there too perhaps there is a special reason, viz. that it is a religious duty to listen to the word of the Sages?6  — What we must say therefore is that it is reasonable to suppose that under the pressure he really made up his mind to sell.7

Rab Judah questioned this [on the ground of the following Mishnah]: 'A get [bill of divorce] extorted by pressure applied by an Israelite8  is valid, but if the pressure is applied by a non-Jew9  It is invalid. A non-Jew also, however, may be commissioned [by the Beth din] to flog the husband and say to him, Do what the Israelite10  bids you.'11  Now why [should the get be invalid if extorted by the non-Jew]? Cannot we say that in that case also the man makes up his mind under pressure to grant the divorce?12  — This rule must be understood in the light of the statement made by R. Mesharsheya regarding it: According to the Torah itself, the get is valid even if extorted by a non-Jew, and the reason why the Rabbis [on their own authority] declared it invalid was so as not to give an opportunity to any Jewish woman to keep company with a non-Jew and so release herself from her husband.13

R. Hamnuna questioned [the rule on the ground of the following Mishnah]: 'If a man buys a field from a sicarius14  and then buys it again from the original owner, the purchase is void.'15  Why so? Cannot we say here too that under pressure the owner makes up his mind to sell [the field]? — We must understand this statement in the light of the gloss added by Rab: This rule was meant to apply only if the owner [merely] said to the purchaser, Go and take possession and acquire ownership, but if he gives him a written deed, he becomes the legal owner.16  But if we take the view of Samuel, that even if he gives him a deed he does not become the owner, what are we to reply [to R. Hamnuna]? — Samuel admits [that the sale is valid] if the purchaser actually pays the owner. But if we take the view of R. Nahman as completed by the statement of R. Bibi, that though the robber has no title to the land he has a title to the payment he made,17  what reply can be made [by R. Huna]? — R. Bibi adduced a mere statement,18  and such an opinion R. Huna did not feel bound to accept.19

Raba said: The law is that if a man sells a thing under pressure of physical violence, the sale is valid. This is only the case, however,

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lev. 1, 3; If his oblation be a burnt offering … he shall offer it a male without blemish; he shall offer it at the door etc.
  2. A possible rendering of the word lirzono (E.V. that he nay be accepted).
  3. This shows that if a man says 'I consent' under duress, the consent is valid.
  4. By bringing the offering. Hence we cannot reason from the offering to the sale.
  5. E.g., if he suffers from a loathsome disease.
  6. Viz., to their injunction to him to grant a divorce. Hence we cannot reason from divorce to sale.
  7. I.e., make a complete transfer, since we may well assume that he is now content as after all he loses nothing.
  8. I.e., a Jewish court.
  9. I.e., a non-Jewish court.
  10. I.e., the Rabbis who commission the non-Jew to flog the husband.
  11. Git. 88b.
  12. Because when all is said and done he may be glad to get rid of a wife who hates him.
  13. By inducing the non-Jew to go and extort a get from him.
  14. V. supra p. 199, n. 6.
  15. Git. 55b.
  16. V. supra p. 199, n. 8.
  17. Which shows that a proof brought by a robber is valid.
  18. I.e., the individual opinion of an Amora.
  19. Whereas if R. Bibi had been able to quote a Mishnah or a Baraitha, R. Huna would have felt constrained to bow to it.
Tractate List / Glossary / / Bible Reference

Baba Bathra 48b

if he is forced to sell 'a' field,1  but if he is forced to sell 'this'2  field, it is not valid. And again even if he is forced to sell 'this' field, the sale is not valid only if he has not counted out the money [received in payment], but if he does count out the money, the sale is valid.3  And again, [even in the case of 'this' field and even if he did not count out the money] the sale is not valid only if it was not possible for him to wriggle out of it,4  but if he did have a chance to wriggle out of it [and did not do so], then it is valid. [In spite, however, of this statement of Raba,] the accepted ruling is that in all these cases the sale is valid, even in the case of 'this' field, for the betrothal of a woman is analogous to the buying of 'this' field,5  and yet Amemar6  has laid down that if a woman consents to betroth herself under pressure of physical violence, the betrothal is valid. Mar son of R. Ashi, however, said: In the case of the woman the betrothal is certainly not valid; he treated the woman cavalierly7  and therefore the Rabbis treat him cavalierly and nullify his betrothal. Rabina said to R. Ashi: We can understand the Rabbis doing this if he betrothed her with money,8  but if he betrothed her by means of intercourse, how can they nullify the act?9  — He replied: The Rabbis declared his intercourse to be fornication.

One Taba10  tied a certain Papi to a tree11  [and kept him there] till he sold [his field to him]. Subsequently Rabbah b. Bar Hanah signed as a witness both to a moda'ah12  [issued by Papi] and to a deed of sale [of the field]. R. Huna [on hearing of it] said: He who signed the moda'ah acted quite properly and he who signed the deed of sale acted quite properly. How can both be right?13  If [it was right to sign] the moda'ah it was not [right to sign] the deed of sale, and if [it was right to sign] the deed of sale it was not [right to sign] the moda'ah? — What he [R. Huna] meant was this: Had it not been for the moda'ah, the one who signed the deed of sale would have acted rightly.14  R. Huna is thus consistent with the opinion expressed by him [elsewhere]. For R. Huna said that a sale extorted by physical violence is valid. But this is not so,15  seeing that R. Nahman has said: If the witnesses [to a bond16] say [subsequently], We only wrote [the bond under cover of] an amanah,17  their word is not

- To Next Folio -

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. I.e., if he is called upon merely to sell one of his fields, and is allowed to choose which, because in that case we can say that the sale is not unwelcome to him.
  2. I.e., one which his torturers specify, and which perhaps he particularly wished to keep for himself.
  3. Because by the act of counting out the money he shows that he is satisfied with the transaction.
  4. E.g., by saying to the other 'wait till tomorrow' or 'wait till my wife comes' (Rashb.).
  5. Because the woman may be regarded as selling herself to the betrother, who is intent on her alone.
  6. V.l. 'A master said'.
  7. Lit., 'not as it beseems'.
  8. Betrothal could be effected in three ways — by a money gift, by written deed, and by actual intercourse (Kid. ad init.).
  9. If he gave her money, they can declare the money common property, so that the gift was no gift, but they cannot say that the intercourse was no intercourse.
  10. A notorious ruffian.
  11. According to another rendering, 'Tied Papi up on account of an artichoke (to make him sell it).' V. Levy, s.v. [H]
  12. Lit., 'notification': a declaration by a person about to make a sale that the sale is made under duress and that he intends to claim the thing sold as soon as possible. V. supra 40a.
  13. Lit., 'What is your desire'?
  14. But Rabbah b. Bar Hana, having signed the moda'ah, had no right to sign the bill of sale, since he had already in advance declared it to be invalid.
  15. I.e., the moda'ah could not really invalidate the bill of sale.
  16. Given by a borrower to a lender.
  17. Lit., 'our words were only an amanah' (lit., 'assurance'). An amanah was an assurance given to a debtor who signed a bond without receiving money that the creditor would not enforce it unless he actually lent him the money.
Tractate List / Glossary / / Bible Reference