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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
such as where [the shopkeeper] took [the bottle]1 to measure with it, [and by this action,2 he becomes responsible] In accordance with [a decision of] Rabbah.3 For Rabbah said:4 [If] he5 struck [a lost animal], he assumed [thereby] the obligation of [returning] it [to its owner].6 Might it not be suggested that Rabbah said [so, only] in [the case of] living beings, because he [who strikes them] assists7 in their running away.8 Would he, [however], have said [so in] such a case as this?9 — But, said Raba, I and the lion of the college — who is R. Zera — have interpreted this [as follows]: We deal here with a case where [the shopkeeper] took [the bottle] to use it as a measure for others;10 and the dispute [between the Rabbis and R. Judah] is [dependent] on [their respective opinions as to the legal status of] one who borrows without the knowledge [of the owner].11 One12 is of the opinion [that such a person] is [legally considered] a borrower,13 and the others14 are of the opinion [that] he is a robber.15
Reverting to the above text. Samuel said: 'He who takes a vessel from the artisan to examine it, and an accident happened [while it was] in his hand, is liable'. This law16 [applies only to the case] where the price had been fixed.17
Once a person entered a butcher's shop [and] lifted up a thigh of the meat.18 A rider came while he was holding it up [and] snatched it away from him. He19 came before R. Yemar [who] ordered him to pay its price. But this law20 is [applicable only to the case] where the price has been fixed.
A person once brought pumpkins to Pum Nahara,21 [when] a crowd22 assembled [and] everyone took23 a pumpkin.24 He called out to them,25 'Behold these are dedicated to God'.26 [When] they [the buyers] came before R. Kahana he said unto them: No one may dedicate a thing which is not his. But this [applies only to the case] where the price is fixed, but [when] the price is not fixed, they remain in the possession of their owner who may rightly dedicate them.
Our Rabbis taught: A person, [who comes] to buy herbs in the market, and picks out and puts down, even all day long, does not acquire possession [of the herb] nor does he become liable to give [its] tithe. [If] he has made up his mind to buy it, he acquires possession and becomes liable to give the tithe. [If he desires to withdraw,] he cannot return it [to the seller], for it has become liable to the tithe;27 and he cannot tithe it [before returning] because he would thereby reduce their value.28 How then [is he to proceed]? — He gives the tithe and [returning the remainder] pays [to the seller] the price of the tithe. Does one, then, acquire possession and become liable to give tithe because he has made up his mind to buy? — R. Hoshaia replied: We deal here with [the case of] a God-fearing man like R. Safra,29 for instance, who applied to himself, And speaketh truth in his heart.30
MISHNAH. A WHOLESALE DEALER31 MUST CLEAN32 HIS MEASURES ONCE IN THIRTY DAYS, AND A PRODUCER33 ONCE IN TWELVE MONTHS.34 R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS: THE STATEMENT IS TO BE REVERSED.35 A SHOPKEEPER MUST CLEAN HIS MEASURES TWICE A WEEK,36 WIPE HIS WEIGHTS37 ONCE A WEEK AND CLEANSE THE SCALES AFTER EVERY WEIGHING.38 R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: THESE LAWS APPLY ONLY TO MOIST39 [COMMODITIES], BUT IN [THE CASE OF] DRY [ONES]40 THERE IS NO NEED [FOR THE CLEANING].41
Baba Bathra 88b
AND [A SHOPKEEPER] MUST ALLOW [THE PROVISION SCALE] TO SINK A HANDBREADTH [LOWER THAN THE SCALE OF THE WEIGHTS].1 [IF] HE GAVE HIM THE EXACT WEIGHT2 HE MUST ALLOW HIM THE [FOLLOWING] ADDITIONS,3 A TENTH4 IN [THE CASE OF] LIQUIDS AND A TWENTIETH IN [THE CASE OF] DRY [PROVISIONS]. WHERE THE USAGE IS TO MEASURE WITH A SMALL [UNIT], ONE MUST NOT USE A BIG MEASURE; [IF THE USAGE IS TO MEASURE] WITH A BIG [UNIT], ONE MUST NOT USE A SMALL MEASURE. [IF THE USAGE IS] TO STRIKE [THE MEASURE],5 [ONE MUST] NOT HEAP [IT UP]. [IF THE USAGE IS] TO HEAP [IT UP], ONE MUST NOT STRIKE IT.
GEMARA. Whence [is] this law6 [to be inferred]? — Resh Lakish said: Scripture Says: A perfect and just measure [shalt thou have].7 [This means], make [your weight] just8 by giving of your own. If so,9 explain the next clause. [It reads]: [IF] HE GAVE HIM THE EXACT WEIGHT, HE MUST ALLOW HIM THE [FOLLOWING] ADDITIONS. Now, if giving overweight is a Pentateuchal injunction, how is [he allowed] to give him the exact weight [only]? — But, [came the reply], the earlier clause10 [is not based on a Pentateuchal injunction, but speaks] of a place where there was the practice [of giving overweight],11 and the statement of Resh Lakish has been made with reference to [what has been said, not in the earlier, but in] the latter clause, which reads, [IF] HE GAVE HIM THE EXACT WEIGHT, HE MUST ALLOW HIM THE [FOLLOWING] ADDITIONS [and with reference to this it has been asked], 'Whence [is] this law'? — [And] Resh Lakish said: Scripture says: and just,12 [which means], make [your weight] just, by giving him of your own. And how much must be added to the weight? — R. Abba b. Memel said in the name of Rab: In [the case of] liquids, a tenth of a pound13 for [every] ten pounds.14
A TENTH IN [THE CASE OF] LIQUIDS, AND A TWENTIETH IN [THE CASE OF] DRY, etc. The question was raised: Does this mean, a tenth of the [unit of the] liquids for [every] ten [units] of the liquid, and a twentieth of [the unit of] dry [provisions] for [every] twenty [units] of dry; or [does it], perhaps, [mean] a tenth [of the unit] for [every] ten [units] of liquid and [a tenth of the unit] for [every] twenty [units] of dry [provisions]? — The matter stands undecided.15
R. Levi said:16 The punishment for [false] measures is more rigorous than that for [marrying] forbidden relatives;17 for in the latter case18 it has been said: El,19 but in the former18 Eleh.20 Whence can it be shown that El [implies] rigor[ous punishment]? — For it is written: And the mighty [Elei] of the land he took away.21 Is not Eleh written also in the case of forbidden relatives?22 — That [Eleh has been written] to exclude23 [the sin of false] measures from the punishment of kareth.24 [In] what [respect], then are [the punishments for giving false measures] greater25 [than those for marrying forbidden relatives]? — There,26 repentance is possible, but here,27 repentance is impossible.28
R. Levi further stated: Ordinary29 robbery is worse than the robbery of holy things,30 for [in] the former31 [case] 'sin' is placed before 'trespass'32 while in the latter, 'trespass' is mentioned before 'sin'.33
R. Levi further stated: Come and see [how] divine34 disposition differs from that of mortals.35 The Holy One, blessed be He, blessed Israel with twenty-two [letters]36 and cursed them [only] with eight.37 He blessed them with twenty-two, from If [ye walk] in My statutes38 to [made you go] upright;39 and He cursed them with eight, from And if ye shall reject My statutes40 to And their soul abhorred My statutes.41 But Moses our teacher blessed them with eight and cursed them with twenty-two. He blessed them with eight,
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