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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma
But did Rab really say that slaves are on the same footing as real property? Did R. Daniel b. Kattina not say that Rab stated that if a man forcibly seizes another's slave and makes him perform some work, he would be exempt from any payment?1 Now, if you really suppose that slaves are on the same footing as real property. why should he be exempt? Should the slave not be considered as still being in the possession of the owner?2 — We are dealing there3 with a case [where he took hold of the slave at a time] when [the owner] usually required no work from him, exactly as R. Abba sent to Mari b. Mar, saying. 'Ask R. Huna whether a person who stays in the premises4 of another without his knowledge must pay him rent or not, and he sent him back reply that 'he is not liable to pay him rent'.5 But what comparison is there? There is no difficulty [in that case]6 as if we follow the view that premises which are inhabited by tenants keep in a better condition,5 [we must say that] the owner is well pleased that his house be inhabited. or again if we follow the view5 that the gate is smitten unto roll,7 [we can again say that] the owner benefited by it. But here [in this case]8 what owner could be said to be pleased that his slave became reduced [by overwork]? — It may, however, be said that here9 also it may be beneficial to the owner that his slave should not become prone to idleness.
Some at the house of R. Joseph b. Hama used to seize slaves of people who owed them money, and make them perform some work. Raba his son said to him: Why do you, Sir, allow this to be done? — He thereupon said to him: Because R. Nahman stated that the [work of the] slave is not worth the bread he eats. He rejoined:10 Do we not say that R. Nahman meant his statement only to apply to one like Daru his own servant who was a notorious dancer in the wine houses, whereas with all other servants who do some work [the case is not so]? — He however said to him: I hold with R. Daniel b. Kattina, for R. Daniel b. Kattina said that Rab stated that one who forcibly seizes another's slave and makes him perform some work would be exempt from any payment, thus proving that this is beneficial to the owner, by preventing his slave from becoming idle. He replied:10 These rulings [could apply] only where he has no money claim against the owner, but [in your case], Sir, since you have a money claim against the owner, it looks like usury, exactly as R. Joseph b. Manyumi said [namely] that R. Nahman stated that though the Rabbis decided that one who occupies another's premises without his consent is not liable to pay him rent, if he lent money to another and then occupied his premises he would have to pay him rent.11 He thereupon said to him: [If so,] I withdraw.
It was stated: If one forcibly seizes another's ship and performs some work with it, Rab said that if the owner wishes he may demand payment for its hire, or if he wishes he may demand payment for its wear and tear. But Samuel said: He may demand only for its wear and tear. Said R. Papa: They do not differ as Rab referred to the case where the ship was made for hire and Samuel to the case where it was not made for hire. Or if you like, I can say that both statements deal with a case where it was made for hire, but whereas [Rab deals with a case] where possession was taken of it with the intention of paying the hire,12 '[Samuel refers to one] where possession was taken of it with the intention of robbery.13
IF HE MISAPPROPRIATED A COIN AND IT BECAME CRACKED etc. R. Huna said: IT BECAME CRACKED means that it actually cracked, [and] IT WENT OUT OF USE means that the Government declared it obsolete. But Rab Judah said that where the Government declared the coin obsolete it would be tantamount to its being disfigured,14 and what was meant by IT WENT OUT OF USE is that the inhabitants of a particular province rejected it while it was still in circulation in another province. R. Hisda said to R. Huna: According to your statement that IT WENT OUT OF USE meant that the Government declared it obsolete, why [in our Mishnah] in the case of fruits that became stale, or wine that became sour, which appears to be equivalent to a coin that was declared obsolete by the Government, is it stated that HE WOULD HAVE TO PAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH [THE VALUE AT] THE TIME OF THE ROBBERY?15 — He replied: There [in the case of the fruits and the wine] the taste and the smell changed, whereas here [in the case of the coin] there was no change [in the substance]. Rabbah on the other hand said to Rab Judah: According to your statement that where the Government declared the coin obsolete it would be tantamount to its having been cracked, why in [our Mishnah in] the case of terumah that became defiled, which appears to resemble a coin that was declared obsolete by the Government16 is it stated that he can say to him, 'HERE, TAKE YOUR OWN'? — He replied: There [in the case of the terumah] the defect17 is not noticeable, whereas here [in the case of the coin] the defect is noticeable.18
It was stated: If a man lends his fellow [something] on [condition that it should be repaid in] a certain coin, and that coin became obsolete, Rab said
Baba Kamma 97b
that the debtor would have to pay the creditor with the coin that had currency at that time,1 whereas Samuel said that the debtor could say to the creditor, 'Go forth and spend it in Meshan.'2 R. Nahman said that the ruling of Samuel might reasonably be applied where the creditor had occasion to go to Meshan, but if he had no occasion [to go there] it would surely not be so. But Raba raised an objection to this view of R. Nahman [from the following]: 'Redemption [of the second tithe] cannot be made by means of money which has no currency, as for instance if one possessed koziba-coins,3 of Jerusalem,4 or of the earlier kings;5 no redemption could be made [by these].'6 Now, does this not imply that if the coins were of the later kings, even though analogous [in one respect] to coins of the earlier kings,7 it would be possible to effect the redemption by means of them?8 — He, however, said to him that we were dealing here with a case where the Governments of the different provinces were not antagonistic to one another. But since this implies that the statement of Samuel [as explained by R. Nahman] referred to the case where the Governments of the different provinces were antagonistic to one another, how would it be possible to bring the coins [to the province where they still have currency]?9 — They could be brought there with some difficulty, as where no thorough search was made at the frontier though if the coins were to be discovered there would be trouble.
Come and hear: Redemption [of the second tithe] cannot be effected by means of coins which have currency here10 but which are actually [with the owner] in Babylon;11 so also if they have currency in Babylon but are kept here.10 [But] where the coins have their currency in Babylon and are in Babylon redemption can be effected by means of them. Now, it is at all events stated here [is it not] that no redemption could be effected by means of coins which though having currency here10 are actually [with the owner] in Babylon irrespective of the fact that the owner will have to go up here?12 — We are dealing here with a case where the Governments [of the respective countries] were antagonistic to each other.13 But if so how would coins which have currency in Babylon and are kept in Babylon be utilised as redemption money?14 — They may be utilised for the purchase of an animal [in Babylon]. which can then be brought up to Jerusalem. But was it not taught15 that there was an enactment that all kinds of money should be current in Jerusalem?16 — Said R. Zera: This is no difficulty, as the latter statement refers to the time when Israel had sway [in Eretz Yisrael] over the heathen whereas the former referred to a time when the heathen governed themselves.17
Our Rabbis taught: What was the coin of Jerusalem?18 [The names] David and Solomon [were inscribed] on one side and [the name of] Jerusalem on the other. What was the coin of Abraham our Patriarch? — An old man and an old woman19 on the one side, and a young man and a young woman20 on the other.
Raba asked R. Hisda: What would be the law where a man lent his fellow something on [condition of being repaid with] a certain coin,21 and that coin meanwhile was made heavier?22 — He replied: The payment will have to be with the coins that have currency at that time. Said the other: Even if the new coin be of the size of a sieve? — He replied: Yes, Said the other: Even if it be of the size of a 'tirtia'!23 — He again replied. Yes. But in such circumstances would not the products have become cheaper?24 — R. Ashi therefore said: We have to look into the matter. If it was through the [increased weight of the] coin that prices [of products] dropped we would have to deduct [from the payment accordingly],
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