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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
MISHNAH. IF A MAN LEASES A FIELD FOR BUT A FEW YEARS,1 HE MUST NOT SOW IT WITH FLAX,2 NOR HAS HE A RIGHT TO THE SYCAMORE BEAMS.3 BUT IF HE LEASED IT FOR SEVEN YEARS, HE MAY IN THE FIRST YEAR SOW IT WITH FLAX, AND HAS A RIGHT TO THE SYCAMORE BEAMS.
GEMARA. Abaye said: He has no rights to the sycamore beams, but is entitled to the improvement in the sycamores themselves,4 Raba said: He is not even entitled to the improvement.
An objection is raised: If one leases a field, when his lease expires5 an assessment is made for him. Surely that means that the improvement in the sycamores are assessed for him! — No. The vegetables and beets are assessed for him. The vegetables and beets! Let him uproot and take them away! — It was before market day.6
Come and hear: If one leases a field, and the seventh year [i.e., the year of release] intervenes, an assessment is made for him. Does then the seventh year withdraw the land [from the lessee]?7 — But read thus: If one leases a field, and the Jubilee arrives, an assessment is made for him. Yet even so, does then the Jubilee cancel a leasehold: Scripture [merely] forbade a sale in perpetuity!8 — But read thus: If one buys a field from his neighbour, and the Jubilee arrives, an assessment is made for him! And should you answer: Here too, the vegetables and beets are assessed for him, [I would reply] these are free to all in the Jubilee! Hence It must surely refer to the improvement of the sycamores!9 — Abaye explained the cited Baraitha on the basis of Raba's views: There it is different, because the Writ saith, Then the house that was sold shall go out [in the year of Jubilee]:8 [only] that which was sold is returnable [to the first owner], but not the improvements. Then let us learn from it!10 — There it is a true sale, and Jubilee is a royal revocation.11
R. Papa leased a field for growing fodder. Now, some young trees sprouted up therein. When he [R. Papa] was about to quit, he said to them [the original owners]: Give me the improvement,12 Said R. Shisha the son of R. Idi to R. Papa: If so, [had you leased] palm-trees, and these grew thicker [during the period of lease], would you then, Master, also demand the improvement? — He replied: There, I should not have taken possession for that purpose; but here I leased it13 for that.14 With whom does this agree? With Abaye, who maintained that he is entitled to the improvement In the sycamores? — It may agree even with Raba. There he [the lessee] suffers no loss [through the improvement of the sycamores]; here there is a loss. But he [the lessor] said to him, 'Wherein did I cause you to suffer loss? Through the [diminished] area for fodder. Then take the value of the fodder [that would have grown] in their place, and go.' He replied, 'I would have sown it with garden saffron,'15 Said he to hini, 'You have [thus] shown that your intention was to remove [what you did sow] and depart:16 then take your saffron and go. You are entitled only to the value of the wood.'17
R. Bibi b. Abaye leased a field and surrounded it with a ridge, from which there sprung forth sorb bushes. When he left the field [on the expiration of the lease], he said to them, 'Give me the improvements I effected.'18 Said R. Papi: 'Because you come from Mamla, you speak words of no substance.19 Even R. Papa claimed [improvements] only because he suffered loss; but here, what loss have you sustained?'
R. Joseph had a gardener.20 Now, he died and left five sons-in-law. Said R. Joseph: Hitherto there was one, and now there are five; hitherto they did not rely on each other [to do the work] and so caused me no loss, whilst now they will, and cause me loss. [Therefore] he said to them: If you accept the improvements due to you and quit, it is well; if not, I will evict you without [giving you] the improvements. For Rab Judah — others state, R. Huna — others state, R. Nahman — said: If a gardener dies, his heirs may be evicted without [receiving] the improvements. — But [nevertheless] that is incorrect.
A certain gardener said to his employers, 'Should I cause loss, I will quit.' He did [then] cause loss, Said Rab Judah: He must quit without [receiving] the improvements. R. Kahana said: He must quit, but receives the improvements [he effected]. Yet R. Kahana admits that if he said, 'I will quit without the improvements,' he is evicted without [receiving] improvements. Raba said: [Even then,] It is an asmakta,21 which is not binding. But according to Raba, wherein does it differ from what we learnt: 'Should I neglect and not till it, I will pay with the best [crops]?'22 — There he merely pays for the loss he caused;23 here [it is sufficient that] we make a deduction on account of what he spoiled — whilst the rest must be given him.24
Ronia was Rabina's gardener. Having spoiled it, he was dismissed. Thereupon he went before Raba, complaining — 'See, Sir, how he has treated me.' 'He has acted within his rights,' he informed him. 'But he gave me no warning,' protested he. 'No warning was necessary,' he retorted. This is in accordance with Raba's views. For Raba said: Elementary teachers, a gardeners butcher, a cupper25
Baba Mezi'a 109b
A certain gardener said, 'Give me my improvements, as I wish to emigrate to Palestine.' When he came before R. Papa b. Samuel he ordered: 'Give him the improvements'.But Raba protested: 'Has only he effected the increased value, and not the soil?'3 He replied, 'I meant half thereof.' 'But,' he protested, 'hitherto the owner took half and the gardener half; whereas now he must give a share to an aris!'4 He replied, 'I meant a quarter of the improvement.' Now R. Ashi thought this to mean a quarter [of the residue],5 which is a sixth [of the whole]. For R. Minyomi, the son of R. Nehumi, said: Where it is the practice for a gardener to receive half profits and an aris one third,6 and a gardener wishes to quit, he is given [his share of the] profits and dismissed, [a share being computed in such a way] that the employer sustains no loss [through having to engage an arts]. Now, should you assume that he meant a quarter [of the residue after paying the aris his share], which is a sixth of the whole, it is well; but if you say that it means a literal quarter, the employer loses a twelfth!7 R. Aha, the son of R. Joseph, said to R. Ashi: But cannot he [the gardener] say to him, 'Do entrust your own portion to the aris; whilst as for me, I can do what I wish with my own share'?8 — He replied: When you arrive at 'The slaughter of consecrated animals,' come and place your difficulties before me.9
The [above] text states: 'R. Minyomi, son of R. Nehumi said: Where it is the practice for a gardener to receive half profits and an arts one third, and a gardener wishes to quit, he is given [his share of] the profits and then dismissed, [a share being computed in such a way] that the employer sustains no loss.' R. Minyomi, son of R. Nehumi [also] said: Of an old [vine] trunk [the gardener receives] half;10 but if the river inundated it,11 he receives a quarter.12
A certain man pledged a vineyard with his fellow for ten years,13 but it aged after five.14 Abaye said: They [the aged trunks] rank as produce;15 Raba ruled: As principal; therefore land must be bought therewith, of which he [the mortagee] enjoys the usufruct.
An objection is raised: If the tree withered or was cut down, both are forbidden to use it. What then shall be done? It must be sold for timber, land bought with the proceeds, and he [the mortgagee] takes the usufruct.16 Surely 'withered' is similar to 'cut down': just as the latter means, in its due time, so the former too; and yet it is taught, 'It must be sold for timber, land bought with the proceeds, and he [the mortagee] takes the usufruct': thus proving that it ranks as principal? — No; 'cut down' is similar to 'withered:'just as the latter [implies] before its time,17 so the former too.
Come and hear: If aged vines and olive trees fell to her [as an inheritance],18
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