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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
Amemar said: Nor does he reduce the portion of the birthright;1 for it is said, And they have born him sons2 [which implies that] he must have been3 a son4 at the time of [his] birth.4 R. Shezbi said: Nor is he circumcised on the eighth [day5 of his birth];6 for Scripture said, If a woman be delivered, and bear a man-child … and in the eighth day [the flesh of his foreskin] shall be circumcised,7 [which implies that] he must be8 a male at9 the time of [his] birth.10 R. Sherabya said: Nor is his mother [levitically] unclean [on account] of [his] birth;11 for Scripture said, If a woman be delivered, and bear a man-child, then she shall be unclean seven days [which implies that she is not unclean]12 unless he13 was a male at9 the time of [his] birth.14
An objection was raised: [It was taught]. 'If a woman miscarried a tumtum15 or an androginos,16 she must continue [in her levitical uncleanness and cleanness, as] for both a male and a female'.17 [Is not this] an objection [to the statement] of R. Sherabya?18 — This is an objection.
May it be suggested [that] this is [also] all objection [against the statement] of R. Shezbi?19 The Tanna20 may have been in doubt21 and, [consequently. he imposed a double] restriction.22 If so,23 it should have been [stated that] she should continue [in her uncleanness] for a male, and for a female, and for her menstruation!24 — This is a difficulty.
Raba said: It was taught in agreement with [the view] of R. Ammi:25 [The expression.] a Son,26 [Implies], but not a tumtum;27 [the expression] a firstborn,28 [implies] but not a doubtful case.29 [The statement]. 'in son, but not a tumtum' [can well be explained] in accordance with [the view] of R. Ammi; but what does [the statement]. 'a firstborn, but not a doubtful case', exclude?30 — It excludes31 [the opinion arrived at] through Raba's exposition. For Raba gave the following exposition: [if] two women32 gave birth [respectively] to two male children in a hiding place.33 [these34 may] write out an authorisation for one another.35
R. Papa said to Raba: Surely Rabin had sent [a message stating]: This question I have asked of all my teachers, but they told me nothing; the following, however, was reported in the name R. Jannai: [If] they36 were identified,37 and afterwards they were exchanged, they may give written authorisation to one another; [if] they were not identified,37 they may not give written authorisation to one another.38
Subsequently Raba appointed an Amora39 by his side, and made the following exposition: what have told you was in error; but this, indeed, has been reported in the name of R. Jannai. 'If they36 were identified34 and afterwards they were exchanged, they may give written authorisation to one another, [if] they were not identified37 they may not give written authorisation to one another.
The men of Akra di Agama40 addressed41 [the following enquiry] to Samuel: Will our master instruct us [as to] what [is the law in the case] where one was generally held-to be a firstborn son, but his father declared that another [son] was the firstborn?42 — He sent to them [the following reply]: 'They may write on an authorisation
Baba Bathra 127b
for one another.' What [is really] your opinion [on the matter]? If [Samuel] holds the same view as the Rabbis,1 he should have sent [word] to them, according to the Rabbis; if he holds the same view as R. Judah.1 he should have sent [word] to them according to R. Judah! — He was in doubt as to whether [the law is] according to R. Judah or according to the Rabbis.2
What is that [dispute]?3 — It was taught: He shall acknowledge4 [implies]. 'he shall [be entitled to] acknowledge him before others'.5 From this R. Judah deduced that a person is believed when he declares, 'This son of mine is firstborn'.6 And as a person is believed when he declares 'this son of mine is firstborn', so one is believed when one declares, 'this is the son of a divorced woman', or 'this is the son of a haluzah.'7 But the Sages say he is not believed.8
R. Nahman b. Isaac said to Raba: According to R. Judah it is correct for Scripture to say, he shall acknowledge,'9 according to the Rabbis, however, what need is there for10 [the expression] he shall acknowledge? — When acknowledgment is required.11 In what legal respect?12 As regards giving him a double portion? Should he [even] be [regarded as] but a stranger, could he13 not give [it]14 to him if he desired to make a gift of it? — This15 is required only [in the case] where property has come into his possession16 afterwards.17 But according to R. Meir Who said, 'a man may give possession of a thing that has not come into existence',18 what need is there for, he shall acknowledge?19 — [It is needed for the case] where property came into his possession20 while he was dying.21
Our Rabbis taught: [Where a son] was held to be a firstborn, and his father declared another [son] to be the firstborn, [the father] is believed. [Where, however, a son] was held not to be a first-born, and his father declared him to be a firstborn, [the father] is not believed. The first [clause harmonises with the view of] R. Judah,22 and the last [clause harmonises with that of] the Rabbis.23
R. Johanan said: [If] a person declared, 'this is my son', and then retracted and declared, 'He is my slave', he is not believed. [If, however, he said], 'He is my slave', and then he retracted and declared, 'He is my son', he is believed, for he [may] mean,24 'who attends upon me as a slave'. [This law,] however, is reversed [when the statements were made] at a custom house. If, when passing the custom house, he declared, 'This is my son', and then he retracted, and said, 'He is my slave', he is to be believed.25 [If, however,] he declared, 'He is my slave', and then he retracted, and said,'He is my son', he is not believed.26
An objection was raised: [It was taught:] If a man attended upon another as a son27 and the latter came [before the court] and declared, 'He is my son' and, then, he retracted and stated, 'He is my slave', he is not believed. [If, however], he attended upon him as a slave, and [the latter] came [to the court] and declared, 'he is my slave', and then he retracted, and stated, 'He is my son', he is not believed!28 — R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: [The case] there29 [refers to one] whom he called, 'a slave of a rope of a hundred'.30 What [is meant By] 'a rope of a hundred'? — A rope of a slave [who is worth] a hundred zuz.31
R. Abba sent to R. Joseph b. Hama: If one says to another, 'You stole my slave', and the other says, 'I did not steal [him]'. [And when the first inquires, 'In] what capacity [is he] with you?' [the latter replies]. 'You sold him to me,
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