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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
but [if the act is] not [done] in his presence, he must say, Go, occupy and acquire ownership. Rab inquired: What is the rule in the case of a gift? Said Samuel: What is Abba's1 difficulty? Seeing that in the case of a sale where the purchaser gives money, if the seller says to him, 'Go, occupy and acquire ownership,' he does acquire ownership but otherwise not, how much more so in the case of a gift?2 — Rab, however, was of opinion that a gift is usually made in a liberal spirit.3
How much is meant by 'anything at all'? — [The answer is given] in the dictum of Samuel: If a man raises a fence already existing to ten handbreadths4 or widens an opening so that it allows of entry and exit, this constitutes effective occupation.5 How are we to picture this fence? If we say that before [the man touched it] people could not climb it and now too they cannot climb it, what has he done?6 If again we say that before people could climb it but now they cannot, he has done a great deal!7 — We must therefore say that before it could be climbed easily but now it can only be climbed with difficulty. How are we to picture the opening? If we say that before people could get through it and now too they can get through it, what has he done?6 If again we say that before people could not get through it but now they can, he has done a great deal!7 We must therefore say that before people got through with difficulty, but now they get through easily.
R. Assi said in the name of R. Johanan: If [in the estate of a deceased proselyte] a man by placing a pebble or removing a pebble confers some advantage, this action gives him a title to the land. How are we to understand this placing and removing? If we say that by placing the pebble [there] he stops water from overflowing the field8 or by removing the pebble he allows water to run off from the field,9 he is merely in the position of 'a man who chases a lion from his neighbour's field'!10 — We must say therefore that in placing the pebble he conserves the water11 and in removing the pebble he makes a passage for the water.12
R. Assi further said in the name of R. Johanan: [If the estate of a deceased proselyte consists of] two [adjacent] fields with a boundary between them, then if a man takes possession13 of one of them with the idea of becoming owner, he acquires ownership of that one;
Baba Bathra 53b
if with the idea of becoming owner of both, he becomes owner of that one but not of the other;1 if with the idea of becoming owner of the other, he does not acquire ownership even of that one.2 R. Zera put the following question: Suppose he takes possession of one of them with the idea of becoming owner of that one and of the boundary and of the other one, how do we decide? Do we say that the boundary goes with this field and with that3 and so he acquires the whole, or do we say that the boundary and the fields are separate?4 This question must stand over.
R. Eleazar put the question: Suppose he takes possession of the boundary with the idea of becoming owner of both fields, how do we decide? Do we say that the boundary is as it were the bridle of the land5 and so he acquires ownership, or are boundary and field separate? — This question [also] must stand over.
R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: If there are [in a house] two rooms, one of which can only be reached through the other,6 then if a man takes possession of the outer room with the idea of becoming its owner, he acquires ownership of it; if with the idea of becoming owner of both rooms, he acquires ownership of the outer room but not of the inner one; if with the idea of becoming owner of the inner room, he does not acquire ownership even of the outer one. If he takes possession of the inner one with the idea of becoming its owner, he acquires ownership of that one; if with the idea of becoming owner of both, he does acquire ownership of both;7 if with the idea of becoming owner of the outer one [only], he does not acquire ownership even of the inner one.8
R. Nahman further said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: If a man builds a large villa on the estate of a [deceased] proselyte and another man comes and fixes the doors, the latter becomes owner. Why is this? Because the first one merely deposited bricks there.9
R. Dimi b. Joseph said in the name of R. Eleazar: If a man finds a villa already erected on the estate of a [deceased] proselyte, and he adds one coat of whitewash or mural decoration, he acquires ownership.10 How much must he whitewash or decorate? R. Joseph says: A cubit. To which R. Hisda added: And it must be by the door.11
R. Amram said: The following dictum was enunciated to us by R. Shesheth, and he showed us the proof of it from a Baraitha:12 If a man spreads mattresses on the floor of a proselyte's estate [and sleeps on it], he thereby acquires ownership.13 How did he 'show proof of this from a Baraitha'? — [By citing the following passage] which has been taught: How is ownership [of a slave] acquired by 'taking possession'?14 If the slave fastens or undoes his master's shoe, or carries his clothes behind him to the bath, or undresses him, washes him, anoints him, scrapes him, dresses him, puts his shoes on15 or lifts him up, he becomes his owner.16 R. Simeon said: possession of this kind cannot be more effective than lifting up, seeing that it confers ownership in all cases. What does this mean? — We must understand the passage thus: If the slave lifts his master up, the latter acquires possession, but if his master lifts him up, he does not. R. Simeon said: possession cannot be more effective than lifting, seeing that it confers ownership in all cases.17
R. Jeremiah Bira'ah said in the name of Rab Judah: If a man
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