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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra
Then follow also the other ruling of Samuel, that the one who digs in it obtains only as much as he digs up. He replied: In that respect I follow our own teaching1 as laid down by R. Huna in the name of Rab: As soon as he has dug up one spadeful he becomes legal owner of the whole.
R. Huna b. Abin sent2 to say that if a Jew buys a field from a heathen and another Jew comes and occupies it [before he receives the deed], we do not dispossess him, and R. Abin and R. Elai and all our teachers were in agreement on this matter.
Rabbah said: These three rules were told me by 'Ukba b. Nehemiah the Exilarch: [one,] that the law of the Government [in civil cases] is law; [a second,] that Persians acquire ownership by forty years' occupation;3 and [a third], that if property is bought from the rich landlords4 who buy up land and pay the tax on it, the sale is valid. This applies, however, only to [land] which is transferred to the landlords on account of the land tax; if [it is sold to them] on account of the poll tax, then a purchase from them is not valid, because the poll tax is an impost on the person.5 R. Huna the son of R. Joshua, however, said that even barley in the jar is liable to be seized for the poll tax.6 R. Ashi said: Huna b. Nathan told me that Amemar found it difficult [to accept this view] because if this was so it would leave no room for the double portion to which a firstborn is entitled in an inheritance,7 since all [bequeathed] property would in this way become 'prospective',8 and a firstborn does not receive a double portion in 'prospective' as in 'actual' assets. He [R. Ashi] remarked: The same reasoning would apply to the land tax also.9 But how then do you get over the difficulty [in the case of the land tax]? [By supposing that] the father pays the land tax of the year before he dies. Similarly with the poll tax; [we suppose that] the father pays it [for the year] before he dies.10
R. Ashi further said: I questioned the scribes of Raba [on this point], and they told me that the law is in accordance with the ruling of R. Huna the son of R. Joshua.11 This, however, is not correct, and they only said so to put themselves in the right.12
R. Ashi further said: A man of leisure13 must assist the community [to pay its levy].14 This, however, is only if the community saved him from being taxed separately;15 but if the tax collectors [exempted him],16 then Providence Was kind to him.
R. Assi said in the name of R. Johanan: A boundary and a cistus17 hedge serve as a partition in the estate of a proselyte;18 not, however, for purposes of pe'ah19 and uncleanness.20 When Rabin came,21 he said in the name of R. Johanan: For purposes of pe'ah and uncleanness also. How does a partition affect pe'ah? — As we have learnt: 'These are the things which cut a field into two with respect to pe'ah:22 a river, a rivulet,
Baba Bathra 55b
a public carriage road1 or a private carriage road,2 a public field-path or a private field-path which is used both in the dry and the rainy season.'3 How does the partition affect uncleanness? — As we have learnt:4 'If a man goes into a plain5 in the rainy season where there is known to be uncleanness6 in a certain field, and he says, I went to that place [i.e. plain] but I do not know if I went to that spot or not, R. Eliezer declares him clean and the Sages declare him unclean,'for R. Eliezer used to say that 'if there is a doubt whether a man entered a place of uncleanness he is clean, but if there is a doubt whether he touched an unclean thing, he is unclean.'7
In respect of Sabbath, however, these things do not form a partition.8 Raba, however, says that they form a partition even in respect of Sabbath, as it has been taught: If a man takes out half a dry fig into a public place,9 and puts it down and then takes out another half a dry fig, in one spell of unawareness that it was Sabbath, he is penalised [for breaking the Sabbath],10 but if under two spells of unawareness, he is not penalised.11 R. Jose said: If he
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