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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Bathra

Folio 92a



GEMARA. It has been stated:5  [If] one has sold an ox to another, and it was found to have been wont to gore.6  Rab said, the [sale] is under false pretences.7  But Samuel said: [The seller] can say to him, 'I have sold it to you for [the purpose of] slaughtering'.8  But [cannot the object of the sale] be seen [from the following]? If [he is] a man that buys for slaughtering [then this sale also must have been] for [the purpose of] slaughtering; [and] if for ploughing, [it must have been] for [the purpose of] ploughing. [why then, should there be a dispute between Rab and Samuel]? — [This dispute relates to the case] of a man who buys for both.9  But why not see what price10  was paid?11  — The dispute is applicable [to the case] when the price of meat has risen and stands at [the same level as] the price of [an animal for] ploughing. If so, what difference is there [whether the animal was bought for ploughing or slaughtering]?12  — [There is] a difference [in respect] of the trouble.13  How is this14  to be understood?

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Which are usually sold as seed.
  2. The seller may claim to have sold them as food, not as seed.
  3. The seller.
  4. The entire transaction is invalid, since the purchase had been for seed, and it has proved to be useless for that purpose.
  5. B.K. 46a.
  6. Before the sale took place.
  7. Lit., 'mistaken deal', 'a purchase based on error'. An ox is usually purchased to plough or to perform similar service. The sale, therefore, took place under false pretences, and is consequently invalid, and the seller must return the purchase money.
  8. Samuel is of the opinion that, in money matters, general practice is no determining factor in the validity of the sale. The seller, therefore, can claim that, despite the general practice, he has sold him the ox, not for ploughing, but for slaughter.
  9. Lit., 'for this and for that'; for ploughing or for slaughtering.
  10. The cost of an animal for work is much higher than one for food only.
  11. Lit., 'how the monies are.
  12. In either case the animal is worth the price paid for it; why, then, should Rab differ from Samuel by declaring such a deal to be invalid?
  13. Of killing the animal and selling it. For this reason, Rab declares the sale invalid and requires the seller to return the purchase price.
  14. That the seller is required to return the money he received.

Baba Bathra 92b

If there is no [capital] from which [the buyer] may be reimbursed, let the ox be retained for the money;1  as people say.2  'from your debtor accept [even] bran in payment'! — [The dispute between Rab and Samuel] is required only [in the case] where there is [capital] from which [the buyer] may be reimbursed. [In such a case] Rab said: The deal was made under false pretences [because] one must be guided by the general practice3  and most people buy [oxen] for ploughing. But Samuel said [in reply]: One is guided by the general practice in ritual, but not in monetary matters.

(Mnemonic:4  A woman and a slave, an ox, oxen and fruit.)

An objection was raised: [If] a woman has become a widow or has been divorced, and she claims, 'I was married [as] a virgin',5  and he6  says [to her]. '[It was] not so, but I married you [as] a widow',7  if there are witnesses that she left [her father's house for the wedding ceremony] in a curtained litter,8  or with uncovered head,9  she [is entitled to] a kethubah10  of two hundred [zuz].11  Now, the reason [why she receives two hundred zuz is] that there were witnesses but, [it may be inferred], had there been no witnesses, [she would] not [have been entitled to the higher settlement];12  why should it not be said,13  'Be guided by [what] most women [do]', and most women marry [as] virgins? Rabina said: Because It may be assumed [on the one hand], that the majority of women marry [as] virgins and a minority [as] widows, and, [on the other hand, that] whenever [a woman] marries [as] a virgin [the fact] is known; [consequently] since in her case [the fact] is not known,14  the majority principle, as applied to her, is impaired.15  [But] if, [as you have said], all who marry [as] virgins are known [to have so married], what use are witnesses? [Surely], since [the fact that] she [married as a virgin] is not known, they [must] be [regarded as] false witnesses.16  But, [this is the answer], the majority of those who marry [as] virgins are known [to have so married] and since this one is not known, the majority principle in her case is impaired.

Come and hear! [It has been taught:]17  [If] one sold to another a slave who was found to have been a thief or a gambler,18  the sale is valid.19  [If the slave was found to have been] an armed robber or one prescribed by the government '20  [the buyer may] say to him; 'This is yours; take him'.21  Now in the case of] the first clause,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Why, then, should the ox, according to Rab who considers the sale invalid, be returned to the seller?
  2. Cf. B.K. 46b; B.M. 118a.
  3. Lit., 'majority'.
  4. The mnemonic aids in the recollection of the following quotations from which objections were raised to Rab's or Samuel's opinion.
  5. V. n. 23. infra.
  6. The husband.
  7. V. n. 13.
  8. Heb., henuma, [G]. Virgin brides were carried out of their father's home on the wedding day in a curtained litter.
  9. A virgin bride walked to her wedding canopy with 'uncovered head', [H] which others render, 'loosened hair'.
  10. The endowment or settlement which a wife is entitled to receive on being divorced or on the death of her husband. A woman who married as a virgin is entitled to two hundred zuz; if as a widow, to one hundred zuz only.
  11. Keth. 15b.
  12. V. p. 382. n. 13.
  13. As Rab said in the case of the sale of the ox.
  14. As evidenced by the fact that no witnesses are forthcoming.
  15. And she is assumed to belong to the minority.
  16. For if she had married as a virgin the marriage would have been known.
  17. Tosef. Kid. IV, Kid., 11a.
  18. [H] cf. [G] 'gambler', [G] 'crafty person'.
  19. Lit., 'he reached him'.
  20. I.e., 'sentenced to death'.
  21. Lit., 'Here is yours before you, and the seller must return the purchase money.