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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma
[such as] the Exilarch1 he cannot compel the vendor to sell it to him again. But if when buying it he explicitly made this stipulation he could compel the vendor to sell it to him again.2 The Master stated: 'If one man buys a field in the name of another [such as] the Exilarch, he cannot compel the vendor to sell it to him again'. But is this not quite obvious? — You might, however, have said that the vendee could argue: 'You very well knew that I was taking the field for myself, and that [in buying it in the name of the other person] I merely wanted protection, and as I was surely not prepared to throw away money for nothing I undoubtedly made the purchase on the understanding that a new deed should be drawn up for me [by you].' It is therefore made known to us that the vendor can retort to him: 'It is for you to make arrangements with the person in whose name you bought the field that he should draw up for you a new title deed.'
'But if when buying it he explicitly made this stipulation he could compel the vendor to sell it to him again.' But is this not obvious? — No, it is required to meet the case where the vendee said to the witnesses in the presence of the vendor: 'You see that I want another deed.' You might in this case think that the vendor could say to him: 'I thought that you referred to a deed to be drawn up by the one in whose name you bought the field'; it is therefore made known to us that the vendee can reply to him: 'It was for that purpose that I took the trouble and stated to the witnesses in your own presence, [to show] that it was from you that I wanted the other deed.'
R. Kahana transmitted some money for the purchase of flax. But as flax subsequently went up in price, the owners of the flax sold it [on his behalf]. He thereupon came before Rab and said to him: What shall I do? May I go and accept the purchase money?3 — He replied to him: If when they sold it they stated that it was Kahana's flax, you may go and receive the money,4 but if not you may not accept it.5 But was this ruling made in accordance with the view of the Western scholars who asked: 'Who was it that informed the vendor of the wheat so that he might transfer the ownership of his wheat to the owner of the money?6 [But what comparison is there?] Had R. Kahana given four to receive eight [so that it were usury]? Was it not his flax7 which had by itself gone up in price and which was definitely misappropriated [by the vendors],8 and regarding this we have learnt that 'All kinds of robbers have to pay in accordance with the value at the time of the robbery'?9 — It may, however, be said that there it was a case of advance payment.10 and R. Kahana had never pulled the flax [to acquire title to it],11 and Rab was following his own reasoning, for Rab [elsewhere] stated: Advance payment10 [at present prices] may be made for [the future delivery of] products,12 but no advance payment [at present prices] may be made [if the value of the products will subsequently be paid] in actual money13 [in lieu of them].
MISHNAH. IF ONE MAN ROBBED ANOTHER TO THE EXTENT OF A PERUTAH14 AND TOOK [NEVERTHELESS] AN OATH15 [THAT HE DID NOT DO SO], HE WOULD HAVE TO CONVEY IT PERSONALLY TO HIM16 [EVEN AS FAR AS] TO MEDIA.17 HE MAY GIVE IT NEITHER TO HIS SON NOR TO HIS AGENT, THOUGH HE MAY GIVE IT TO THE SHERIFF OF THE COURT OF LAW. IF THE PLAINTIFF DIED, THE ROBBER WOULD HAVE TO RESTORE IT TO THE HEIRS. IF HE REFUNDED TO HIM THE PRINCIPAL BUT DID NOT PAY HIM THE [ADDITIONAL] FIFTH,18 OR IF THE OTHER EXCUSED HIM THE PRINCIPAL THOUGH NOT THE FIFTH, OR EXCUSED HIM BOTH ONE AND THE OTHER, WITH THE EXCEPTION, HOWEVER, OF LESS THAN THE VALUE OF A PERUTAH ON ACCOUNT OF THE PRINCIPAL, HE WOULD NOT HAVE TO GO AFTER HIM.19 IF, HOWEVER, HE PAID HIM THE FIFTH BUT DID NOT REFUND THE PRINCIPAL, OR WHERE THE OTHER EXCUSED HIM THE FIFTH BUT NOT THE PRINCIPAL, OR EVEN WHERE HE REMITTED HIM BOTH ONE AND THE OTHER, WITH THE EXCEPTION, HOWEVER, OF THE VALUE OF A PERUTAH ON ACCOUNT OF THE PRINCIPAL, HE WOULD HAVE TO CONVEY IT PERSONALLY TO HIM.20 IF HE REFUNDED TO HIM THE PRINCIPAL AND TOOK AN OATH21 REGARDING THE FIFTH,18
Baba Kamma 103b
HE WOULD HAVE TO PAY HIM A FIFTH ON TOP OF THE FIFTH AND SO ON UNTIL THE PRINCIPAL BECOMES REDUCED TO LESS THAN THE VALUE OF A PERUTAH. SO ALSO IS THE CASE REGARDING A DEPOSIT, AS IT IS STATED: IN THAT WHICH WAS DELIVERED HIM TO KEEP, OR IN FELLOWSHIP, OR IN A THING TAKEN AWAY BY VIOLENCE, OR HATH DECEIVED HIS NEIGHBOUR, OR HATH FOUND THAT WHICH WAS LOST AND LIETH CONCERNING IT AND SWEARETH FALSELY,1 HE HAS TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL AND THE FIFTH AND BRING A TRESPASS OFFERING.2
GEMARA. This is so [apparently] only where the robber had taken an oath against him, but if he had not yet taken an oath this would not be so. But would this be not in agreement either with R. Tarfon or with R. Akiba? For we have learnt: If a man robbed one out of five persons without knowing which one he robbed, and each one claims that he was robbed, he may set down the misappropriated article between them and depart. This is the view of R. Tarfon. R. Akiba, however, said that this is not the way to liberate him from sin; for this purpose he must restore the misappropriated article to each of them.3 Now, in accordance with whose view is the ruling of our Mishnah? If in accordance with R. Tarfon, did he not say that even after he had sworn he may set down the misappropriated article among them and depart?4 If again in accordance with R. Akiba, did he not say that even where no oath was taken he would have to restore the [value of the] misappropriated article to each of them? — It might still be in accordance with R. Akiba; for the statement of R. Akiba that he would have to pay for the misappropriated article to each of them was made only where an oath was taken, the reason being that Scripture stated: And give it unto him to whom it appertaineth in the day of his being guilty.5 R. Tarfon, however, held that though an oath was taken, our Rabbis have still made an enactment to facilitate repentance, as indeed taught: R. Eleazar b. Zadok says: A general6 enactment was laid down to the effect that where the expense of personally conveying the misappropriated article would be more than actual principal, he should be able to pay the principal and the Fifth to the Court of Law and thereupon bring his guilt offering and so obtain atonement. And R. Akiba?7 — He argues that the Rabbis made the enactment only where he knew whom he robbed, in which case the amount misappropriated would ultimately be restored to the owner,8 whereas where he robbed one of five persons and does not know whom he robbed, in which case the amount misappropriated could not be restored to its true owner, our Rabbis did surely not make the enactment.
R. Huna b. Judah raised an objection [from the following]: R. Simeon b. Eleazar said that R. Tarfon and R. Akiba did not differ in regard to one who bought [an article] from one out of five without knowing from whom he bought it, both holding that he may put down the purchase money among them and depart.9 Where they differed was regarding one who robbed one out of five persons without knowing whom he robbed, R. Tarfon maintaining that he may leave the value of the misappropriated article among them and depart, whereas R. Akiba says that there could be no remedy for him unless he pays for the misappropriated article to each of them.10 Now, if you assume that an oath was taken here, what difference is there between purchasing and misappropriating?11
Raba further objected [from the following]: It once happened that a certain pious man bought an article from two persons without knowing from whom he had bought it, and when he consulted R. Tarfon, the latter said to him: 'Leave the purchase money among them and depart', but when he came to R. Akiba he said to him: 'There is no remedy for you unless you pay each of them.' Now, if you assume that a [false] oath was taken here, would a pious man swear falsely?12 Nor can you say that he first took an oath and subsequently became a pious man, since wherever we say that 'it once happened with a certain pious man,' he was either R. Judah b. Baba or R. Judah b. Il'ai,13 and, as is well known, R. Judah b. Baba and R. Judah b. Il'ai were pious men from the very beginning!14 — [The ruling of the Mishnah] must therefore be in accordance with R. Tarfon, for R. Tarfon would agree where a false oath was taken,15 the reason being that Scripture stated, And give it unto him to whom it appertaineth in the day of his trespass offering.16 but R. Akiba maintained that even where no oath was taken, a fine has to be imposed.
Now, according to R. Tarfon, let us see. Where he took an oath he would surely not be subject [to the law]17 unless he admitted his guilt.18 Why then only in the case where HE TOOK AN OATH? Would not the same hold good even where no oath was taken, as indeed taught: 'R. Tarfon agrees that if a man says to two persons, I have robbed one of you and do not know whom, he would have to pay each of them a maneh19
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