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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma
just as the use of private property under an agreement [is subject to the law of Contracts].
R. Abba b. Zabda sent [the following message] to Mari the son of the Master:1 'Ask R. Huna as to his opinion regarding the case of one who occupies his neighbour's premises without any agreement with him, must he pay him rent or not?' But in the meanwhile R. Huna's soul went to rest. Rabbah b. R. Huna thereupon replied as follows: 'Thus said my father, my Master, in the name of Rab: He is not legally bound to pay him rent; but he who hires premises from Reuben may have to pay rent to Simeon.' But what connection has Simeon with premises [hired from Reuben, that the rent should be paid to him]? — Read therefore thus: '… [Reuben] and the premises were discovered to be the property of Simeon, the rent must be paid to him.' But [if so], do not the two statements [made above in the name of Rab] contradict each other? — The latter statement [ordering payment to Simeon] deals with premises which were for hire,2 whereas the former ruling [remitting rent in the absence of an agreement] refers to premises which were not for hire. It has similarly been stated: R. Hiyya b. Abin quoting Rab said, (some say that R. Hiyya b. Abin quoting R. Huna said): 'He who occupies his neighbour's premises without any agreement with him is not under a legal obligation to pay him rent. He, however, who hires premises from the representatives of the town must pay rent to the owners.' What is the meaning of the reference to 'owners'? — Read therefore thus: '… [representatives of the town,] and the premises are discovered to be the property of [particular] owners, the rent must be paid to them.' But [if so,] how can the two statements be reconciled with each other? The latter statement [ordering payment to the newly discovered owners] deals with premises which are for hire,2 whereas the former ruling [remitting rent in the absence of an agreement] refers to premises which are not for hire.
R. Sehorah slated that R. Huna quoting Rab had said: He who occupies his neighbour's premises without having any agreement with him is under no legal obligation to pay him rent, for Scripture says, Through emptiness3 even the gate gets smitten.4 Mar, son of R. Ashi, remarked: I myself have seen such a thing5 and the damage was as great as though done by a goring ox. R. Joseph said: Pre mises that are inhabited by tenants6 keep in a better condition. What however is the [practical] difference between them?7 — There is a difference between them in the case where the owner was using the premises for keeping there wood and straw.8
There was a case where a certain person built a villa upon ruins that had belonged to orphans. R. Nahman thereupon confiscated the villa from him [for the benefit of the orphans]. May it therefore not be inferred that R. Nahman is of the opinion that he who occupies his neighbour's premises without having any agreement with him must still pay him rent? — [The case of the orphans is based on an entirely different principle, as] that site had originally been occupied by certain Carmanians9 who used to pay the orphans a small rent.10 When the defendant had thus been advised by R. Nahman to go and make a peaceful settlement with the orphans, he paid no heed. R. Nahman therefore confiscated the villa from him.
WHEN WILL PAYMENT BE MADE TO THE EXTENT OF THE BENEFIT? [IF IT CONSUMED [FOOD] … IN THE SIDEWAYS OF THE MARKET, THE PAYMENT WILL BE FOR THE ACTUAL DAMAGE DONE BY THE ANIMAL.] Rab thereupon said: [The last ruling ordering payment for the actual damage done extends] even to a case where the animal itself [stood in the market place but] turned its head to the sideways [where it in this wise consumed the food]. Samuel on the other hand said: Even in the case of the animal turning its head to the sideways no payment will be made for the actual damage done.11 But according to Samuel, how then can it happen that there will be liability to pay for actual damage? — Only when, e.g., the animal had quitted the market place altogether and walked right into the sideways of the market place. There are some [authorities] who read this argument [between Rab and Samuel] independent of any [Mishnaic] text: In the case of an animal [standing in a market place but] turning its head into the sideways [and unlawfully consuming food which was lying there], Rab maintains that there will be liability [for the actual damage] whereas Samuel says that there will be no liability [for the actual damage]. But according to Samuel, how then can it happen that there will be liability to pay for actual damage? — Only when, e.g., the animal had quitted the market place altogether and had walked right into the sideways of the market place. R. Nahman b. Isaac raised an objection: [SO ALSO IF IT CONSUMED] AT THE ENTRANCE OF A SHOP, PAYMENT TO THE EXTENT OF THE BENEFIT WILL BE MADE.12 How could the damage in this case have occurred unless, of course, by the animal having turned [its head to the entrance of the shop]? Yet the text states, PAYMENT TO THE EXTENT OF THE BENEFIT. [That is to say,] only to the extent of the benefit [derived by the animal] but not for the actual damage done by it?13 — He raised the objection and he himself14 answered it: The entrance to the shop might have been at a corner [in which case the animal had access to the food placed there without having to turn its head].
There are some [authorities], however, who say that in the case of an animal turning [its head to the sideways of the market place] there was never any argument whatsoever that there would be liability [for the actual damage done]. The point at issue between Rab and Samuel was in the case of a plaintiff who left unfenced a part of his site abutting on public ground, and the statement ran as follows: Rab said that the liability for the actual damage done could arise only in a case where [the food was placed in the sideways of the market to which] the animal turned [its head]. But in the case of a plaintiff leaving unfenced a part of his site abutting on public ground [and spreading out there fruits which were consumed by the defendant's animal] there would be no liability to pay [for the loss sustained].15 Samuel, however, said that even in the case of a plaintiff leaving unfenced a part of his site abutting on to the public ground, there would be liability to pay [for the loss sustained]. Might it not be suggested that the basic issue [between Rab and Samuel] would be that of a defendant having dug a pit on his own site [and while abandoning the site still retains his ownership of the pit]?16 Rab who here upholds exemption [for the loss sustained by the owner of the fruits] maintains that a pit dug on one's own site is subject to the law of Pit [so that fruits left on an unfenced site adjoining the public ground constitute a nuisance which may in fact be abated by all and everybody],17 whereas Samuel who declares liability [for the loss sustained by the owner of the fruits] would maintain that a pit dug on one's own site could never be subject to the law of Pit!18 — Rab could, however, [refute this suggestion and] reason thus: [In spite of your argument] I may nevertheless maintain
Baba Kamma 21b
that in other respects a pit dug on one's own site is not subject to the law of Pit, but the case before us here is based on a different principle, since the defendant is entitled to plead [in reply to the plaintiff]: 'You had no right at all to spread out your fruits so near to the public ground as to involve me in liability through my cattle consuming them.' Samuel on the other hand could similarly contend: In other respects a pit dug on one's own site may be subject to the law of Pit, for it may be reasonable in the case of a pit for a plaintiff to plead that the pit may have been totally overlooked [by the animals that unwittingly fell in]. But in the case of fruits [spread out on private ground], is it possible to plead with reason that they may have been overlooked? Surely they must have been seen.1
May it not be suggested that the case of an animal 'turning its head [to the sideways]' is a point at issue between the following Tannaitic authorities? For it has been taught: In the case of an animal [unlawfully] consuming [the plaintiff's fruits] on the market, the payment will be [only] to the extent of the benefit; [but when the fruits had been placed] on the sideways of the market, the payment would be assessed for the damage done by the animal. This is the view of R. Meir and R. Judah. But R. Jose and R. Eleazar say: It is by no means usual for an animal to consume [fruits], Only to walk [there]. Now, is not R. Jose merely expressing the view already expressed by the first-mentioned Tannaitic authorities,2 unless the case of an animal 'turning its head [to the sideways]' was the point at issue between them, so that the first-mentioned Tannaitic authorities2 maintained that in the case of an animal 'turning its head [to the sideways]' the payment will still be fixed to the extent of the benefit it had derived, whereas R. Jose would maintain that the payment will be in accordance with the actual damage done by it?3 — No; all may agree that in the case of an animal 'turning its head [to the sideways]' the law may prevail either in accordance with Rab or in accordance with Samuel; the Point at issue, however, between the Tannaitic authorities here [in the Baraitha] may have been as to the qualifying force of in another man's field.4 The first Tannaitic authorities2 maintain that the clause, And it [shall] feed in another man's field, is meant to exclude liability for damage done on public ground, whereas the succeeding authorities5 are of the opinion that the clause And it [shall] feed in another man's field exempts [liability only for damage done to fruits which had been spread on] the defendant's domain.6 On the defendant's domain! Is it not obvious that the defendant may plead: What right had your fruit to be on my ground?7 — But the point at issue [between the authorities mentioned in the Baraitha] will therefore be in reference to the cases dealt With [above]8 by Ilfa9 and by R. Oshaia.10
MISHNAH. IF A DOG OR A GOAT JUMPS DOWN FROM THE TOP OF A ROOF AND BREAKS UTENSILS [ON THE PLAINTIFF'S GROUND] THE COMPENSATION MUST BE IN FULL, FOR ANY OF THEM IS CONSIDERED MU'AD IN RESPECT OF THAT DAMAGE].11 IF [HOWEVER] A DOG TAKES HOLD OF A CAKE [WITH LIVE COALS STICKING TO IT] AND GOES [WITH IT] TO A BARN, CONSUMES THE CAKE AND SETS THE BARN ON FIRE, [THE OWNER OF THE DOG] PAYS FULL COMPENSATION FOR THE CAKE,12 WHEREAS FOR THE BARN [HE] PAYS [ONLY] HALF DAMAGES.
GEMARA. The reason of [the liability in the commencing clause] is that the dog or goat has jumped [from the roof],13 but were it to have fallen down14 [from the roof and thus broken utensils] there would be exemption. It can thus be inferred that the authority here accepted the view that the inception of [potential] negligence resulting in [mere] accident carries exemption.
It has been explicitly taught to the same effect: 'If a dog or goat jumps down from the top of a roof and breaks utensils [on the plaintiff's ground] the compensation must be in full; were it, however, to have fallen down15 [and thus broken the utensils] there would be exemption.' This ruling seems to be in accord with the view that where there is negligence at the beginning16 but the actual damage results from [mere] accident17 there is exemption,18 but how could the ruling be explained according to the view that upholds liability? — The ruling may refer to a case where the utensils had, for example, been placed very near to the wall so that were the animal to have jumped it would by jumping have missed them altogether; in which case there was not even negligence at the beginning.19
R. Zebid in the name of Raba, however, said: There are certain circumstances where there will be liability even in the case of [the animal] falling down. This might come to pass when the wall had not been in good condition.20 Still what was the negligence there? It could hardly be that the owner should have borne in mind the possibility of bricks falling down21 [and doing damage], for since after all it was not bricks that came down but the animal that fell down, why should it not be subject to the law applicable to a case where the damage which might have been done by negligence at the inception actually resulted from accident?22 — No, it has application where the wall of the railing was exceedingly narrow.23
Our Rabbis taught: In the case of a dog or goat jumping [and doing damage], if it was in an upward direction24 there is exemption;25 but if in a downward direction there is liability.26 In case, however, of man or poultry jumping [and doing damage], whether in a downward or upward direction, there is liability.27
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