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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
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IF THE RIVER SWEPT AWAY A MAN'S OLIVE-TREES. 'Ulla said in the name of Resh Lakish: This was stated only if they were uprooted together with their clods of earth, and after three years [of having been swept away]; but within the three years, it all belongs to the owner of the olive trees, for he can say to him [the landowner]: 'Had you planted them, could you have eaten of them within three years?'2 But cannot he answer: 'Had I planted them, I would have enjoyed the whole of their usufruct after three years; whereas now you share it with me?'3 But, when Rabin came,4 he said in the name of Resh Lakish: This holds good only if they were uprooted together with their clods, and within three years; but after three years, it all belongs to the field-owner. For he can say to him, 'Had I planted them myself, would I not have enjoyed their entire usufruct after three years?'5 But let him answer: 'Had you planted them, you could not have enjoyed anything at all within three years, whereas as it is, you share half with me!' — Because he can retort, 'Had I planted, they would have been small, and I could have sown beets and vegetables under them.'6
A Tanna taught: If he said, 'I wish to take my olive trees,' he is not heeded. Why? — R. Johanan said: That Palestine may be well cultivated. Said R. Jeremiah: For such an answer a master is necessary.7
We learnt elsewhere: R. Judah said: If one leases a field of his father's from a heathen,8 he must tithe [all the crops] and then give him [the heathen] his share.9 Now, the scholars understood it thus: What is meant by 'a field of his fathers' is Palestine. And the reason it is called the 'field of his fathers' is because it is a field of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And he [R. Judah] holds: A heathen cannot acquire a title in Palestine to free [the crops] from tithes; also, one who leases [on a percentage] is as a renter [at a fixed rent]: just as a renter must tithe crops and pay him, whether the field produces or not,10 because it is as repaying a debt: so also, he who leases a field is as though he were settling a debt: and therefore must first tithe the crops and then pay him. R. Kahana said to R. Papi — others state, to R. Zebid: But what of [the Baraitha] that was taught: R. Judah said: If one leases a field of his fathers from a heathen oppressor,11 he must tithe [the crops] and pay him [his percentage] — why particularly from an oppressor? Does not the same hold good even if he is not an oppressor? — But in truth, a heathen can acquire a title in Palestine to free [crops] from tithes, whilst a lessee is not as a renter, and 'a field of his fathers' is meant quite literally.12 But him [the son] the Rabbis penalised,13 because since it is more precious to him [than to others], he will go and lease it [on such disadvantageous terms]; whereas others would not [accept it on such terms].14 But why did the Rabbis penalise him? — R. Johanan said: In order that it might come absolutely into his possession.15 Said R. Jeremiah: For such an answer a master is needed. It has been stated: If one enters his neighbour's field and plants it without permission, Rab said: An assessment is made, and he is at a disadvantage.16 Samuel said: We estimate what one would pay to have such a field planted. Said R. Papa: There is no conflict. The latter [Samuel] refers to a field suitable for planting;17 the former [Rab] to a field unsuitable for planting.
Now, this ruling of Rab was not explicitly stated, but inferred from a general ruling. For a man came before Rab.18 'Go and assess it for him,' said he.19 He demurred, 'But I do not desire it.'20 Said he to him, 'Go and assess it for him, and he shall be at a disadvantage.' 'But I do not desire it,' he reiterated. Subsequently he saw that he had fenced and was guarding it, whereupon he said to him, 'You have revealed your mind that you desire it. Go and assess it for him, and he [the planter] shall be at an advantage.'
It has been stated: If one enters his neighbour's ruins and rebuilds them without permission, and then says to him, 'I want my timber and stones back' — R. Nahman said: His request is granted. R. Shesheth said: His request is not granted.
An objection is raised: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: Beth Shammai maintain, His request is granted; Beth Hillel hold, It is not granted. Shall we then say that R. Nahman ruled in accordance with Beth Shammai!21 — He agrees with the following Tanna. For it has been taught: His request is acceded to: this is the opinion of R. Simeon b. Eleazar. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: Beth Shammai maintain, His request is granted; Beth Hillel, It is not.22
What is our decision on the matter? — R. Jacob said in R. Johanan's name:
Baba Mezi'a 101b
In the case of a house, his demands are ignored; in the case of a field,1 they are granted. Why so in the case of a field? — For the sake of the cultivation of Palestine. Others say: Because of the impoverishment of the soil.2 Wherein do they differ?3 — In respect to the Diaspora.4
MISHNAH. IF ONE RENTS A HOUSE TO HIS NEIGHBOUR IN WINTER, HE CANNOT EVICT HIM FROM THE FESTIVAL5 UNTIL PASSOVER. IN SUMMER, [HE CANNOT EVICT HIM FOR] THIRTY DAYS. IN LARGE CITIES, WHETHER IN SUMMER OR IN WINTER, [THE PERIOD IS] TWELVE MONTHS. BUT WITH RESPECT TO SHOPS, WHETHER IN TOWNS OR IN LARGE CITIES, [HE NEED NOT QUIT FOR] TWELVE MONTHS.6 R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: A BAKER'S SHOP AND A DYER'S SHOP ARE FOR THREE YEARS.
GEMARA. Why is it different in winter? Because when one rents a house in winter it is for the whole of the winter!7 Then does not the same apply to summer, for when one rents a house it is for the whole summer? — But as for winter, this is the reason, because houses are not available for renting.8 Then consider the second clause: BUT IN LARGE CITIES, WHETHER IN SUMMER OR IN WINTER, [THE PERIOD IS] TWELVE MONTHS. Hence, if this period expires in winter, he can evict him — but why, seeing that no house is available for renting? — Said Rab Judah: This refers to the notice that must be given. And this is what it [the Mishnah] teaches: If one rents his house to his neighbour for an unspecified period, he cannot evict him in winter [if the year expires then] between the Festival and Passover, unless he gave him notice [in the summer] thirty days before. It has been taught likewise: When they [the Sages] said thirty days or twelve months, it was only in respect of notice. And just as the landlord must inform him [that he will not renew the lease], so must the tenant give notice [that he will not re-rent it]. For otherwise he can say to him, 'Had you notified me, I would have taken the trouble to find a good tenant for it.'9
R. Assi said: If it [the lease] entered one day into winter, he cannot evict him from the Festival until Passover.10 But we learnt: THIRTY DAYS! — He means thus: If one of these thirty days fell in winter, he cannot evict him from the Festival until Passover.11 R. Huna said: Yet if he wishes to increase the rent, he can do so.12 R. Nahman demurred: This is like holding him by the secrets to force him to give up his cloak!13 But this [that he can raise the rent] holds good only if house rents advanced [in general].
Now, it is obvious that if his own [sc. the landlord's] house fell in, [and no notice to quit had been given,] he can say to him, 'You are no better than I.'14 If he sold, rented, or gifted it [to another], he [the tenant] can say to him [the new owner], 'You are no better than the man whence you derive your rights.'15 If he appointed it a home for his son after marriage,16 we consider [the matter], if it were possible for him [the landlord] to have informed him [that it would be needed for his son], then he should have informed him.17 But if not, he can say to him, 'You are no better than I.'18
A man once bought a boat-load of wine. Having nowhere to store it, he asked a certain woman, 'Have you a place for renting?' She replied, 'No.' So he went and married her, whereupon she gave him a place for storage. He then went home, wrote a divorce, and sent it to her. So she went, hired carriers against that itself,19 and had it put out in the road. Said R. Huna, son of R. Joshua: As he did, so shall be done unto him, his requital shall recoil upon his head. Not only if it is not a courtyard that stands to be rented; but even if it is a courtyard that is for renting, she can say to him, 'To anybody else I am willing to rent it, but not to you, because you appear to me like a lion in ambush.'
R. SIMON B. GAMALIEL SAID: A BAKER'S SHOP AND A DYER'S SHOP ARE FOR THREE YEARS. It has been taught: Because they give very much credit.
MISHNAH. IF ONE RENTS A HOUSE TO HIS NEIGHBOUR, THE LANDLORD MUST PROVIDE THE DOOR, DOOR-BOLT, LOCK, AND EVERYTHING WHICH REQUIRES A SKILLED WORKER. BUT WHAT DOES NOT REQUIRE A SKILLED WORKER MUST BE DONE BY THE TENANT. THE DUNG BELONGS TO THE LANDLORD, AND THE TENANT IS ENTITLED ONLY TO THAT WHICH ISSUES FROM THE OVEN OR THE POT RANGE.20
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: If a man rents a house to his neighbour, the landlord must erect doors, make the windows, strengthen the ceiling, and support the joists.21 The tenant must provide the ladder [for ascending to the loft] parapet,22 fix a gutterspout,23 and plaster his roof.
R. Shesheth was asked: Who must provide the mezuzah?24 Is then the mezuzah a problem? Did not R. Mesharsheya Say: The obligation of the mezuzah lies upon the inhabitant? But [the question is,] who must provide the place for the mezuzah?25 — Said R. Shesheth to them: We have learnt it: BUT WHAT DOES NOT REQUIRE A SKILLED WORKER, MUST BE DONE BY THE TENANT; and this too requires no skill, [for] it can be [placed]
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