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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
What if they were separated by a different cereal?1 Further, is wheat as different seed in relation to barley, or not?2 What if others were smitten by blasting, and his by mildew, or others were smitten by mildew and his by blasting? The problems remain unsolved.
What if he [the lessor] said to him [the lessee], 'Sow it with wheat,' and he went and sowed it with barley, and then the greater part of the plain was blasted, and his barley too was blasted: do we say that he can argue, 'Had I sown wheat, it also would have been blasted'; or perhaps he can answer him, 'Had you sown it with wheat, [the Scriptural promise,] Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established for thee,3 would have been fulfilled unto me?'4 — It is reasonable that he can in fact answer him, 'Had you sown it with wheat, [the promise,] 'Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established for thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways' would have been fulfilled unto me.
What if all the lessor's fields were blasted, and this one was blasted, yet the greater part of the plain was unaffected? Do we say, Since the greater part of the plain was unaffected, he can make him no deduction? Or perhaps, since all his lands were blasted, he can say to him, 'This transpired on account of your evil fate,5 the proof being that all your fields have been blasted'? — It is reasonable that he can answer him, 'Had it been on account of my bad luck, a little would have remained [unaffected], as it is written, For we are left but few of many.'6
What if all the lessee's fields were blasted, and the greater part of the plain too, and this field also was blasted along with them? Do we say, Since the greater part of the plain was affected, he can deduct his? Or perhaps, since all his fields were blasted, he [the lessor] can say to him, 'It is due to your misfortune, the proof being that all your fields have been smitten'? — It is logical that he can indeed say to him, 'It is due to your misfortune.' Why so? Here too let him answer, 'Had it been on account of my ill-luck, a little would have remained to me, in fulfilment of the verse, For we are left few of many'? — Because he can retort, 'Were you worthy that aught should remain to you, something of your own would have escaped.'7
An objection is raised: If it was a year of blasting or mildew, or the seventh year, or years like those of Elijah,8 they are not included in the count.9 Now blasting and mildew are stated as analogous to years like those of Elijah: just as during the years of Elijah there was no produce at all, so in the former too. But if there were some harvests [elsewhere], it is accounted to him,10 and we do not term it an epidemic!11 — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: There it is different, because Scripture says, According to the number of years of the harvests, he shall sell into thee,12 [meaning], years in which the world enjoys harvests.13 R. Ashi objected before R. Kahana: If so, the seventh should be included in the count, since there are harvests outside Palestine! — The seventh year, replied he, is excluded by royal decree.14 Mar Zutra, the son of R. Mari, said to Rabina: If so, the seventh year should not rank for rebate; why then did we learn, He must pay a sela' and a pundion per annum?15 — He replied, There it is different, because it [the seventh year] is fit for fruits to be spread out therein.16
Samuel said: This [sc. that a deduction may be made when there is a widespread epidemic] was taught only if he [the lessee] sowed it [the field], it [the crop] grew and was eaten by grasshoppers;17 but not if he failed to sow it altogether, because he can say to him, 'Had you sown it, the promise, They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,' and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied,18 would have been fulfilled for me.'19 R. Shesheth raised an objection: If a shepherd, who was guarding his flock, left it and entered the town; and then a wolf came and killed [a sheep], or a lion [came], and tore it to pieces, we do not say, 'Had he been there, he could have saved them,' but judge his strength: if he could have saved them, he is responsible; if not, he is exempt.20 But why so? Let him say to him, 'Had you been there, the verse, Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear,21 would have been fulfilled for me!' — Because he can answer, 'Had you been worthy that a miracle should happen on your behalf, it would have happened, as in the case of R. Hanina b. Dosa, whose goats brought in bears by their horns.'22 But cannot he reply, 'Granted that I am not worthy of a great miracle,23 yet am I worthy of a minor one!'24
Baba Mezi'a 106b
— This indeed is a difficulty.
One [Baraitha] teaches: He [the tenant] must sow it [the field] the first and second time, but not the third.1 But another [Baraitha] teaches: He must resow it a third time, but not a fourth! — There is no difficulty: the former is according to Rabbi; the latter, R. Simeon b. Gamaliel. The former is according to Rabbi, who maintained that a presumption is established by an occurrence happening twice. The latter, R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, who held that a presumption is established only when it occurs three times.2
Resh Lakish said: This was taught only if he sowed it, it grew, and was devoured by locusts. But if he sowed it, and it did not grow at all, the lessor can say to him, 'Go on repeatedly sowing [the field] during the extra period of sowing.' And until when is that? — Said R. Papa: Until the aris3 comes from the field and kimah is situated overhead.4
An objection is raised: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said on the authority of R. Meir, and R. Simeon b. Menasya said likewise: [The second] half of Tishri, Marcheshvan, and the first half of Kislev is seed-time; [the second] half of Kislev, Tebeth, and half Shebat are the winter months; [the second] half of Shebat, Adar, and [the first] half of Nisan, cold months; [the second] half of Nisan, Iyar, and [the first] half of Sivan is the period of harvests; [the second] half of Sivan, Tammuz, and the first half of Ab are summer; the second half of Ab, Ellul and the first half of Tishri, hot months. R. Judah counted [these periods] from [the beginning of] Tishri; R. Simeon, from Marcheshvan.5 Now, who gives the most lenient interpretation?6 R. Simeon [who counts from Marcheshvan]; and yet he does not extend the [sowing] season so far! — There is no difficulty. The latter refers to a field leased for early sowing;7 the former, to one leased for late sowing.8
R. JUDAH SAID: IF HE LEASES IT ON A MONEY RENTAL. A certain man leased a field by the bank of the River Malka Saba9 on a money rental, for sowing garlic. But the River Malka Saba became dammed up.10 When he came before Raba, he said to him, 'It is unusual for the River Malka Saba to become dammed; this is a widespread blow; [therefore] go and deduct.' But the Rabbis protested to Raba, did we not learn, R. JUDAH SAID: IF HE LEASED IT ON A MONEY RENTAL, THEN IN BOTH CASES HE MAY MAKE NO DEDUCTION? — He replied: None pay heed to this ruling of R. Judah.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN LEASED A FIELD AT AN ANNUAL RENTAL OF TEN KORS WHEAT, AND IT [THE FIELD] WAS SMITTEN,11 HE CAN PAY HIM THEREOF.12 IF, [ON THE OTHER HAND,] THE WHEAT GROWN WAS OF CHOICE QUALITY, HE [THE TENANT] CANNOT SAY, 'I WILL PURCHASE WHEAT IN THE MARKET [FOR YOUR RENTAL],' BUT MUST PAY HIM THEREOF.13
GEMARA. A man leased a field to grow fodder for [several] kors of barley. [The field] having produced a crop of fodder,14 he ploughed and resowed it with barley, which was, however, blighted. So R. Habiba, of Sura on the Euphrates,15 sent to Rabina: How is it in such a case? Is it analogous to the law, IF IT WAS SMITTEN, HE CAN PAY HIM THEREOF, or not? — He replied: How compare? In that case the soil had not performed the owner's behest; but here it had.16
A certain man leased a vineyard from his fellow for ten barrels of wine: but that wine17 turned sour. Now, R. Nahman thought to rule, This is the same as our Mishnah: IF IT WAS SMITTEN, HE CAN PAY HIM THEREOF. But R. Ashi said to him: What analogy is there? There the soil had not performed its duty, whilst here it had.18 Yet R. Ashi admits in the case of grapes that had become wormy, or a field whose sheaves were smitten.19
MISHNAH. IF ONE LEASES A FIELD FROM HIS NEIGHBOUR TO SOW BARLEY, HE MUST NOT SOW WHEAT;20 [TO SOW] WHEAT, HE MAY SOW BARLEY. BUT R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL FORBIDS IT. [IF RENTED FOR] CEREALS, HE MAY NOT SOW PULSE; BUT IF [FOR] PULSE HE MAY SOW CEREALS.21 R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL FORBIDS IT.
GEMARA. R. Hisda said: What is R. Simeon b. Gamaliel's reason? — Because it is written, The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth.22
An objection is raised: The Purim collections must be utilized for Purim only, and no scrutiny is made in the matter. The poor may not even buy shoestraps therewith, unless this was stipulated in the presence of members of the community: this is the ruling of R. Jacob, who stated it in the name of R. Meir; but R. Simeon b. Gamaliel
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