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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
the latter, because the wages [i.e., the labour for which wages are due] are not with him. How so? If he [the agent] assured them, 'I am responsible for your wages,' then he is responsible.1 For it has been taught: If one engages a workman to labour on his [work], but directs him to that of his neighbour, he must pay him in full, and receive in turn from the owner [of the work actually done] the value whereby he benefited him! — It holds good only if he said to them, 'The employer is responsible for your wages.2
Judah b. Meremar used to instruct his attendant, 'Go and engage labourers for me, and say to them, Your employer is responsible for your wages.' Meremar and Mar Zutra used to engage [labourers] on each other's behalf.
Rabbah son of R. Huna said: The market traders of Sura do not transgress [the injunction], The wages of him that is hired shall not abide all night [etc,], because It is well known that they rely upon the market day.3
IF ENGAGED BY THE HOUR, HE CAN COLLECT IT ALL DAY AND NIGHT. Rab said: A man engaged by the hour for day work can collect [his wages] all day;4 for night work, can collect [it] all night. Samuel maintained: A man engaged by the hour for day work can collect it all day; for night work, all night and the following day.
We learnt: IF ENGAGED BY THE HOUR, HE CAN COLLECT IT ALL DAY AND NIGHT, this refutes Rab!5 — Rab can answer you: It is meant disjunctively. [Thus:] If engaged by the hour for day work, he can collect his wages all day; for night work, he can collect it all night.
We learnt: IF ENGAGED BY THE WEEK, MONTH, YEAR OR SEPTENNATE, IF THE TIME EXPIRES BY DAY, HE CAN COLLECT HIS WAGE THE WHOLE OF THAT DAY; IF BY NIGHT, HE CAN COLLECT [IT] ALL NIGHT AND THE FOLLOWING DAY!6 — Rab can answer you: It is a dispute of Tannaim. For it has been taught: A man engaged by the hour for day work collects his wage all day; for night work, all night: this is R. Judah's opinion. R. Simeon said: A man engaged by the hour for day work collects all day; for night work, all night and the [following] day. Hence it was said: Whoever witholds7 the wages of a hired labourer transgresses these five prohibitions of five denominations and one affirmative precept as follows:8 Thou shalt not oppress thy neighbour;9 neither rob him;10 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor;11 The wages of him that is hired shall not abide all night with thee;12 At his day shalt thou give him his hire;13 and, neither shall the sun go down upon it.14 But Surely those that apply at day15 do not apply at night, and those that apply at night do not apply at day! — Said R. Hisda: It refers to hiring in general.16
What is meant by 'oppression' and 'robbery'? — R. Hisda said: 'Go, and come again,17 go and come again' — that is 'oppression';18 'You have indeed a charge upon me, but I will not pay it' — that is 'robbery'. To this R. Shesheth demurred:19 For what form of 'oppression' did Scripture impose a sacrifice?20 For that which is analogous to a bailment,21 where one [falsely] repudiates a debt of money [or its equivalent]! — But, said R. Shesheth, 'I have paid you' — that is 'oppression'; 'You have indeed a charge upon me but I will not pay you' — that is 'robbery'. To this Abaye demurred:22 What is 'robbery' for which Scripture imposed a sacrifice? — That which is analogous to a bailment, where one falsely repudiates a [debt of] money [or its equivalent]!23 — But, said Abaye, 'I never engaged you' — that is 'oppression'; 'I paid you' — that is 'robbery'. Now, as for R. Shesheth, how does 'oppression' differ from 'robbery', that he objected to the former, but not the latter?24 — He can answer you: 'Robbery' implies that he first robs him and then repudiates [liability].25 If so, may not 'oppression' too refer to subsequent repudiation?26 — What comparison is there? As for the other [sc. 'robbery'], it is well, for it is written [And lie unto his neighbour] … Or in a thing taken away by violence,27 which implies that he originally made admission to him. But with respect to 'oppression', is it then written, Or in a thing of oppression?28 — or hath oppressed his neighbour is stated, implying that he had already oppressed him.29 Raba said: 'Oppression' and 'robbery' are identical. Why then did Scripture divide them? — [To teach] that two negative precepts are infringed.
MISHNAH. WHETHER IT BE THE HIRE OF MAN, BEAST, OR UTENSILS, IT IS SUBJECT TO [THE LAW], AT HIS DAY THOU SHALT GIVE HIM HIS HIRE,30 AND, THE WAGES OF HIM THAT IS HIRED SHALL NOT ABIDE WITH THEE UNTIL THE MORNING.31 WHEN IS THAT? ONLY IF HE DEMANDED [IT] OF HIM; BUT OTHERWISE, THERE IS NO INFRINGEMENT. IF HE GAVE HIM AN ORDER TO A SHOPKEEPER OR A MONEY-CHANGER,32 HE IS NOT GUILTY OF INFRINGEMENT. A HIRED LABOURER, WITHIN THE SET TIME,33 SWEARS AND IS PAID.34 BUT IF HIS SET TIME PASSED,35 HE CANNOT SWEAR AND RECEIVE PAYMENT; YET IF HE HAS WITNESSES THAT HE DEMANDED PAYMENT (WITHIN THE SET TIME),36 HE CAN [STILL] SWEAR AND RECEIVE IT. ONE IS SUBJECT TO [THE LAW], AT HIS DAY THOU SHALT GIVE HIM HIS HIRE, IN RESPECT OF A RESIDENT ALIEN,37 BUT NOT TO THAT OF, THE WAGES OF HIM THAT IS HIRED SHALL NOT ABIDE WITH THEE UNTIL THE MORNING.
GEMARA. Who is the authority for our Mishnah? [For] it is neither the first Tanna who interpreted 'of thy brethren', or R. Jose son of R. Judah. To what is the reference? — It has been taught:
Baba Mezi'a 111b
[Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be] of thy brethren — this excludes idolaters;1 or of thy strangers — this means a righteous proselyte;2 that are in thy gates — i.e., an alien who eats unclean food.3 From this I know [the law only in respect off man's hire; whence do I know to extend it to animals and utensils? From, that are in thy land,4 implying, all that are in thy land. And in respect of all5 these injunctions,6 all are transgressed. Hence it was said: The hire of man, animal, and utensils are identical in that they are subject to [the laws], At his day shalt thou give him his hire, and, the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. R. Jose son of R. Judah said: In respect to a resident alien one is subject to [the law], At his day thou shalt give him his hire; but not to that of, Thou shalt not keep all night [the wages of him that is hired, etc.]. In respect of [the hire of] animals and utensils, only the injunction, Thou shalt not oppress [etc.],7 is applicable. Now, who is [the authority for our Mishnah]? If the first Tanna, who interpreted 'of thy brethren,' the resident alien presents a difficulty.8 If R. Jose. [the hire of] animals and utensils presents a difficulty!9 — Said Raba: This Tanna [of our Mishnah] is a Tanna of the School of R. Ishmael, who taught: Whether it be the hire of man, beast, or utensil, it is subject [to the laws], At his day thou shalt give him his hire, and, The wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee. In respect of a resident alien one is subject to [the law]. At his day thou shalt give him his hire, but not to, Thou shalt not keep. [etc.].
What is the reason of the first Tanna who interprets [the verse] 'of thy brethren'? — He deduces [identity of law] from the word 'hire' written twice.10 R. Jose son of R. Judah, however, does not accept this deduction. But granted that he does not, yet one should be liable to [the law]. At his day thou shalt give him his hire, in respect of animals and utensils too!11 — R. Hanania learnt: Scripture saith, Neither shall the sun go down upon it, for he is poor;12 [hence it applies only to] those who are subject to poverty or wealth, and so excludes animals and utensils, which are not subject to poverty and wealth. And the first Tanna, how does he interpret this [verse], 'for he is poor'? — It is necessary to shew that the poor receive precedence over the wealthy.13 And R. Jose son of R. Judah?14 — That follows from, Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy. And the first Tanna?15 — One teaches the priority of the poor man over the rich; the other, the priority of the poor, over the needy.16 And both are necessary. For if we were [merely] informed [of the poor man's priority over] the needy, [I would think that it is] because he [the needy] is not ashamed to demand it [his wage] from him. But as for the wealthy, who is ashamed to demand it from him, I might say that it is not so [viz., that the poor takes no precedence over him]. Whilst if we learnt this in respect to the wealthy, I would think that it is because he is not in need thereof; but as for the needy, who needs it [more], I might argue that it is not so.17 Hence both are necessary.
Now as to our Tanna, in either case, [it is difficult]: if he accepts the deduction of 'hired' written twice, then even a resident alien should also be included;18 if he rejects it, whence does he know [the inclusion of] animals and utensils? — In truth, he does not accept this deduction. Yet there19 it is different, because Scripture writes, The wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning: implying, whosoever's hire is with thee.20 If so, then even a resident alien too [is meant]! — The Writ saith, [Thou shalt not oppress] thy neighbour: 'thy neighbour' [is specified], but not a resident alien. If so, then even animals and utensils too should be excluded! — But Surely 'with thee' is written!21 What reason have you to include animals and utensils and exclude a resident alien?22 — It is logical that animals and utensils are to be included, since they come within the category of the property of 'thy neighbour', whereas [the hire of] a resident alien is not within this category.
Now the first Tanna, who interpreted 'of thy brethren,' what is his exegesis on 'thy neighbour'?23 — He needs this, even as it has been taught: [Thou shalt not oppress] thy neighbour, but not an Amalekite.24 An Amalekite? But that follows from 'of thy brethren! — One gives permission in regard to his 'oppression';25 the other, in regard to [the retention] of his 'robbery'26 And both are necessary. For if we were informed that [the retention] of his 'robbery' is permitted, that may be because he [the Amalekite] has not worked for him. But as for oppressing him [by withholding his wages] — I would think that that is not [permitted]. Whilst if we were taught thus about oppressing him, that may be because it [his wage] has not yet reached his [the Amalekite's] hand.27 But as to his 'robbery' — I would think [the retention thereof] is not [allowed]. Hence both are necessary.
And R. Jose son of R. Judah, how does he interpret this verse, The wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning?28 — He needs it to teach the law stated by R. Assi, viz., even if he [the employer] engaged him only to vintage a single cluster of grapes, he is subject to, [It] shall not abide, … all night, etc.29 And the other?30 — That follows from the verse, And setteth his soul [i.e., life] upon it, implying, anything for which he risks his life.31
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