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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
but when it matures, he charges himself therewith and remembers it. But is the employee then likely to transgress [the law, Thou shalt not rob?1 — There [in the case of the employer] we have two presumptions [in his favour]; whilst here there is only one. Thus: In respect to the employer there are two presumptions. Firstly, that he will not transgress [the law]. [It] shall not abide all night, etc.; and secondly, that the employee will not permit delay of his payment. But in favour of the employee there is only the one presumption [stated above].
YET IF HE HAS WITNESSES THAT HE DEMANDED PAYMENT, HE CAN STILL SWEAR AND RECEIVE IT, But he [still] demands it now! Said R. Assi: It means that he demanded payment within the set time. But perhaps he paid him subsequently! — Abaye answered: He demanded it all the set time.2 And [does this hold good] for ever!3 — Said R. Hama b. 'Ukba: [He is thus privileged only] for the period following4 the day of his claim.5
MISHNAH. IF A MAN LENDS [MONEY] TO HIS FELLOW, HE MAY TAKE A PLEDGE OF HIM [WHEN THE DEBT MATURES] ONLY THROUGH THE COURT, AND HE MAY NOT ENTER HIS HOUSE TO TAKE THE PLEDGE, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, THOU SHALT STAND WITHOUT.6 IF HE POSSESSED TWO ARTICLES, HE MUST TAKE ONE AND LEAVE ONE, RETURNING THE PILLOW AT NIGHT AND THE PLOUGH BY DAY. BUT IF HE [THE DEBTOR] DIES, HE NEED NOT RETURN [THE PLEDGE] TO HIS HEIRS. R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: EVEN TO HIM HIMSELF [THE DEBTOR] HE MUST RETURN IT ONLY UP TO THIRTY DAYS; AFTER THAT, HE MAY SELL IT ON THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE COURT.
GEMARA. Samuel said: Even the court officer7 may only forcibly seize [it], but not [enter to] take a pledge.8 But did we not learn: IF A MAN LENDS MONEY TO HIS FELLOW, HE MAY TAKE A PLEDGE OF HIM ONLY THROUGH THE COURT, which proves that a pledge may be taken by the court? — Samuel can answer you: Say, He may forcibly seize [outside the house] only through the court. That interpretation too is logical. For the second clause States: AND HE MAY NOT ENTER HIS HOUSE TO TAKE THE PLEDGE. To whom does this refer? Shall we say, to the creditor?9 But that is known from the first clause! Hence it must surely refer to the court officer.10 As for that, it is not proof. For11 this is its meaning: IF A MAN LENDS MONEY TO HIS FELLOW, HE MAY TAKE A PLEDGE OF HIM ONLY THROUGH THE COURT, from which it follows that a pledge may be taken through the court. But the creditor himself may not even seize forcibly [outside], so that HE MIGHT NOT ENTER HIS HOUSE TO TAKE THE PLEDGE.12
R. Joseph raised an objection: No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge;13 hence, other things may be taken to pledge. Thou shalt not take a widow's raiment to pledge:14 implying, if it belongs to others, it may be taken in pledge.15 By whom? Shall we Say, the creditor? But it is written, Thou shalt not go into the house to fetch his pledge.16 Hence it must surely mean the court officer!17 — R. Papa, the son of R. Nahman, explained it before R. Joseph — others state, R. Papa, the son of R. Joseph, before R. Joseph: In truth, the creditor is meant, and it is to intimate that he violates two prohibitions.18
Come and hear: From the implication of the verse, Thou shalt stand without,19 do I not know that the man of whom you claim shall bring it out? Then what is taught by, And the man? The inclusion of the court officer. Surely that means that he is like the debtor!20
Baba Mezi'a 113b
— No. It means that the court officer is like the creditor.1
Come and hear: If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge:2 this refers to the court officer. You say it refers to the court officer, but perhaps it is not so, the reference being to the creditor? When Scripture writes, Thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge, it obviously speaks of the creditor.3 Hence, to whom can I refer, if thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge? Surely to none but the court officer?4 — It is a controversy of Tannaim. For it has been taught: When the court officer comes to take a pledge of him, he must not enter the house, but stand without, whilst he [the debtor] takes the pledge out to him; for it is written, Thou shalt stand without, and also the man.5 Whereas another [Baraitha] taught: When the creditor comes to take a pledge of him, he must not enter the house, but stand without, whilst he [the debtor] enters, and brings him out his pledge. But when the court officer comes to take a pledge of him, he may enter the house and take it.6 And he must not take in pledge articles used in the preparation of food. Further, a couch, a couch and a mattress must be left in the case of a wealthy man, and a couch, a couch and a matting for a poor man. Only for himself [the debtor] must these be left, but not for his wife, sons, and daughters. Just as an assessment is made in favour of a debtor,7 so also is it made in the case of 'valuations'.8 On the contrary! The main law of assessment is written in reference to 'valuations'. — But say: just as an assessment is made in the case of 'valuations', so also in favour of a debtor.
The Master said: 'Further, a couch, a couch and a mattress must be left to a wealthy man, and a couch, a couch and a matting for a poor man.' For whom [is the second couch]? Shall we say, For his wife, sons, and daughters? But you say, 'but not for his wife, sons and daughters'! Hence both are for himself. Then why two? — One at which he eats and the other on which he sleeps. Even as Samuel said, viz.: For all things I know the cure, except the following three: [i] eating bitter dates on an empty stomach; [ii] girding one's loins with a damp flaxen cord; and [iii] eating bread and not walking four cubits after it.9
A tanna recited before R. Nahman: Just as assessment is made in the case of 'valuations', so is it also made for debtors. Said he to him: If we even sell [his property], shall we make an assessment for him!10 But do we really sell [his property]? Did we not learn: AND HE MUST RETURN THE PILLOW AT NIGHT, AND THE PLOUGH BY DAY? — The tanna recited the view of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel before him, whereupon he observed: Seeing that according to R. Simeon b. Gamaliel we even sell [his property], shall we make an assessment for him! For we learnt: R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: EVEN TO HIM HIMSELF [THE DEBTOR] HE MUST RETURN IT ONLY UP TO THIRTY DAYS; AFTER THAT, HE MAY SELL IT ON THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE COURT. But how do you know that R. Simeon b. Gamaliel means an outright sale: perhaps he means this: until thirty days he must return it as it is; after that, only what is fitting for him [the debtor] is returned, whilst what is not fitting for him is sold!11 — Should you think that R. Simeon b. Gamaliel accepts this view, there is nothing that is unfitting for him. For Abaye said: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, R. Simeon,12 R. Ishmael and R. Akiba, all maintain that all Israelites are princes. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel — for we learnt: Neither lof13 nor the mustard plant [may be moved on the Sabbath].14 R. Simeon b. Gamaliel gave permission in the case of lof, because it is food for ravens.15 R. Simeon: For we learnt: Princes may anoint their wounds with rose oil on the Sabbath, since it is their practice to anoint themselves on week-days.16 R. Simeon said: All Israel are princes.17 R. Ishmael and R. Akiba: For we learnt: If one was a debtor for a thousand zuz, and wore a robe a hundred manehs in value, he is stripped thereof and robed with a garment that is fitting for him. But therein a Tanna taught on the authority of R. Ishmael and R. Akiba: All Israel are worthy of that robe.18
Now, on the original assumption that he [the debtor] was allowed what was fitting for him, whilst that which was unfitting for him was sold, [it may be asked:] as for a pillow and bolster, articles of inferior quality may suffice for him;19 but in respect of a plough, what is there available?20 — Raba b. Rabbah replied: [The Mishnah refers to] a silver strigil.21 To this R. Haga demurred: But let him [the creditor] say to him: you are not thrown upon me!22 — Abaye answered him:
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