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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
that it should be redeemed at four zuz?1 So here too, it is in no way different.2 But he who holds it forbidden argues thus: 'a field of possession' is a matter of sanctification, which the Divine Law based upon [a fixed] redemption;3 here, however, it is a loan, and so it looks like interest.
R. Ashi said: The elders of the town Mehasia told me that an unconditional mortgage4 is for a year. What is the practical outcome [of this fact]? That, if he [the creditor] has enjoyed the usufruct for a year he can be forced to quit, but not otherwise.
R. Ashi also said: The elders of the town of Mehasia told me, What is the meaning of mashkanta [a pledge]? That it abides with him [the mortagee].5 In respect to what has this a practical bearing? — In respect to [the right of] pre-emption.6
Raba said: The law permits neither the credit interests of R. papa, nor the bonds of the Mahuzeans, nor the Narshean tenancies. The credit interests of R. Papa means the credit sales arranged by R. Papa.7 'The bonds of the Mahuzeans' they add the [estimated] profit to the principal and record it [the whole] in a bond;8 for who knows that there will be profit?9 Mar, the son of Amemar, said to R. Ashi: My father does so, but when they [his agents] come before him [and declare that they have earned no profit], he believes them. He replied: That is well whilst he is alive: but what if he dies and the notes are transferred to his heirs?10 (This [supposition] was 'an unwitting order which proceedeth from the ruler',11 and Amemar died.)
'Narshean tenancies': — for they wrote thus: A mortgaged his field to B, and then he [the debtor] rented it from him.12 But when did he [the creditor] acquire it, to transfer it to the debtor?13 Nowadays, however, that the note is drawn up thus: He [the creditor] hath acquired it from him, hath been in possession such and such a time,14 and then re-rented it to him, so as not to shut the door in the borrowers' faces;15 it is well. But, still this is no justification.16
MISHNAH. A MAN MAY NOT COMMISSION A TRADESMAN ON A HALF PROFIT BASIS,17 NOR ADVANCE MONEY FOR PROVISIONS [TO BE SOLD] ON HALF PROFITS, UNLESS HE PAYS HIM A WAGE AS A WORKER. FOWLS MAY NOT BE SET TO BROOD ON HALF PROFITS,18 NOR MAY CALVES OR FOALS BE ASSESSED THUS,19 UNLESS HE PAYS HIM FOR HIS LABOUR AND FOODSTUFFS. BUT CALVES AND FOALS MAY BE ACCEPTED [WITHOUT ASSESSING THEIR VALUE AT ALL] ON HALF PROFITS;20 AND THEY ARE BRED UNTIL A THIRD GROWN; WHILST AN ASS IS BRED UNTIL IT CAN BEAR BURDENS.21
GEMARA. It has been taught: [Unless he is paid] as an unemployed worker.22 What is meant by, 'as an unemployed worker'? —
Baba Mezi'a 68b
Abaye said: As a labourer unemployed in his craft.1 Now they [the first two clauses of the Mishnah] are [both] necessary. For if the case of a tradesman were taught, I would think that only a storekeeper is it sufficient to pay as an unemployed worker, seeing that his efforts are not great;2 but [when one is advanced] money for buying provisions, his toil being great,3 I would think it insufficient to pay him [merely] as an unemployed artisan. Whilst if [the case of advancing] money to buy provisions were taught, I would think that only there must he be paid as an unemployed worker, since much work is involved; but for a shopkeeper, who makes very little effort, I would think a mere trifle sufficient, e.g., even if he just dipped [his bread] into his vinegar, or ate a dried fig of his, it is enough. Therefore both are necessary.
(Mnemonic:4 How much are goats and fowls assessed?) Our Rabbis taught: How much must he be paid?5 Whether much or little [it matters not]: this is R. Meir's view. R. Judah said: Even if he merely dipped [his bread] into his vinegar, or joined him in a dried fig, that is his pay. R. Simeon b. Yohai said: He must remunerate him in full.
Our Rabbis taught: Neither goats, sheep, nor anything which does not toil for its food6 may be assessed on halfprofits.7 R. Jose, son of R. Judah, said: Goats may be assessed, because they yield milk; and sheep, because they yield wool by being shorn, by passing through water8 and by being plucked;9 and fowls, because they lay [eggs] for their food. But [what of] the first Tanna: are the shearings and milk insufficient to pay for his labour and food?10 — As for the shearings and milk, all agree [that they are adequate]. The conflict refers to whey and wool refuse:11 the first Tanna is of R. Simeon b. Yohai's opinion, who maintained that he must remunerate him in full;12 whilst R. Jose son of R. Judah agrees with his father, who ruled that even if he merely dipped [his bread] into his vinegar, or joined him in a dried fig, that is adequate payment.
Our Rabbis taught: A woman may hire a fowl to her neighbour in return for two fledglings.13 If a woman proposes to her neighbour, 'I have a fowl, and you have eggs: let us equally share the fledglings,'14 — R. Judah permits, whilst R. Simeon forbids it. But [what of] R. Judah: does he not require payment to be made for labour and food? — There are the addled eggs.15
Our Rabbis taught: Where it is the usage to make a payment for shouldering beasts,16 such payment may be made, and general custom must not be abrogated. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: A calf may be assessed with its mother, and a foal with its mother, and even where it is customary to make a monetary payment for shouldering.17 But R. Simeon b. Gamaliel! Does he not require payment for his labour and food?18 — There is the dung.19 But the other?20 — The ownership of dung is renounced.21
R. Nahman said: The halachah is as R. Judah; the halachah is as R. Jose son of R. Judah; and the halachah is as R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.
A bond was issued against the children of R. 'Ilish, stipulating half profits and half loss.22 Said Raba: R. 'Ilish was a great man, and he would not have fed [another person] with forbidden food.23 It must be taken to mean:24 either half profit and two thirds loss;
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