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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
is nevertheless, by Rabbinical law, eligible to [vicarious] possession;1 so here too, there is no difference.2 But the analogy is false; an Israelite [minor] comes [eventually] within the principle of agency, but a heathen never does.3
Our Rabbis taught: If an Israelite borrowed money on interest from a heathen and then recorded them [Viz., the principal and the interest] against him as a loan,4 and he [the creditor] became a proselyte: if this settlement preceded his conversion, he may exact both the principal and the interest; if it followed his conversion, he may collect the principal, but not the interest.5 Similarly, if a heathen borrowed money on interest from an Israelite, and then recorded them [the principal and the interest] against him as a loan, and became a proselyte: if the settlement preceded his conversion, he [the Israelite] may exact both the principal and the interest; if it followed his conversion, he may exact the principal but not the interest. R. Jose ruled: If a heathen borrowed money from an Israelite on interest, then in both cases [whether conversion preceded the settlement or the reverse] he may collect both the principal and the interest. Raba said in the name of R. Hisda in the name of R. Huna: The halachah is as R. Jose. Raba said: What is the reason of R. Jose? That it should not be said that he turned a proselyte for the sake of money.6
Our Rabbis taught: If a bond contains interest written therein, he [the note-holder] is penalised and can collect neither the principal nor the interest; this is R. Meir's view. The Sages maintain: He may exact the principal, but not the interest. Wherein do they differ? — R. Meir is of the opinion that we inflict the forfeiture of what is permissible on account of what is forbidden; whilst the Sages hold that we do not inflict the forfeiture of the permissible on account of the forbidden.
We learnt elsewhere: Ante-dated bonds are invalid; post-dated bonds are valid.7 But why invalid? Though a seizure cannot be made by means of them as from the earlier [incorrect] date, why not seize [estate for repayment] as from the later [correct] date?8 — R. Simeon b. Lakish said: This was taught as a matter of dispute, and agrees with R. Meir.9 R. Johanan said: It may agree even with the Rabbis; but it is a precautionary measure, lest he exact [his debt from sold property] as from the earlier date.10
A man once pledged an orchard to his neighbour for ten years.11 After he [the creditor] had taken its usufruct for three years, he proposed to him [the debtor], 'If you sell it to me, it is well; if not, I will hide the mortgage deed and claim that I have bought it.'12 Thereupon he [the debtor] went, arose, transferred it to his young son [a minor], and then sold it to him. Now, the sale is certainly no sale;13 but is the [purchase-]money accounted as a written debt, and collectable from [sold] mortgaged property, or perhaps it is [only] as a verbal debt, which cannot be collected from mortgaged property?14 Said Abaye: Is this not covered by R. Assi's dictum? Viz.,
Baba Mezi'a 72b
If he [the debtor] admits the genuineness of a bond, he [the creditor] need not confirm it'1 and can collect [his debt] from mortgaged property [sold after the debt was contracted]!2 Thereupon Raba said to him: How compare? There it is permissible to write it, but here it is not permissible to write it at all!3 Now, Meremar sat and recited this discussion, whereupon Rabina said to Meremar: If so, when R. Johanan said;4 It is a precautionary measure, lest he exact his debt as from the earlier date, — let us say that it was not permissible to write it at all! — Said he: Is there the least analogy? There, granted that it was not permissible to write it from the earlier date, it was permissible to write it from the later date; but here it was not permissible to write it at all. But surely with respect to that which has been taught: As to claims for land improvement,5 e.g., if one took away unlawfully a field from his neighbour and sold it to another, who effected improvements therein, and then it was seized from him [by the first owner], when he [the buyer] exacts [his due from the robber], he may collect the principal [even] from mortgaged property [that has since been sold], but the improvements only from the free [i.e., unsold] property6 — let us say that it [the deed of sale] was not permissible to be written at all!7 — How now? There, whether on the view that he [the vendor] is anxious not to be called a robber, or on the view that he is desirous of retaining his [the purchaser's] trust,8 he seeks to pacify the first owner, so as to validate the deed.9 Here, however, it was his purpose to save it from his clutches, shall he then validate the deed?10
MISHNAH. A MAN MUST NOT FIX A PRICE FOR PRODUCE UNTIL THE MARKET PRICE IS KNOWN; ONCE THE MARKET IS ESTABLISHED, A FIXED PRICE MAY BE AGREED UPON, FOR EVEN IF ONE HAS NO STOCK, ANOTHER HAS. IF HE WAS OF THE FIRST HARVESTERS, HE [THE BUYER] MAY ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR [THE CROPS IN] THE STACK,11 THE BASKET OF GRAPES,12 THE VAT OF OLIVES,13 POTTERS' LUMPS OF CLAY,14 AND FOR LIME WHEN IT HAS ALREADY BEEN PLACED IN THE KILN.15 ONE MAY ALSO MAKE A FIXED CONTRACT FOR MANURE FOR THE WHOLE YEAR. R. JOSE MAINTAINED: NO CONTRACT FOR MANURE MAY BE ENTERED INTO UNLESS HE [THE VENDOR] HAS THE MANURE IN DUNG PITS; BUT THE SAGES PERMIT IT. AND ONE MAY ALSO BARGAIN FOR THE LOWEST PRICE.16 R. JUDAH SAID: EVEN IF HE DID NOT STIPULATE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE, HE MAY DEMAND, 'SUPPLY ME AT THIS PRICE, OR RETURN MY MONEY.'17
GEMARA. R. Assi said in R. Johanan's name: One may not fix a contract at market prices.18 R. Zera questioned R. Assi: Did R. Johanan rule thus even of a great fair?19 He replied: R. Johanan referred only to town markets, where values fluctuate.20 Now, on the original hypothesis that R. Johanan referred even to a great fair, how is our Mishnah conceivable, which teaches, A MAN MUST NOT FIX A PRICE FOR PRODUCE UNTIL THE MARKET PRICE IS KNOWN; ONCE THE MARKET PRICE IS ESTABLISHED, A FIXED PRICE MAY BE AGREED UPON? — Our Mishnah relates to wheat in granaries and ships, whose fixed price extends over a long period.21
Our Rabbis taught: One may not contract for commodities until the market price is out; once the market price is established, a contract may be entered into, for even if one [the vendor] has no stock, another has. If the new supplies were at four [se'ahs per sela'] and the old at three, a contract may not be made until the price has been equalised for the new and old.22 If the gleaned grains23 were [priced] at four [se'ahs and upward per sela'], whilst ordinary stock24 at three, a contract must not be entered into [at a fixed maximum price] until the same market price has been established for the gleaner25 and the merchant.
R. Nahman said: One may contract for gleanings at the price of gleanings.26 Said Raba to R. Nahman: Why does the gleaner differ?27 Because if he lacks stock, he will borrow from his fellow gleaner? Then even a merchant28 can borrow from a gleaner!29 — He replied: A merchant deems it undignified to borrow from a gleaner. Alternatively, he who pays money to a merchant expects to receive best quality produce.30
R. Shesheth said in R. Huna's name: One may not borrow upon the market price.31 Thereupon R. Joseph b. Hama said to R. Shesheth — others say, R. Jose b. Abba said to R. Shesheth: Did R. Huna actually rule thus? But a problem was propounded of R. Huna: The students who borrow in Tishri and repay in Tebeth — is it permitted or forbidden?32 He replied: Wheat may be procured in Hini and Shili:33 if they wish, they can buy [in Tishri] and repay!34 — At first R. Huna held that one must not borrow, but on hearing that R. Samuel b. Hiyya said in R. Eleazar's name that one may, he too ruled likewise.
Our Rabbis taught: If a man was transporting a load from place to place,35 when his neighbour met him and proposed: 'Let me have it, and I will pay you for it the price you would obtain there,'
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