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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
here it does not rest with him.1
Raba said: If three men gave money to one person to purchase something for them, and he purchased on behalf of one only, he has purchased [it] for all three.2 This is so only if he [the agent] did not make up a separate sealed package of each man's money; but if he did, then for whom he has bought, he has bought, and for whom he has not bought, he has not bought.
R. papi said in Raba's name: The mark [on the wine-barrels]3 gives possession. In respect of what [does it effect a title]? — R. Habiba said: In respect of actual possession.4 The Rabbis said: For the acceptance of the curse.5 And the law is that [it gives possession only] in respect of submission to the curse. But where it is the usage that this gives actual possession, it does so [with full legal recognition].6
IF HE WAS OF THE FIRST HARVESTERS. Rab said: If [only] two [processes] are wanting [before the crops are ready for delivery] a contract may be made; if three, no contract may be made. Samuel said: [If they are to be done] by man, even if a hundred [are lacking] an agreement may be effected; if by Heaven,7 even when one [is lacking] no contract may be made. We learnt: HE MAY ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR [THE CROPS IN] THE STACK. But it still wants spreading out in the sun to dry, threshing, and winnowing?8 — It means that it had already been spread out [and dried] in the sun. But on Samuel's view, that if dependent on Heaven, even when one [process is lacking] no contract may be made, does it not need winnowing, which is in the power of Heaven?9 — It can be done with a fan.
AND FOR THE BASKET OF GRAPES. But they yet need heating,10 placing in the press, treading, and being drawn [into the pit]!11 As R. Hiyya learnt: [A contract may be made] in respect of the heated mass of olives; so here too, it is for the heated mass of grapes. But three processes are still wanting! — [It refers] to a place where the buyer draws [the wine into the pit].12
AND FOR THE VAT OF OLIVES. But it must yet be heated, placed between the boards [of the olive press], pressed, and conducted [into the oil pit]! — As R. Hiyya taught: [The contract may be made] in respect of the heated mass of olives. [So here too.] But three processes are still wanting! — [It refers] to a place where the buyer draws [the oil into the pit].
AND FOR POTTERS' LUMPS OF CLAY. But why? Surely it requires moulding, drying, placing in the oven, burning, and taking out! — [It means,] when they have been moulded and dried. But there are still three [processes wanting]! — [It refers] to a place where the buyer removes [the earthenware from the oven.]
AND FOR LIME, WHEN IT HAS ALREADY BEEN PLACED IN THE KILN. But it requires to be burnt, removed [from the kiln], and crushed!13 — [It refers] to a place where the purchaser crushes it. But on the view of Samuel, who maintained that if they are to be done by man, even when a hundred [processes are wanting] a contract may be made, why must it have 'BEEN PLACED IN THE KILN? — Say thus: when it is ready for placing in the kiln.14
AND FOR POTTERS' LUMPS OF CLAY. Our Rabbis taught: Contracts may not be entered into for potters' lumps of clay until they are kneaded [into lumps]: this is R. Meir's view. R. Jose said: This refers only to white earth;15 but for black earth, such as that of Kfar Hanania and its environs, Kfar Sihin16 and its environs, an agreement may be concluded, for even if one [merchant] has none, another has.
Amemar paid money [for earthenware] when he [the manufacturer] had stocked himself with the earth. In accordance with whom [did he do this]? If in accordance with R. Meir? Surely R. Meir ruled [that no contract may be made] until they are kneaded [into clay]!17 If with R. Jose, surely he said, Even if one has none, another has?18 — In truth, it was In accordance with R. Jose, but in Amemar's locality earth [for this purpose] was rare; hence, if he is stocked therewith, each places full reliance;19 if not, they place no reliance.20
ONE MAY ALSO MAKE A FIXED CONTRACT FOR MANURE FOR THE WHOLE YEAR. But are not the Sages identical with the first Tanna?21 — Raba said:
Baba Mezi'a 74b
They differ with respect to winter.1
AND ONE MAY ALSO BARGAIN FOR THE LOWEST PRICE. A man once paid money [in advance] for his father-in-law's dowry,2 [i.e., the trousseau comprised therein.] Subsequently the dowry fell in price.3 So they came before R. Papa. Said he to him [the purchaser]: If you have contracted for the lowest price, you can take at present prices; if not, you must accept at the original price. But the Rabbis protested to R. Papa: Yet if he did not stipulate [thus], must he accept at previous prices? Surely it is only money [that has passed between them], and money gives no title! — He replied: I too spoke only with reference to submission to the curse. If he stipulated for the lowest price, and the vendor wishes to retract, the vendor must submit to the curse; if no stipulation has been made, and the purchaser wishes to retract, the purchaser must submit to the curse. Rabina said to R. Papa: Whence do you know that it [our Mishnah under discussion] accords even with the Rabbis who disagree with R. Simeon and maintain that money does not effect possession;4 and yet even so, [only] if he stipulated for the lowest price does he receive at the present value, but if not, he must accept it at the previous price?5 Perhaps it accords [only] with R. Simeon, who maintained that money effects possession,6 so that, if he stipulated for the lowest price, he receives it at current values, but if not, he must accept it at previous prices, because his money has effected possession for him; whereas in the opinion of the Rabbis, whether he stipulated or not, he can take it at present prices, for a man's intention is for the lowest price?7 — He replied: You must assume that R. Simeon ruled [that the purchaser is morally in possession after paying money] only if the price remained uniform; but did he rule thus when there were two prices?8 For should you not admit this, does R. Simeon maintain that the provision of the curse never applies to the purchaser?9 And should you rejoin, That indeed is so — surely it has been taught: At all events, such is [merely] the halachah; but the Sages said, He who punished etc.10 What is meant by 'at all events'? Surely that it matters not whether the vendor or the purchaser [retracts], he must submit to the curse? Hence R. Simeon gave his ruling [that the vendee cannot legally cancel the sale] only if the price remained uniform, but if not there were two prices.
R. Aha, the son of Raba, said to Raba: But does it not follow [that there is no curse in the case under discussion], since in the first place he [the father-in-law] had only appointed him [the son-in-law] as his agent?11 — He replied: This refers to a merchant who buys and sells.12
MISHNAH. A MAN MAY LEND HIS TENANTS13 GRAIN FOR [AN EQUAL QUANTITY OF] GRAIN [TO BE RETURNED] FOR SOWING PURPOSES, BUT NOT FOR FOOD. FOR RABBAN GAMALIEL USED TO LEND HIS FARMER-TENANTS GRAIN FOR GRAIN FOR SOWING; AND IF IT WAS DEAR AND BECAME CHEAP, OR CHEAP AND BECAME DEAR, HE WOULD ACCEPT [A RETURN] ONLY AT THE LOWER PRICE;14 NOT BECAUSE THE HALACHAH IS SO, BUT BECAUSE RABBAN GAMALIEL DESIRED TO SUBMIT HIMSELF TO GREATER STRINGENCY.15
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: A MAN MAY LEND HIS TENANTS GRAIN FOR GRAIN FOR SOWING. That is only if he [the tenant] has not entered therein;16 but if he has entered therein, it is forbidden. Why does our Tanna draw no distinction whether he has entered therein or not, whereas the Tanna of the Baraitha does?Raba replied: R. Idi explained the matter to me: In the locality of our Tanna the aris provided the seed, and whether he has yet entered therein or not, as long as he has not provided the seed he [the landlord] can make him quit;17 hence, when he enters therein [and the owner provided the seed] it is [straightway] for a lower return.18 But in the locality of the Tanna of the Baraitha the landowner provided the seed;19 hence, if he [the aris] has not yet entered therein, so that he [the landlord] can make him quit, when he does enter, it is for a lower return; but if he has already20 entered, so that he cannot force him to quit, it is forbidden.21
Our Rabbis taught: A man may propose to his neighbour,
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