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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
When the Beth din appoint an agent, do they do so in the presence of the original agent or not in his presence? He himself decided the matter [saying]: They can do so either in his presence or not. [A message] was sent from there [Eretz Yisrael]: [They may do so] either in his presence or not in his presence.
A certain man once said: This shall be a Get if I do not come within thirty days. He did come, but could not get across the river, so he cried out, 'See, I have come, see, I have come.' Samuel said: This is no 'coming'.1
A certain man said to the Beth din, If I do not make it up with her in thirty days, it will be a Get. He went and tried to make up with her, but she would not be reconciled. Said R. Joseph: Has he offered her a bag2 of gold coins and yet not been able to appease her?3 According to another version, R. Joseph said: Must he offer her a bag of gold coins? He has done his best to make it up with her, but she would not be reconciled. [The latter version] fits in with the view that in the matter of a Get allowance is made for circumstances over which one has no control,4 and the [former] with the view that no such allowance is made.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN LENDS MONEY TO A PRIEST OR A LEVITE OR A POOR MAN ON CONDITION THAT HE CAN RECOUP HIMSELF FROM THEIR DUES,5 HE MAY DO SO, IN THE PRESUMPTION THAT THEY ARE STILL ALIVE, AND HE DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CHANCE THAT THE PRIEST OR THE LEVITE MAY HAVE DIED OR THE POOR MAN MAY HAVE BECOME RICH. IF [HE KNOWS THAT] THEY HAVE DIED, HE MUST OBTAIN THE PERMISSION OF THE HEIRS. IF HE MADE THE LOAN IN THE PRESENCE OF THE BETH DIN, HE NEED NOT OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE HEIRS.
GEMARA. [Can he do this] even if the dues have not come into the hands [of those who are entitled to them]?6 — Rab said: [The Mishnah speaks of] priests and Levites with whom he is familiar.7 Samuel says: He conveys possession to them through a third party.8 'Ulla said: This ruling is based on the view of R. Jose, who said that [in many places] possession is reckoned to have been acquired though strictly speaking it has not been acquired.9 [The reason why] all [the authorities] do not concur with Rab is because the Mishnah does not mention [the man's] acquaintance. [The reason why] all do not concur with Samuel is because the Mishnah does not mention transferring possession. [The reason why] all do not concur with 'Ulla is because we do not base a ruling on the opinion of an individual [Rabbi].10
Our Rabbis have taught: 'If a man lends money to a priest or a Levite or a poor man, on condition that he may recoup himself from their dues, he may do so in the presumption that they are still alive. He may stipulate with them to get the benefit of a lower market price,11 and this is not reckoned as taking interest. The seventh year does not release it. If he desires to retract, he is not permitted to do so. If he gave up all hope of recovering12 [but afterwards found that he could recover],13 he does not appropriate any dues [in payment of the debt]. because dues are not set aside from that which has been given up as lost.'
The Master says: 'He may stipulate to get the benefit of a lower market price.' Surely this is self-evident?14 — He informs us that even though he did not stipulate this expressly, he is reckoned as having done so.
'This is not reckoned as interest': why so? — Since when he has nothing he does not give, when he has something [and gives less]15 this is not counted as interest.
'The seventh year does not release it': because we do not apply here the verse, he shall not press.16
'If he desires to retract, he is not permitted': R. Papa said: This rule applies only to the owner vis-a-vis the priest, but if the priest wants to retract, he may, as we have learnt:17 If he [the purchaser] has given him [the seller] money but has not yet pulled into his possession the produce, he can retract.18
'If the owner has given up all hope of recovering he does not appropriate any dues, because dues are not set aside from that which has been given up as lost': Is not this obvious? — It required to be stated for the case where the corn was in stalk [before it was blighted]. You might think that in that case the corn is counted as something [of value].19 Now I know [that this is not so].
It has been taught: R. Eleazar b. Jacob says: If a man lends a priest or a Levite money in the presence of the Beth din and they die [before repaying], he sets aside dues for them as belonging to the whole tribe [and recovers therefrom].20 [If he lent] to a poor man before the Beth din and he died, he sets aside dues for him as belonging to the poor of Israel [and recovers therefrom]. R. Ahi said: As belonging to all the poor.21 What is the practical difference between them?
— Where there are Cuthean poor.1 If the poor man became rich, he does not set aside dues for him, and that man becomes possessor of what he has.2 Why did the Rabbis safeguard [the lender] in the case of the poor man dying3 and not in the case of his becoming rich?4 — It is a common thing for people to die, but not to become rich.5 R. Papa said: This is borne out by the common saying: 'If [you hear that] your neighbour has died, believe it: if [you hear that] he has become rich, do not believe it.'
IF HE DIES, HE MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE HEIRS. It has been taught: Rabbi says. Heirs that have inherited. Are there any heirs that do not inherit? — R. Johanan explained it to mean heirs that inherit land6 but not money.'7 R. Jonathan said: If he left a mere needleful8 [of land], the other can recoup himself only to the extent of a needleful,9 and if he left an axeful,10 the other can recoup himself to the extent of an axeful. R. Johanan said: Even if he only left a needleful he can recoup himself to the extent of an axeful,11 as in the incident of the small field of Abaye.12
Our Rabbis have taught: If an Israelite says to a Levite, 'I have set aside a tithe for you.' he need not be concerned about the priest's due in the tithe.13 If, however, he said, 'I have set aside a kor as tithe for you,' he has to concern himself about the priest's due in the tithe. What does all this mean? — Abaye said: It means this. If an Israelite said to a Levite, 'I have set aside tithe for you, and here is money for it', he has no need to worry lest the Levite should have made14 that produce the priestly due on produce received by him from elsewhere.15 If, however, he said, 'I have set aside a kor of tithe for you and here is the money for it', he has to worry lest the Levite should have [already] made it the priestly due on tithe from elsewhere.16 Are we then dealing with rogues who take money and make it [the produce] priestly due on tithe from elsewhere?17 — In fact, said R. Mesharsheya the son of R. Idi, [the Baraitha] means this: If the Israelite said to the son of a [deceased] Levite, I have set aside tithe for your father and here is the money for it, he need not worry lest the father had made it priestly due on tithe from elsewhere. If, however, he said, I have set aside a kor of tithe for your father and here is the money, he has to worry lest the father had made it priestly due on tithe from elsewhere.18 Can we than suspect Haberim19 of setting aside the priestly due from produce in another place?20 — In fact, said R. Ashi, it means this: If a son of a [deceased] Israelite says to a Levite, My father told me [before his death] that he had set aside tithe for you or for your father, he [the Levite] has to worry about the priest's due in it, since as [the quantity is] indefinite, the owner's father may not have made it available for ordinary use [by setting aside the priestly due in it]. If, however, he says, I have a kor of tithe set aside for you or for your father, there is no need to worry lest the priestly due is still contained in it, since as [the quantity] is definite, he may be sure that the owner made it right [before his death]. But has the owner the right to set aside the terumah from the Levite's tithe? — Yes. Such is the ruling of Abba Eleazar b. Gamala, as it has been taught: Abba Eleazar b. Gamala says. It is written, And your heave-offering shall be reckoned to you.21
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