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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
Perhaps he will confess and release himself.1 It is also a question for the Rabbis, [since we may say that] when the Rabbis said that a man cannot transfer something which does not yet exist, they were thinking for instance of the fruit of a date tree which at this moment at any rate does not exist, but in this case the ox exists and the slave exists. What [is the answer]? — R. Abba said: Come and hear: Such as are born in his house.2 What is the point of these words? If the 'purchase of his money' can eat [terumah] how much more so one born in the house? If that were so, I should say, Just as the 'purchase of his money' must be one who has a money value, so the one 'born in his house' must have a money value. How then should I know that even one who has no money value3 [may eat the terumah]? Because it says, 'such as are born in the house': in all circumstances. I might still maintain that one who is born in the house may eat whether he has a money value or not, but the purchase of his money' may eat only if he has a money value, but if he has no money value he may not eat. Therefore it says, 'The purchase of his money and one born in his house'. Just as one born in the house may eat whether he has a money value or not, so the purchase of his money may eat whether he has a money value or not. Now if you say that a slave who is sold by his master in respect of the fine only is actually sold, [the question can be asked], Is there a slave who is not worth selling for his fine?4 — Yes, there is the one who has not long to live.5 But he is still capable of waiting on him?6 — We suppose him also to be loathsome or covered with boils.7
The question was raised: If one who is half a slave and half free affiances a free woman, how do we decide? Should you point out that if a son of Israel says to a daughter of Israel, 'Be affianced to half of me,'8 she is affianced, [I may reply that this is so] because she is qualified for the whole of him, but this one is not qualified for the whole of him.9 If again you point out that when an Israelite affiances half a woman she is not affianced,10 [I may reply that this is so] because he left something over from his acquisition, but the slave leaves nothing over from his acquisition.11 What [are we to say]? — Come and hear: If an [ox] kills one who is half a slave and half free, the owner gives half the fine to the master and half the ransom to the heirs of the slave. Now if you say that his betrothal is null and void, whence come heirs to him? — R. Adda b. Ahabah said: [We speak of the case] where [the ox] made him terefah,12 and by 'heirs' is meant himself. Raba said: There are two objections to this answer. One is that it distinctly says 'heirs', and further [the sum paid] is a 'ransom', and Resh Lakish has laid down that a 'ransom' is only paid after death! — No, said Raba: [what we must say is that] he ought to receive the ransom, but he does not.13
Raba said: Just as, if one affiance's half a woman, she is not affianced, so if a woman who is half a slave and half free is affianced, her betrothal is no betrothal. Rabbah son of R. Huna stated in a discourse: Just as if a man affiances half a woman she is not affianced, so if a woman who is half a slave and half free is affianced, she is not really betrothed. Said R. Hisda to him: Are the two cases similar? In the one [the man] leaves something over from his acquisition, in the other he leaves nothing over from his acquisition. Rabbah son of R. Huna thereupon called upon a public orator,14 who discoursed as follows: 'This stumbling-block is under thy hand.15 A man does not fully understand the words of the Torah until he has come to grief over them.16 Although they have said that if a man affiances half a woman she is not affianced, yet if one who is half a slave and half free is affianced, her betrothal is a genuine one. What is the reason [for the difference]? In the one case he leaves something over from his acquisition, in the other case he leaves nothing over from his acquisition.' R. Shesheth, however, said: Just as if a man affiances half a woman she is not affianced, so if a woman who is half a slave and half free is affianced, her betrothal is no genuine one. If someone should whisper to you [the teaching], 'Who is the designated bondwoman?17 The one who being half bondwoman and half free is betrothed to a Hebrew slave,'18 which shows that she is capable of being betrothed, say to him, Go to R. Ishmael who says that [the Torah here speaks] of a Canaanitish bondwoman who is betrothed to a Hebrew slave.19 Now is a Canaanitish bondwoman capable of being betrothed? We say therefore that by 'betrothed' R. Ishmael means 'allocated'.20 So here too 'betrothed' means 'allocated'.
R. Hisda said: If [a woman] half slave and half free is affianced to Reuben and then emancipated and then affianced to Simeon21 and both of them [Reuben and Simeon] die, she may contract a levirate marriage with Levi
, and we do not place her in the category of the widow of two husbands.1 For whichever way you take it, if the affiancing of Reuben was effective then the affiancing of Simeon was not effective, and if the affiancing of Simeon was effective then the affiancing of Reuben was not effective.2
It has been stated: If [a woman] who is half slave and half free was affianced to Reuben and then emancipated and became affianced to Simeon, R. Joseph said in the name of R. Nahman that [by means of the emancipation] the affiancing of the first is nullified,3 whereas R. Zera said in the name of R. Nahman that it was consummated.4 Said R. Zera: My view is the more probable since it is written, They shall not be put to death for she us not freed;5 which implies that if she has been freed they are to be put to death. Said Abaye to him: And on the view of the Tanna of the school of R. Ishmael who said that [the verse speaks] of a Canaanitish bondwoman who is affianced to a Hebrew slave, are we to say that in this case also if she has been freed they are to be put to death?6 What of course you have to assume in that case is that after she was freed she became affianced again.7 Here too then we speak of a case where she was freed and became affianced again.8
R. Huna b. Kattina said: There was an actual case of a woman who was half slave and half free whose master they compelled to liberate her. Whose authority did they follow? — That of R. Johanan b. Baroka, who said: In reference to both of them [man and woman] the verse says. And God blessed then and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply etc.9 — Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: This is not so; [the reason was that] they used her for immoral purposes.10
MISHNAH. IF A MAN SELLS HIS SLAVE TO A HEATHEN OR OUTSIDE THE LAND [OF ISRAEL] HE GAINS HIS FREEDOM.11
GEMARA. Our Rabbis have taught: If a man sells his slave to a heathen he gains his freedom, but he [still] requires a deed of emancipation12 from his first master. Said Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel: This is the rule if he did not make out a deed of oni.13 If, however, he made out a deed of oni for him, this constitutes his emancipation. What is meant by oni? — R. Shesheth said: If he writes in it to this effect, viz., 'If you run away from him, I have no claim on you.'
Our Rabbis taught: 'If a man borrows money from a heathen giving his slave as pledge, so soon as the heathen has fixed' to him his nimus, he gains his freedom [if he escapes]. What is meant by 'his nimus'?14 — R. Huna b. Judah said: It means, his collar.15 R. Shesheth raised an objection [against this explanation from the following]: Metayers,16 tenants,17 and hereditary metayers, and a heathen who has mortgaged his field to an Israelite, even though he did fix to him a nimus, are not liable to tithe.'18 If now you assume that nimus means a chain, can a chain be applied to a field? No, said R. Shesheth; what it means is a time limit.19 Then the time limit has two opposite effects?20 — There is no contradiction; in the one case [of the slave] we suppose the period to have terminated, in the other not. In the case of a slave whose period has expired do we need to be told [that he gains his freedom]? — No. Both refer to the case where the period has not expired, and still there is no contradiction, [since in] the one case the body [is transferred and in] the other only the increment.21
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