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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
Redeem me. So he said:1 We have learnt, IF A MAN SELLS HIMSELF AND HIS CHILDREN TO A HEATHEN HE IS NOT TO BE REDEEMED, BUT HIS CHILDREN ARE TO BE REDEEMED AFTER THE DEATH OF THEIR FATHER, to prevent their going astray.2 All the more so then here, where there is a danger of their being killed. The Rabbis said to R. Assi: This man is a non-observant Israelite, who has been seen eating non-Jewish meat.3 He said to them: possibly he did so because he wanted4 [meat, and could get no other]? They said: There have been times when he had the choice of permitted and forbidden meat and he left the former and took the latter. He thereupon said to the man: Be off; they will not let me ransom you.
Resh Lakish5 once sold himself to the Lydians. He took with him a bag with a stone in it, because, he said, it is a known fact that on the last day they grant any request [of the man they are about to kill] in order that he may forgive them his murder.6 On the last day they said to him, What would you like? He replied: I want you to let me tie your arms and seat you in a row and give each one of you a blow and a half with my bottle. He bound them and seated them, and gave each of them a blow with his bag which stunned him. [One of them] ground his teeth at him. Are you laughing at me? he said. I have still half a bag left for you. So he killed them all and made off. As he was once seated [on the ground] eating and drinking,7 his daughter said, Don't you want something to recline on? He replied: Daughter, my belly is my cushion.8 At his death he left a kab9 of saffron, and he applied to himself the verse, And they shall leave to others their substance.10
GEMARA. Rabbah said: Although a heathen cannot own property in the land of Israel so fully as to release it from the obligation of tithe, since it says, For mine is the land,13 as much as to say, mine is the sanctity of the land,14 yet a heathen can own land in the Land of Israel so fully as to have the right of digging in it pits, ditches and caves, as it says, The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth he gave to the sons of man.15 R. Eleazar, however, said: Although a heathen can own land so fully in the land of Israel as to release it from the obligation of tithe, since it says, [The tithe of] thy corn,16 which implies, 'and not the corn of the heathen,' yet a heathen cannot own land in the Land of Israel so fully as to have the right of digging in it pits, ditches and caves, since it says, The earth is the Lord's.17 What is the point at issue between them? — One18 holds that [we interpret the word 'thy corn'] to mean 'thy corn and not the corn of the heathen' and the other holds that we interpret it to mean, 'thy storing and not the storing of the heathen.'19 Rabbah said: Whence do I derive my view? Because we have learnt: Gleanings, forgotten sheaves, and produce of the corner belonging to a heathen are subject to tithe unless he has declared them common property.20 How are we to understand this? Are we to say that the field belongs to an Israelite and the produce has been gathered by a heathen? If so, what is the meaning of 'unless he declared them common property,' seeing that they are already such?21 We must therefore say that the field belongs to a heathen and an Israelite has gathered the produce, and the reason why he has to give no tithe from them is because he declared them common property, but otherwise he would be liable!22 — This is not conclusive. I may still hold that [the field spoken of] belongs to an Israelite and that a heathen has gathered the produce; and as for your argument that it is already declared common property, granted that it is such in the eyes of the Israelite, is it such in the eyes of the heathen?23
Come and hear: If an Israelite bought a field from a heathen before the produce was a third grown and sold it back to him after it was a third grown, it is subject to tithe,24 because it was so already25 [before he sold it back]. The reason is [is it not] because it was so already, but otherwise it would not be subject?26 — We are dealing here with a field in Syria, and [the author of this dictum] took the view that the annexation of an individual27 is not legally counted as annexation.28 Come and hear: 'If an Israelite and a heathen buy a field in partnership.
tebel and hullin1 are inextricably mixed up in it.2 This is the view of Rabbi. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says that the part belonging to the heathen is exempt [from tithe], and the part belonging to the Israelite is subject to it'.3 Now [are we not to say that] the extent of their difference consists in this, that the one authority [R. Simeon] holds that a distinction can be made retrospectively,4 while the other holds that no distinction can be made retrospectively, but both are agreed that a heathen can own land in the land of Israel so fully as to release it from the obligation of tithe?5 — Here too we are dealing with land in Syria, and [R. Simeon] took the view that the annexation of an individual is not legally regarded as annexation. R. Hiyya b. Abin said: Come and hear. IF ONE SELLS HIS FIELD TO A HEATHEN, HE MUST BUY FROM HIM THE FIRSTFRUITS AND TAKE THEM TO JERUSALEM, TO PREVENT ABUSES. That is to say, the reason is to prevent abuses, but the Torah itself does not prescribe this?6 — R. Ashi replied: There were two regulations. At first they [the sellers of the fields] used to bring the firstfruits as enjoined in the Torah. When [the Sages] saw that they made the recital [over them]7 and still sold [fields], being under the impression that the fields still retained their holiness, they ordained that [the firstfruits] should not be brought. When they saw that those who were short of money still sold and the fields remained in the hands of the heathen, they ordained that they should be brought.8
It has been stated: If a man sells his field in respect of the produce only,9 R. Johanan says that [the purchaser] brings the firstfruits and makes the recital [over them],7 while Resh Lakish says that he brings them but makes no recital.10 R. Johanan who says that he brings and recites is of the opinion that the possession of the increment is equivalent to possession of the [parent] body, while Resh Lakish who says that he brings without reciting is of opinion that the possession of the increment is not equivalent to the possession of the [parent] body.11
R. Johanan raised an objection against Resh Lakish [from the following]: [And thou shalt rejoice in all the good which the Lord hath given to thee] and to thy house:12 this teaches that a man brings the firstfruits of his wife13 and makes the recital! — Resh Lakish rejoined: There is a special reason there,14 because the text says 'his house'.15 According to another report, Resh Lakish raised an objection against R. Johanan [by quoting to him]: 'And to thy house:' this shows that a man brings the firstfruits of his wife and makes the recital. This, [continued Resh Lakish,] is the rule in the case of the wife, because the text says and to thy house, but in other cases not! — R. Johanan replied: I derive my reason also from the same verse.16 He [then] raised an objection [from the following]: 'If while he was on the road bringing the firstfruits of his wife he heard that his wife had died, he brings them and makes the recital,' which means, [I take it], that if she did not die he does not make the recital?17 — No, [he replied]; the rule is the same even if she did not die, but it had to be stated also in regard to the case of her dying, [for this reason]. It might have occurred to us that [in this case] we should as a precaution prohibit [the husband from reciting] on account of the ruling of R. Jose b. Hanina who laid down that if a man gathered his grapes and commissioned another man to bring them [to Jerusalem] and the person commissioned died on the way, he [himself] brings them but does not make the recital, because it says, and thou shalt take …18 and thou shalt bring,19 which implies that the taking and the bringing must be performed by the same person.20 We are therefore told [that we do not take this precaution].
R. Johanan and Resh Lakish are herein true to their own principles, as stated elsewhere: If a man sells his field
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