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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
MISHNAH. IF A MAN PRODUCED A BOND OF INDEBTEDNESS AGAINST ANOTHER, AND THE LATTER PRO DUCED [A DEED OF SALE,1 SHEWING] THAT THE FORMER HAD SOLD HIM A FIELD,2 ADMON RULED; [THE OTHER] CAN SAY, HAD I OWED YOU [ANYTHING] YOU WOULD HAVE RECOVERED IT WHEN YOU SOLD ME THE FIELD'.3 THE SAGES, HOWEVER, SAY; THIS [SELLER] MAY HAVE BEEN A PRUDENT MAN, SINCE HE MAY HAVE SOLD HIM THE LAND IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO TAKE IT FROM HIM AS A PLEDGE.4
GEMARA. What is the reason of the Rabbis? Does not Admon speak well? — Where [the purchase] money is paid first and the deed is written afterwards, no one disputes that the [defendant] may well say [to the claimant], 'You should have recovered your debt when you sold me the field'.3 They only differ where the deed is written first and the purchase money is paid afterwards. Admon is of the opinion that [the claimant] should have made a declaration [of his motive],5 while the Rabbis6 maintain [that the claimant can retort,] 'Your friend has a friend, and the friend of your friend has a friend'.7
MISHNAH. IF TWO MEN PRODUCED BONDS OF INDEBTEDNESS AGAINST ONE ANOTHER,8 ADMON RULED; [THE HOLDER OF THE LATER BOND CAN SAY TO THE OTHER,] 'HAD I OWED YOU [ANY MONEY] HOW IS IT THAT YOU BORROWED FROM ME?'9 THE SAGES, HOWEVER, RULED: THE ONE RECOVERS HIS DEBT10 AND THE OTHER RECOVERS HIS DEBT.11
GEMARA. It was stated: If two men produced bonds of indebtedness against one another, R. Nahman ruled: The one recovers his debt and the other recovers his debt.12 R. Shesheth said: What is the point13 in exchanging bags?14 The one rather retains his own [money]15 and the other retains his.
All agree16 that if both [litigants possess land of the] best,17 medium or worst quality [distraint for each on the other is] undoubtedly a case of changing bags.14 They differ only where one [of the litigants] has land of medium quality and the other of the worst quality. R. Nahman is of the opinion that 'the one recovers his debt and the other recovers his debt' because in his view an assessment18 is made on the basis of the debtor's19 possessions,20 [so that] the owner of the land of the worst quality proceeds to distrain on the medium quality [of the other]21 which then becomes with him the best; and the other can then proceed to take from him the worst only.22 R. Shesheth, however, said, 'What is the point in exchanging bags?' because he is of the opinion that an assessment23 is made on a general basis,24 [so that] eventually when the original owner of the medium land25 proceeds [to distrain on the property of the other]26 he will only take back his own medium land. But what [reason can] you see, according to R. Nahman, that the owner of the worst quality of land should proceed [to distrain] first? Why should not rather the owner of the medium quality come first and distrain on the worst [of the other] and then let him distrain on it?27 — [But this ruling] applies only28 where the [holder of the worst land] submitted his claim first. But after all when they come to distrain, do they not come simultaneously?29 The fact, however, [is that the ruling] applies only28 where one [of the litigants] has best and medium land, and the other has only of the worst. One Master30 is of the opinion that an assessment31 is made on the basis of the debtor's32 possessions,33 while the other Master34 is of the opinion that an assessments is made on a general basis.35
We have learned: THE SAGES, HOWEVER, RULED: THE ONE RECOVERS HIS DEBT AND THE OTHER RECOVERS HIS DEBT!36 R. Nahman explained this, according to R. Shesheth, [as referring to a case,] for instance, where one borrowed for a period often, and the other for one of five years.37 But how exactly are we to understand this? If it be suggested that the first [bond]38 was for ten years and the second for five, would Admon [it may be objected] have ruled [that the second can say to the first:] 'HAD OWED YOU [ANY MONEY] HOW IS IT THAT YOU BORROWED FROM ME?' The time for payment39 surely, had not yet arrived.40 If, however, [it be suggested that] the first was for five years and the second for ten, how [it may again be objected] is this to be understood? If the time for payment39 had arrived,40 what [it may be asked] could be the reason of the Rabbis?41 And if the time for payment39 had not yet arrived,40 well, payment was not yet due and what [it may again be asked] is Admon's reason? — [This ruling was] required [in that case] only where [the holder of the earlier bond]42 came [to borrow] on the day on which the five years had terminated.43 The Masters44 are of the opinion that it is usual to borrow money for one day45 and the Master46 is of the opinion that one does not borrow money for one day.47
Was it not, however, stated, THE ONE RECOVERS HIS DEBT AND THE OTHER RECOVERS HIS DEBT?51 — [The meaning is:] The one recovers his debt, and the other is entitled to recover it but gets nothing. Said Raba: Two objections [may be advanced] against this explanation. Firstly, it was stated, 'THE ONE RECOVERS HIS DEBT AND THE OTHER RECOVERS51 HIS DEBT'; and, secondly, could not [the other party] allow the orphans to distrain on a plot of land [of his] and then recover it from them,52 in accordance with [a ruling of] R. Nahman, for R. Nahman said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: If orphans collected a plot of land for their father's debt53 the creditor54 may re-collect it from them?55 — This is a difficulty.
Why could it not be explained [that this is a case] where the orphans owned land of the worst quality and the other owned best56 and medium quality, so that the orphans proceed to distrain on his medium land57 and allow him to distrain on their worst only? For, even though58 an assessment59 is made on a general basis60 is not payment from orphans' property recovered from their worst land only?61 — This applies only where [the creditor] has not yet seized [their property] but where62 he had seized it63 he may lawfully retain it.64
MISHNAH. [THE FOLLOWING REGIONS ARE REGARDED AS] THREE COUNTRIES IN RESPECT OF MATRIMONY:65 JUDAEA, TRANSJORDAN AND GALILEE. [A MAN] MAY NOT TAKE OUT [HIS WIFE WITH HIM]66 FROM ONE TOWN67 TO ANOTHER68 OR FROM ONE CITY69 TO AN OTHER. WITHIN THE SAME COUNTRY, HOWEVER, HE MAY TAKE HER OUT WITH HIM FROM ONE TOWN INTO ANOTHER OR FROM ONE CITY INTO AN OTHER70
BUT NOT FROM A TOWN TO A CITY NOR FROM A CITY TO A TOWN.1 [A MAN] MAY TAKE OUT [HIS WIFE WITH HIM] FROM AN INFERIOR2 TO A SUPERIOR3 DWELLING, BUT NOT FROM A SUPERIOR3 TO AN INFERIOR2 DWELLING. R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL RULED: NOT EVEN FROM AN INFERIOR DWELLING TO A SUPERIOR DWELLING, BECAUSE THE [CHANGE TO A] SUPERIOR DWELLING PUTS [THE HUMAN BODY] TO A [SEVERE] TEST.4
GEMARA. One may readily grant [the justice of the ruling that a wife may not be compelled to move] FROM A CITY TO A TOWN, since everything [necessary] is obtainable in a city while not everything is obtainable in a town. On what grounds, however, [can she not be compelled to move] FROM A TOWN TO A CITY? — [This ruling] provides support for R. Jose b. Hanina who stated, 'Whence is it deduced that city5 life6 is difficult?7 [From Scripture] where it is said, And the people blessed all men that willingly offered themselves to dwell in Jerusalem.8
R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL RULED etc. What [is meant by] PUTS [THE HUMAN BODY] TO A [SEVERE] TEST'?9 — In agreement [with a saying] of Samuel. For Samuel said: A change of diet is the beginning of bowel trouble.10
It is written in the Book of Ben Sira: All the days of the poor11 are evil;12 but are there not the Sabbaths and festivals?13 — [The explanation, however, is] according to Samuel. For Samuel said: A change of diet is the beginning of bowel trouble.10 Ben Sira said: The nights also.14 Lower than [all] the roofs is his roof,15 and on the height of mountains is his vineyard,16 [so that] the rain of [other] roofs [pours down] upon his roof and the earth of his vineyard [is washed down] into the vineyards [of others].17
MISHNAH. [A MAN] MAY COMPEL ALL [HIS HOUSEHOLD] TO GO UP18 [WITH HIM] TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL., BUT NONE MAY BE COMPELLED TO LEAVE IT. ALL [ONE'S HOUSEHOLD] MAY BE COMPELLED TO GO UP18 TO JERUSALEM,19 BUT NONE MAY BE COMPELLED TO LEAVE IT. [THIS APPLIES TO] BOTH MEN AND WOMEN.20 IF A MAN MARRIED A WOMAN IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL AND DIVORCED HER IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL, HE MUST PAY HER [HER KETHUBAH] IN THE CURRENCY OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL. IF HE MARRIED A WOMAN IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL AND DIVORCED HER IN CAPPADOCIA HE MUST PAY HER [HER KETHUBAH] IN THE CURRENCY OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL.21 IF HE MARRIED A WOMAN IN CAPPADOCIA AND DIVORCED HER IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL, HE MUST A GAIN PAY [HER KETHUBAH] IN THE CURRENCY OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL.21 R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL, HOWEVER, RULED THAT HE MUST PAY HER IN THE CAPPADOCIAN CURRENCY.
IF A MAN MARRIED A WOMAN IN CAPPADOCIA AND DIVORCED HER IN CAPPADOCIA, HE MUST PAY HER [HER KETHUBAH] IN THE CURRENCY OF CAPPADOCIA.
GEMARA. What [was the expression,] 'MAY COMPEL ALL'22 intended to include? — To include slaves.23 What, however, [was the expression22 intended] to include according to him who specifically mentioned 'slaves' [in our Mishnah]? — To include [removal] from a superior dwelling to an inferior one. What [was the expression,] 'BUT NONE24 MAY BE COMPELLED TO LEAVE IT' intended to include? — To include a slave who fled from outside the Land [of Israel] into the Land in which case his master is told,25 'Sell him here, and go', in order to [encourage] settlement in the Land of Israel. What [was the expression] 'ALL26 … MAY BE COMPELLED TO GO UP TO JERUSALEM' intended to include? — To include [removal] from a superior dwelling to an inferior one. What [was the expression,] 'BUT NONE27 MAY BE COMPELLED TO LEAVE IT' intended to include? — To include even [removal] from an inferior dwelling to a superior one; only since as it was stated in the earlier clause,28 'NONE MAY BE COMPELLED TO LEAVE IT it was also stated in the latter clause,29 'NONE MAY BE COMPELLED TO LEAVE IT'.30
Our Rabbis taught: If [the husband] desires31 to go up32 and his wife refuses31 she must be pressed33 to go up; and if [she does] not [consent] she may be divorced34 without a kethubah. If she desires31 to go up32 and be refuses,31 he must be pressed to go up; and if [he does] not [consent] he must divorce her and pay her kethubah. If she desires to leave35 and he refuses to leave, she must be pressed not to leave, and if [pressure is of] no [avail] she may be divorced34 without a kethubah. If he desires to leave35 and she refuses he must be pressed not to leave, and if [coercion is of] no [avail] he must divorce her and pay her kethubah.36
IF A MAN MARRIED A WOMAN etc. Is not this self-contradictory? It was stated, IF HE MARRIED A WOMAN IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL AND DIVORCED HER IN CAPPADOCIA HE MUST PAY HER [HER KETHUBAH] IN THE CURRENCY OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL, from which it clearly follows that we are guided by [the currency of the place where the] obligation37 was undertaken.38 Read, however, the concluding clause: IF HE MARRIED A WOMAN IN CAPPADOCIA AND DIVORCED HER IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL HE MUST AGAIN PAY HER [HER KETHUBAH] IN THE CURRENCY OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL, from which it follows, does it not, that we are guided by [the currency of the place] where collection is effected?39 — Rabbah replied: [The rulings] taught here [are among those in which the claims relating to] a kethubah are weaker [than those of other claimants],40 for [the author] is of the opinion that the kethubah is a Rabbinical enactment.41 R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL, HOWEVER, RULED THAT HE MUST PAY HER IN THE CAPPADOCIAN CURRENCY. He is of the opinion42 that the kethubah is Pentateuchal.43
Our Rabbis taught: If a man produces a bond of indebtedness against another [and the place of issue] entered44 therein was Babylon, [the debtor] must allow him to collect it in Babylonian currency. If [the place of issue] entered44 therein was the Land of Israel he must allow him to collect it in the currency of the Land of Israel. If no place of issue was entered44 he must, if it was presented in Babylon, pay him in Babylonian currency; and, if it was presented in the Land of Israel, he must pay him in the currency of the Land of Israel. If merely [a sum of] 'silver [pieces]'45 was entered, the borrower may pay the other whatever he wishes.46 [This is a ruling] which does not apply to47 a kethubah.48 To what [ruling does this49 refer]? — R. Mesharsheya replied: To that in the first clause,50 thus indicating that the law is not in agreement with51 R. Simeon b. Gamaliel who ruled that the kethubah is Pentateuchal.
'If merely [a sum of] "silver [pieces]" was entered the borrower may pay the other whatever he wishes'. May not one say that [a 'silver piece' merely signified] a bar [of silver]? — R. Eleazar replied: [This is a case] where 'coin' was mentioned in the bond.52 May not one suggest [that it signified] small change? — R. Papa replied: Small change is not made of silver.53
Our Rabbis taught: One should always live in the Land of Israel, even in a town most of whose inhabitants are idolaters, but let no one live outside the Land, even in a town most of whose inhabitants are Israelites; for whoever lives in the Land of Israel may be considered to have54 a God, but whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who has no God. For it is said in Scripture, To give you the Land of Canaan, to be your God.55 Has he, then, who does not live in the Land, no God?56 But [this is what the text intended] to tell you, that whoever lives outside the Land may be regarded as one who worships idols. Similarly it was said in Scripture in [the story of] David, For they have driven me out this day that I should not cleave to the inheritance of the Lord, saying: Go, serve other gods.57 Now, whoever said to David, 'Serve other gods'? But [the text intended] to tell you that whoever lives outside the Land58 may be regarded as one who worships idols.59
R. Zera was evading Rab Judah because he desired to go up to the Land of Israel while Rab Judah had expressed [the following view:] Whoever goes up from Babylon to the Land of Israel transgresses a positive commandment, for it is said in Scripture,
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