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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
does not legally acquire it'.1 Thereupon they2 seized it themselves, R. Papa rowing3 the boat while R. Huna the son of R. Joshua pulled it by the rope. One Master then declared, 'I have acquired all the ship'4 and the other similarly declared, 'I have acquired all of it'.5 They were met by R. Phinehas b. Ammi who said to them: Both Rab and Samuel ruled that '[Seizure is valid] only if [the produce] was piled up and lay in a public domain'.6 'We too', they replied, 'have seized it at the main current of the river'.7 When they appeared before Raba he said to them, 'Ye white geese8 that strip the people of their cloaks;9 thus ruled R. Nahman; [The seizure is valid] only if it took place during the lifetime [of the original owner].
The men of Be-Hozae10 once claimed a sum of money from Abimi the son of R. Abbahu, who sent it to them by the hand of Hama the son of Rabbah b. Abbahu. He duly went there and paid them, but when he asked them, 'Return to me the bond', they replied. 'This payment was made in settlement of some other claims'.11 He came before R. Abbahu [to complain] and the latter asked him, 'Have you witnesses that you have paid them?' — 'No', he replied. 'Since', the former said to him, 'they could plead12 that the payment was never made,13 they are also entitled to plead that the payment was made in settlement of some other claims'.14
What is the law in respect of the agent's liability to refund? — R. Ashi replied; We have to consider the facts. If he15 said to him. 'Secure the bond and pay the money' he16 must refund it; [but if he15 said.] 'Pay the money and secure the bond', he is under no obligation to refund it. The law, however, is not so. He16 must refund it in either case, because the other15 may well say. 'I deputed you to improve my position, not to make it worse
There was a certain woman with whom a case17 of bonds was once deposited and when the heirs [of the depositor] came to claim it from her she said, 'I seized them18 during [the depositor's] lifetime'.19 R. Nahman to whom she came said to her, 'Have you witnesses that it20 was claimed from you during [the depositor's] lifetime and that you refused to return it?' — 'No', she replied. 'If so', he said to her, 'your seizure is one that took place after [the owner's] death,21 and such a seizure is invalid.22
A woman was once ordered23 to take an oath24 at the court of Raba, but when R. Hisda's daughter25 said to him, 'I know that she is suspected of [taking false] oaths', Raba transferred the oath to her opponent.26
On another occasion R. Papa and R. Adda b. Mattena sat in his presence when a bond was brought to him. Said R. Papa to him. 'I know that this bond is paid up'. 'Is there, [Raba] asked him, 'any other man with the Master [to confirm the statement]?' 'No', he replied. 'Although', the other said to him, 'the Master is present [to give evidence] there is no validity [in the testimony of] one witness'.27 Said R. Adda b. Mattena to him, 'Should not R. Papa be [deemed as reliable] as the daughter of R. Hisda?'28 — 'As to the daughter of R. Hisda [he replied] I am certain of her;29 I am not sure, however, about the Master'.30 Said R. Papa: Now that the Master has stated [that a judge who can assert,] 'I am certain of a person', may rely upon that person's evidence,31 I would tear up a bond on the evidence of my son Abba Mar of whose reliability I am certain. 'I would tear up'! Is such an act conceivable?32 — He rather [meant to say,] 'I would impair a bond33 on his evidence'.
A woman was once ordered to take34 an oath at the court of R. Bibi b. Abaye, when her opponent suggested to them, 'Let her rather come and take the oath in our town,35 where she might possibly feel ashamed [of her action] and confess'. 'Write out said she to them, 'the verdict in my favour36 so that after I shall have taken the oath it may be given to me'. 'Write it out for her', ordered R. Bibi b. Abaye. 'Because', said R. Papi. 'you are descendants of short-lived people you speak frail words;37 surely Raba stated, 'An attestation38 by judges that was written before the witnesses have identified their signatures is invalid',39 from which it is evident [that such an attestation] has the appearance of a false declaration, and so here also [the verdict]40 would appear to contain a false statement'. This conclusion,41 however, is futile42 [as may be inferred] from a statement of R. Nahman, who said; R. Meir ruled that even if [a husband] found it43 on a rubbish heap, and then signed and gave it to her, it is valid; and even the Rabbis44 differ from R. Meir only in respect of letters of divorce where it is necessary that the writing shall be done specifically in her name, but in respect of other legal documents they agree with him,45 for R. Assi stated in the name of R. Johanan, 'A man may not borrow again on a bond on which he has once borrowed and which he has repaid.46 because the obligation [incurred by the first loan]47 was cancelled;48 the reason then is because 'the obligation was cancelled', but that [the contents of the document] have the appearance
of a false statement1 is a matter which need not be taken into consideration.
A certain man once deposited seven pearls, wrapped in a sheet, with R. Miasha the son of the son of R. Joshua h. Levi. As R. Miasha died intestate2 they came to R. Ammi.3 'In the first instance', he said to them, 'I know that R. Miasha the son of the son of R. Joshua b. Levi was not a wealthy man,4 and secondly. does not the man5 indicate the marks?'6 This ruling, however, applies only to a man who was not a frequent visitor at the bailee's house,7 but if he was a frequent visitor there [the marks he indicates are no evidence of ownership since] it might well be assumed that another person has made the deposit and he happened to see it. A certain man once deposited a silver cup with Nasa; and Hasa died intestate.8 R. Nahman before whom [the heirs] appeared said to them, 'I know that Hasa was not a wealthy man? and, furthermore, does he5 not indicate the mark?'9 This, however, applies only to a man who was not an habitual visitor at the bailee's house,7 but if he was a frequent visitor there [the mark he indicates is no valid proof since] it might be said that another person had deposited [the cup] and he happened to see it.
A certain man once deposited a silk cloth10 with R. Dimi the brother of R. Safra, and R. Dimi died intestate.2 R. Abba, to whom [the depositor] came [to submit his claim.] said to them,11 'In the first place I know that R. Dimi was not a wealthy man4 and, secondly, the man is here indicating the distinguishing mark.' This, however, applies only to a man who was not a frequent visitor7 at the bailee's house, but if he was a frequent visitor there [the indication of the mark is no valid proof since] it might well be suggested that another man deposited the object and he happened to see it.
A man once said12 to those around him,13 'Let my estate be given to Tobiah', and then he died. [A man named] Tobiah came [to claim the estate]. 'Behold', said R. Johanan. 'Tobiah has come'.14 Now if he said, 'Tobiah'15 and 'R. Tobiah'16 came, [the latter is not entitled to the estate, since] he said 'To Tobiah' but not 'To R. Tobiah'. If he,16 however, was on familiar terms with him17 [the estate must be given to him, since the omission of title might have been due to] the fact that he was on intimate terms with him. If two Tobiahs appeared,18 one of whom was a neighbour19 and the other a scholar, the scholar is to be given precedence.20 If one [of the Tobiahs] is a relative and the other a scholar, the scholar is given precedence.20 The question was asked: What is the position where one is a neighbour19 and the other a relative? — Come and hear; Better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off21 if both22 are relatives, or both are neighbours. or both are scholars the decision is left to the discretion23 of the judges.
Come, said Raba to the son of R. Hiyya b. Abin, I will tell you a fine saying of your father's:24 Although25 Samuel said, 'If a man sold a bond of indebtedness to another person and then he26 released the debtor, the latter is legally released;27 and, moreover, even [a creditor's] heir may28 release [the debtor]' Samuel, nevertheless, admits that, where a wife brought in to her husband29 a bond of indebtedness and then remitted it, the debt is not to be considered remitted, because her husband's rights are equal to hers.30
A relative of R. Nahman once sold her kethubah for the goodwill.31 She was divorced and then died. Thereupon [the buyers] came to claim [the amount of the kethubah] from her daughter.32 'Is there no one', said R. Nahman to those around him,33 'who can tender her advice?
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