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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
But since the final clause1 [deals with a case] where [she sold] at a lower price, [would not] the earlier clause2 [naturally3 refer to one] where [she did] not [sell] at a lower price; for has [it not] been stated in the final clause, IF HER KETHUBAH WAS FOR FOUR HUNDRED ZUZ AND SHE SOLD [PLOTS OF LAND] TO [THREE] PERSONS4 TO EACH FOR ONE MANEH, AND TO A FOURTH4 [SHE SOLD] WHAT WAS WORTH A MANE HAND A DENAR FOR ONE MANEH, [THE SALE] TO THE LAST PERSON IS VOID BUT [THE SALES] OF ALL THE OTHERS ARE VALID?5 — No, both the earlier and the final clause [refer to a sale] at a lower price, but6 it is this that we were informed in the final clause: The reason [why her sale is void is] because [she sold]7 at a lower price [the property] that belonged to the orphans,8 but [if that9 had been done] with her own,10 her sale is valid.11 But is not this already inferred from the first clause: WHOSE KETHUBAH WAS FOR TWO HUNDRED ZUZ SOLD [A PLOT OF LAND THAT WAS] WORTH A MANEH FOR TWO HUNDRED ZUZ OR ONE THAT WAS WORTH TWO HUNDRED ZUZ FOR ONE MANEH, HER KETHUBAH IS DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN THEREBY SETTLED?12 — It might have been assumed [that the ruling13 was applicable] there Only because [by her one act] she completely severed her connection with that house,14 but that here15 [the sale for] the first maneh [should be deemed invalid] as a preventive measure against [the assumption of the validity of the sale for the] last maneh,' hence we were informed [that the law was not so].
Some there are who say: You have no need to ask [for a ruling] where [a man said to his agent,] 'Go and sell for me a lethek'16 and [the latter] sold for him a kor, since [in this case the agent] was undoubtedly adding to his instructions.17 The question, however, arises as to what is the ruling where the man said to the agent, 'Go and sell for me a kor' and he sold for him only one lethek.16 Do we [in such a case] lay down that [the agent] might tell the man, 'I have done for you that which is more advantageous to you, for [had I sold the full kor, and] you were no longer in need of money you could not have retracted',18 or is it rather [held that the owner] might retort to him, 'It is no satisfaction to me that many deeds [should be held] against me'? — R. Hanina of Sura19 replied, Come and hear: If one man gave to another a gold denar20 and told him, 'Bring me a shirt', and the other brought him a shirt for three sela's and a cloak for three sela's, both are guilty of trespass.21 Now if you admit that an agent in similar circumstances22 has performed his mission and was only adding to his instructions, one can well see why the owner23 is guilty of trespass.24 If, however, you should maintain that [the agent in such circumstances] was transgressing his instructions, why should [the owner] be guilty of trespass?25 — Here we are dealing with a case where [the agent] brought him [a shirt that was] worth six sela's for three.26 If so27 why should the agent be guilty of trespass? — On account of the cloak.28 But if that were so,29 read the final clause: R. Judah ruled, Even in this case29 the owner is not guilty of trespass because he might say [to the agent,] 'I wanted a big shirt and you brought me one that is small and bad'!30 — 'Bad' means31 'bad in respect of the price', for32 [the owner can] tell him, 'Had you brought me one for six sela's [my gain would have been] even greater since it would have been worth twelve sela's.'33 This34 may also be proved by an inference. For it was stated:35 R. Judah admits [that if the transaction was] in pulse both36 are guilty of trespass
because [the quantity of] pulse for a sela' [is in exactly the same proportion as] that for one perutah.1 This is conclusive. How is this2 to be understood? If it be suggested [that it refers] to a place where [pulse] is sold by conjectural estimate, does not one [it may be objected] who pays a sela' obtain the commodity at a much cheaper rate?3 — R. Papa replied: [It refers] to a place where each kanna4 is sold5 for one perutah.6
Come and hear: IF HER KETHUBAH WAS FOR FOUR HUNDRED ZUZ AND SHE SOLD [PLOTS OF LAND] TO [THREE] PERSONS7 TO EACH FOR ONE MANEH, AND TO A FOURTH7 [SHE SOLD] WHAT WAS WORTH A MANEH AND A DENAR FOR ONE MANEH [THE SALE] TO THE LAST PERSON IS VOID BUT [THE SALES] OF ALL THE OTHERS ARE VALID!8 — [This9 is no proof, for] as R. Shisha the son of R. Idi replied10 [that the final clause of our Mishnah deals] with small plots of land,11 [so it may] in this discussion12 also [be argued that the clause cited deals] with small plots of land.13
It is obvious [that if a man] instructed [his agent to sell a plot of land] to one person but not to two persons [and he sold it to two' the sale is invalid14 for] he distinctly told him, 'To one person but not to two persons'.15 What, [however, is the ruling where] he gave instructions [that the sale shall be made] to one person without mentioning any further limitation?16 R. Huna ruled: 'To one person' implies 'but not to two'.17 Both R. Hisda and Rabbah son of R. Huna, however, ruled: 'To one person'18 may mean even to two;19 'to one', may mean16 even to a hundred.19 R. Nahman once happened to be at Sura20 when R. Hisda and Rabbah b. R. Huna came to visit him. 'What [is the ruling], they asked him, in such a case?'21 — To one', he replied, [may mean] even to two, 'to one' may mean even to a hundred. '[Are the sales valid,]' they asked him, 'even where the agent made an error?'22 — 'I do not speak', he replied, 'of a case where the agent had made an error'. 'But did not a Master', they asked again, 'say [that the law of] overreaching does not apply to landed property'?23 This24 applies only where the owner made the error; but where the agent has made the error [the owner] might tell him, 'I sent you to improve my position but not to impair it'.25 Whence, however, is it inferred that a distinction may be drawn between the agent and the owner? — [From] what we have learned, 'If a man tells his agent, "Go and give terumah", the latter must give the terumah in accordance with the disposition of the owner,26 and if he does not know the owner's disposition, he should give the terumah in a moderate manner, viz., one fiftieth.27 If he reduced [the denominator by] ten28 or added ten to it29 his terumah is nevertheless valid',30 while in respect of an owner26 it was taught: If, when setting apart terumah, there came up in his hand even so much as one twentieth27 his terumah is valid.31
Come and hear: IF HER KETHUBAH WAS FOR FOUR HUNDRED ZUZ AND SHE SOLD [PLOTS OF LAND] TO [THREE] PERSONS32 TO EACH FOR ONE MANEH, AND TO A FOURTH32 [SHE SOLD] WHAT WAS WORTH A MANEH AND A DENAR FOR ONE MANEH, [THE SALE] TO THE LAST PERSON IS VOID BUT [THE SALES] OF ALL OTHERS ARE VALID.33 R. Shisha the son of R. Ishi replied: [This clause deals] with small plots of land.34
MISHNAH. IF AN ASSESSMENT OF THE JUDGES35 WAS BY ONE SIXTH LESS, OR BY ONE SIXTH MORE [THAN THE ACTUAL VALUE OF THE PROPERTY]. THEIR SALE IS VOID. R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL RULED: THEIR SALE IS VALID FOR, OTHERWISE,36 OF WHAT ADVANTAGE WOULD THE POWER OF A COURT BE? IF A BILL FOR INSPECTION,37 HOWEVER, HAS BEEN DRAWN UP, THEIR SALE IS VALID EVEN IF THEY SOLD FOR TWO HUNDRED ZUZ38 WHAT WAS WORTH ONE MANEH,38 OR FOR ONE MANEH WHAT WAS WORTH TWO HUNDRED ZUZ.
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