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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Sheluchin veShuttafin - Chapter One

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Sheluchin veShuttafin - Chapter One

Introduction to Hilchos Sheluchin veShuttafin

The purpose of these laws is to know the rules pertaining to a person's agents and his partners, and the injunctions that apply with regard to purchases, sales, losses and profits. These mitzvot are explained in the chapters that follow.

הלכות שלוחין ושותפין - הקדמה הלכות שלוחין ושותפין ענין אלו ההלכות לידע דין שלוחו של אדם ושותפו ומשפטיהן במקחן וממכרן בהפסדן ושכרן וביאור כל הדינין האלו בפרקים אלו:

1

When a person tells a colleague: "Go out and sell landed property for me," "...movable property...," or "...purchase for me...," then the person should perform his agency, selling or buying. All his deeds are binding.

It is not necessary for a person who appoints an agent to perform a kinyan or have the appointment observed by witnesses. Instead, the statement he makes to his colleague is sufficient. Witnesses are necessary solely to reveal what transpired if one of the two denies the matter, as is the case with regard to other claims.

א

הָאוֹמֵר לִשְׁלוּחוֹ צֵא וּמְכֹר לִי קַרְקַע אוֹ מִטַּלְטְלִין אוֹ קְנֵה לִי הֲרֵי זֶה מוֹכֵר וְלוֹקֵחַ וְעוֹשֶׂה שְׁלִיחוּתוֹ וְכָל מַעֲשָׂיו קַיָּמִין. וְאֵין הָעוֹשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ צָרִיךְ קִנְיָן וְלֹא עֵדִים אֶלָּא בַּאֲמִירָה בִּלְבַד בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאֵין צְרִיכִין עֵדִים אֶלָּא לְגַלּוֹת הַדָּבָר אִם כָּפַר אֶחָד מֵהֶם כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַטְּעָנוֹת:

2

When an agent intentionally violates the instructions of his principal, his deeds are of no consequence. Similarly, if he erred even with regard to the slightest amount, the transaction - whether involving landed property or movable property - is nullified. For the principal can claim: "I sent you to improve my position, not to impair it."

The principle is that with regard to movable property, the laws of ona'ah do not apply unless one pays a sixth or more than the proper price for an article, and that these laws do not apply at all with regard to the sale of servants, promissory notes and landed property. They do, however, apply when the seller or the purchaser himself conducts the transaction. When, however, it is conducted by an agent, and he erred in his valuation with regard to even the slightest amount, the transaction is nullified.

ב

שָׁלִיחַ שֶׁעָבַר עַל דִּבְרֵי מְשַׁלְּחוֹ לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם. וְכֵן אִם טָעָה בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא בֵּין בְּקַרְקַע בֵּין בְּמִטַּלְטְלִין חוֹזֵר שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר לְתַקֵּן שְׁלִיחוּתִי שְׁדַרְתִּיךָ וְלֹא לְעַוֵּת. וְלֹא אָמְרוּ שֶׁהַהוֹנָיָה בְּמִטַּלְטְלִין שְׁתוּת וְהָעֲבָדִים וְהַשְּׁטָרוֹת וְהַקַּרְקָעוֹת אֵין בָּהֶן הוֹנָיָה אֶלָּא בְּמוֹכֵר שֶׁלּוֹ אוֹ קוֹנֶה לְעַצְמוֹ אֲבָל שָׁלִיחַ שֶׁטָּעָה בְּכֻלָּם בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא חוֹזֵר:

3

When a person gives money to an agent to purchase landed property, and the agent purchases it for him without requiring the seller to accept financial responsibility if it is expropriated from the purchaser, he is considered to have damaged the principal's position. The agent must purchase the property without financial responsibility, as he did, for himself. Then he must sell it to the principal and accept financial responsibility. This decision is rendered because the agent purchased the property with money belonging to the principal. The agent must accept the financial responsibility himself. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

Therefore, if the principal explicitly stipulates that he is appointing the agent in that capacity, whether he improves his position or impairs it, he may not retract, even if the agent sold a field worth 100 dinarim for a dinar for him, or purchased one worth a dinar for 100. And the principal must pay the agent as he originally stipulated.

ג

נָתַן מָעוֹת לִשְׁלוּחוֹ לִקְנוֹת לוֹ קַרְקַע וְקָנָה לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּאַחֲרָיוּת הֲרֵי זֶה עִוֵּת וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ לוֹקֵחַ אוֹתָהּ לְעַצְמוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּאַחֲרָיוּת כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה וְחוֹזֵר וּמוֹכְרָהּ לַמְשַׁלֵּחַ בְּאַחֲרָיוּת הוֹאִיל וְקָנָה אוֹתָהּ בִּמְעוֹתָיו וְהָאַחֲרָיוּת עַל הַשָּׁלִיחַ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הִתְנָה עָלָיו שֶׁעָשָׂהוּ שָׁלִיחַ בֵּין לְתַקֵּן בֵּין לְעַוֵּת אֲפִלּוּ מָכַר לוֹ שְׁוֵה מֵאָה בְּדִינָר אוֹ לָקַח שְׁוֵה דִּינָר בְּמֵאָה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ וְחַיָּב הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ לִתֵּן לוֹ כְּפִי הַתְּנַאי:

4

When a person tells his agent: "Sell a portion of my field large enough to sow a se'ah," and he sells a portion large enough to sow two se'ah, the agent is considered to have added to the principal's instructions, and the purchaser acquires only an area large enough to sow one se'ah.

If the principal told the agent: "Sell a portion large enough to sow two se'ah," and the agent sold only an area large enough to sow one se'ah, the agent is considered to have violated the principal's instructions, and the purchaser does not acquire anything.

If the principal told the agent: "Sell my field to one person for me," and the agent sold it to two people, the sale is nullified, for he violated the principal's instructions. If the principal told the agent: "Sell the field for me" without giving further instructions, the sales made by the agent are binding, even if he sold the property in 100 portions.

ד

הָאוֹמֵר לִשְׁלוּחוֹ מְכֹר לִי מִשָּׂדֶה שֶׁלִּי בֵּית סְאָה וּמָכַר לוֹ בֵּית סָאתַיִם הֲרֵי זֶה מוֹסִיף עַל דְּבָרָיו וְקָנָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ בֵּית סְאָה בִּלְבַד. אָמַר לוֹ מְכֹר לִי בֵּית סָאתַיִם וּמָכַר לוֹ בֵּית סְאָה הֲרֵי זֶה מַעֲבִיר עַל דְּבָרָיו וְלֹא קָנָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ. אָמַר לוֹ מְכֹר לִי שָׂדֶה לְאָדָם אֶחָד וְהָלַךְ הַשָּׁלִיחַ וּמְכָרָהּ לִשְׁנַיִם מִמְכָּרוֹ בָּטֵל שֶׁהֲרֵי עָבַר עַל דְּבָרָיו. אָמַר לוֹ מְכֹר לִי שָׂדֶה וְלֹא פֵּרֵשׁ אֲפִלּוּ מָכַר לְמֵאָה מִמְכָּרוֹ קַיָּם:

5

When a person gives money to his agent to purchase wheat or any other type of merchandise, and the agent does not make the purchase, the principal does not have a financial claim against the agent, only complaints.

The following rules apply if a principal gives an agent money to purchase wheat - whether to eat or to use as merchandise - and the agent purchases barley. If the price of the barley that he purchased becomes less than the price of wheat, the agent must bear the loss, because he deviated from the instructions he was given. If the price of the barley increases more than the price of wheat, the profit belongs to the owner of the money.

If the price of merchandise was fixed, and an additional quantity, weight or measure was given the agent, whatever was added by the seller should be divided between the two; i.e., the additional measure should be split between the agent and the principal. If the object sold does not have a fixed price, everything should be given to the principal.

ה

הַנּוֹתֵן מָעוֹת לִשְׁלוּחוֹ לִקַּח בָּהֶם חִטִּים אוֹ מִין מִמִּינֵי סְחוֹרָה וְלֹא לָקַח אֵין לוֹ עָלָיו אֶלָּא תַּרְעֹמֶת. נָתַן לוֹ מָעוֹת לִקַּח בָּהֶן חִטִּים בֵּין לַאֲכִילָה בֵּין לִסְחוֹרָה וְהָלַךְ וְלָקַח בָּהֶן שְׂעוֹרִים אִם פָּחֲתוּ דְּמֵי זֶה שֶׁלָּקַח פָּחֲתוּ לַשָּׁלִיחַ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מְשַׁנֶּה. וְאִם הוֹסִיפוּ דְּמֵיהֶן הוֹסִיפוּ לְבַעַל הַמָּעוֹת. הָיָה הַשַּׁעַר קָצוּב וְיָדוּעַ וְהוֹסִיפוּ לַשָּׁלִיחַ בַּמִּנְיָן אוֹ בַּמִּשְׁקָל אוֹ בַּמִּדָּה כָּל שֶׁהוֹסִיפוּ לוֹ הַמּוֹכְרִים הֲרֵי הוּא שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם וְחוֹלֵק הַתּוֹסֶפֶת הַשָּׁלִיחַ עִם בַּעַל הַמָּעוֹת. וְאִם הָיָה הַדָּבָר שֶׁאֵין לוֹ קִצְבָה הַכּל לְבַעַל הַמָּעוֹת:

6

The following rules apply when a person owes a colleague money, whether because of a debt, an entrusted article or a wage, and he gave the money to an agent and told him: "Bring this money to my creditor," the agent is not required to take special care of the matter and pay the creditor in the presence of witnesses.

If the principal told the agent: "Do not pay the debt unless witnesses observe it, " and he paid the debt in the absence of witnesses, the agent is liable should the creditor demand payment of the debt again. Similarly, if the debt was recorded in a promissory note, and the agent paid the debt outside the presence of witnesses, and did not take the promissory note, the agent is liable should the creditor demand payment of the debt again.This applies whether the debtor told the agent: "Take the promissory note and give him the money," or "Give him the money and take the promissory note." For by not taking the note, the agent impaired the principal's position and did not improve it.

ו

מִי שֶׁהָיָה חַיָּב לַחֲבֵרוֹ מָמוֹן בֵּין מִשּׁוּם מִלְוֶה בֵּין מִשּׁוּם פִּקָּדוֹן אוֹ שְׂכִירוּת וְנָתַן הַמָּעוֹת בְּיַד הַשָּׁלִיחַ וְאָמַר לוֹ הוֹלֵךְ מָמוֹן זֶה לְבַעַל חוֹבִי אֵין הַשָּׁלִיחַ צָרִיךְ לְהִטָּפֵל לוֹ וְלִתֵּן לוֹ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים. וְאִם אָמַר לַשָּׁלִיחַ אַל תִּפְרַע חוֹב זֶה אֶלָּא בְּעֵדִים וּפְרָעוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּעֵדִים חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה הַחוֹב בִּשְׁטָר בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ קַח הַשְּׁטָר וְתֵן לוֹ הַמָּעוֹת בֵּין שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ תֵּן הַמָּעוֹת וְקַח הַשְּׁטָר וְנָתַן בְּלֹא עֵדִים וְלֹא לָקַח הַשְּׁטָר חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁהֲרֵי לְתַקֵּן שְׁלָחוֹ וְלֹא לְעַוֵּת:

7

The following rules apply when a person sends money that he possesses with an agent, saying: "Bring this money to so and so, because I owe it to him," and the agent went and gave the creditor the money outside the presence of witnesses. If the agent said: "I paid," and the creditor or the worker said: "I did not receive it," and the three are standing together the following course of action should be taken.

The agent should take a sh'vuat hesset that he paid the debt. The creditor or the worker should take an oath that he did not receive anything, and then the principal should pay the creditor or the owner of the entrusted object. Even if there were two agents entrusted with making the payment, their testimony is of no consequence, because they are involved parties - for they are required to take a sh'vuat hesset.

When does the above apply? When the agent denies the statements of the creditor and the three are standing together. If, however, the agent comes to the principal and tells him: "I paid your creditor as you instructed me," the principal may not require him to take an oath that he performed the mission, for there is no one who issues a definite claim that he did not perform his mission.

Similarly, if the agents died or traveled overseas, and the creditor came and demanded payment of the debt, the debtor may not require him to take a sh'vuat hesset that the agent did not pay him, for there is no one who issues a definite claim that he received the money. Instead, the debtor should have a ban of ostracism issued against anyone who demands payment a second time. Afterwards, he must pay the debt he owes. Similar principles apply in other analogous situations.

ז

הַשּׁוֹלֵחַ מָעוֹת שֶׁבְּיָדוֹ בְּיַד שְׁלוּחוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ הוֹלֵךְ מָמוֹן זֶה לִפְלוֹנִי שֶׁאֲנִי חַיָּב לוֹ וְהָלַךְ וְנָתַן לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בְּעֵדִים. הַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר נָתַתִּי וּבַעַל חוֹב אוֹ הַפּוֹעֵל אוֹמֵר לֹא לָקַחְתִּי. וַהֲרֵי שְׁלָשְׁתָּן עוֹמְדִין. הַשָּׁלִיחַ נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת שֶׁנָּתַן וּבַעַל חוֹב אוֹ הַפּוֹעֵל נִשְׁבָּע [שְׁבוּעַת הַתּוֹרָה] שֶׁלֹּא לָקַח וִישַׁלֵּם הַלָּה לְבַעַל חוֹב אוֹ לְבַעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ הַשְּׁלוּחִין שְׁנַיִם אֵין עֵדוּתָן מוֹעִילָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן נוֹגְעִין בְּעֵדוּתָן שֶׁהֲרֵי חַיָּבִין לְהִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיָה הַשָּׁלִיחַ מַכְחִישׁ אֶת בַּעַל חוֹב וַהֲרֵי שְׁלָשְׁתָּן עוֹמְדִין. אֲבָל אִם בָּא הַשָּׁלִיחַ וְאָמַר נָתַתִּי כְּמָה שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ לִי אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַשְׁבִּיעוֹ הֶסֵּת שֶׁעָשָׂה שְׁלִיחוּתוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין שָׁם טוֹעֵן עָלָיו טַעֲנַת וַדַּאי שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשָׂה שְׁלִיחוּתוֹ. וְכֵן אִם מֵתוּ הַשְּׁלוּחִין אוֹ הָלְכוּ לָהֶן לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וּבָא בַּעַל חוֹב לִתְבֹּעַ הַלּוֶֹה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַשְׁבִּיעוֹ הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא פְּרָעוֹ הַשָּׁלִיחַ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין כָּאן מִי שֶׁטּוֹעֵן עָלָיו טַעֲנַת וַדַּאי שֶׁלָּקַח אֶלָּא מַחֲרִים הַלּוֶֹה חֵרֶם סְתָם וּמְשַׁלֵּם הַחוֹב שֶׁעָלָיו. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

8

The following laws apply when Reuven sends a letter to Shimon telling him: "You owe me a maneh. Send it to me with Levi." If Shimon is willing to send the money with him, he is no longer responsible for it. This applies whether a loan or an entrusted object is involved, provided he recognized that the letter was written in Reuven's handwriting.

If the creditor claims "I did not write the note or send it to you," the debtor must take a sh'vuat hesset that he received a note and he therefore sent the money. He is not under any further obligation. This is the manner in which my teachers ruled.

Different rules apply, however, if the note was not written in the principal's handwriting, or the debtor did not know that it was written in his handwriting - even if it contained signs and letters that only they knew about. If Reuven claims: "I did not send a letter; other people tricked you," Shimon is responsible for the funds and must pay Reuven if the funds do not reach him after he issues a ban of ostracism against anyone who intentionally sent a letter and denies it. There are those who rule that Reuven must take an oath before collecting the money, as is required of others who take oaths before collecting their due.

ח

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁשָּׁלַח כְּתָב לְשִׁמְעוֹן וְאָמַר לוֹ מָנֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי בְּיָדְךָ שְׁלָחֵהוּ לִי בְּיַד לֵוִי אִם רָצָה לְשַׁלְּחוֹ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתָן בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה מִלְוֶה בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה פִּקָּדוֹן. וְהוּא שֶׁיַּכִּיר שֶׁהוּא כְּתַב יָדוֹ. וְאִם טָעַן הַמַּלְוֶה וְאָמַר לֹא כָּתַבְתִּי וְלֹא שָׁלַחְתִּי לְךָ יִשָּׁבַע הַלּוֶֹה הֶסֵּת שֶׁכְּתַב יָדוֹ בָּא אֵלָיו וּלְפִיכָךְ שָׁלַח וְיִפָּטֵר. וְכָזֶה הוֹרוּ רַבּוֹתַי. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הָיָה הַכְּתָב כְּתַב יָדוֹ אוֹ שֶׁאֵין הַלּוֶֹה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא כְּתַב יָדוֹ אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ כְּתוּבִין בּוֹ סִימָנִין וְאוֹתִיּוֹת שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶן בְּיִחוּד אִם טָעַן רְאוּבֵן וְאָמַר לֹא שָׁלַחְתִּי כְּתָב וַאֲחֵרִים רִמּוּ בּוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ וּמְשַׁלֵּם לוֹ רְאוּבֵן אַחַר שֶׁיַּחֲרִים עַל מִי שֶׁשָּׁלַח כְּתָב זֶה מִדַּעְתּוֹ וְלֹא יוֹדֶה. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהוֹרָה שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע רְאוּבֵן וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִטּל כְּדִין כָּל הַנִּשְׁבָּעִין וְנוֹטְלִין:

9

The following laws apply when Levi comes as an agent of Reuven and takes 50 zuz from Shimon, and then Reuven comes and claims: "I sent him to take only 20, and all that he brought me was 20." Reuven must take an oath supporting his claim, as is required of anyone who admits a portion of the claim made against him. And Levi must take a sh'vuat hesset that he gave Reuven the 50 zuz that were given to him.

If the above scenario was repeated in an instance where Shimon owed money to Reuven, Shimon must pay the difference from his own resources. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ט

לֵוִי שֶׁבָּא בִּשְׁלִיחוּת רְאוּבֵן וְלָקַח חֲמִשִּׁים מִשִּׁמְעוֹן. וּבָא רְאוּבֵן וְאָמַר לֹא שְׁלַחְתִּיו לִקַּח אֶלָּא עֶשְׂרִים וְעֶשְׂרִים בִּלְבַד הֵבִיא. הֲרֵי רְאוּבֵן נִשְׁבָּע שֶׁלֹּא שְׁלָחוֹ לְהָבִיא אֶלָּא עֶשְׂרִים וְעֶשְׂרִים בִּלְבַד הֵבִיא לוֹ כְּדִין כָּל מוֹדֶה מִקְצָת. וְלֵוִי נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת שֶׁהַחֲמִשִּׁים שֶׁנָּתַתָּ לִי נָתַתִּי לִרְאוּבֵן וִישַׁלֵּם שִׁמְעוֹן מִבֵּיתוֹ אִם הָיָה חַיָּב לִרְאוּבֵן. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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