1

The following - all types of partners, sharecroppers, guardians of orphans who were appointed by the court, a woman who does business in the family home or who was charged by her husband to serve as a storekeeper, and a member of the household - are all required by Rabbinic Law to take an oath, despite the fact that the claimant does not have a certain claim against them, lest they may have stolen something from their colleague while performing business on his behalf, or perhaps they were not exact when making a reckoning.

Why did the Sages ordain this oath? Because these people give themselves license, thinking that they are deserving of whatever they will take from the property of the owner, since they do business and work on his behalf. Therefore, the Sages ordained that they are required to take an oath despite the fact that the claimant does not have a certain claim against them, so that they will perform all their deeds justly and in good faith.

א

הַשֻׁתָּפִין כֻּלָּן וְהָאֲרִיסִין וְהָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין שֶׁמִּנּוּ אוֹתָם בֵּית דִּין עַל הַיְתוֹמִים וְהָאִשָּׁה שֶׁהִיא נוֹשֵׂאת וְנוֹתֶנֶת בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת אוֹ שֶׁהוֹשִׁיבָהּ בַּעְלָהּ חֶנְוָנִית וּבֶן הַבַּיִת. כָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ נִשְׁבָּע מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם בְּטַעֲנַת סָפֵק שֶׁמָּא גָּזַל חֲבֵרוֹ בְּמַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן אוֹ שֶׁמָּא לֹא דִּקְדֵּק בַּחֶשְׁבּוֹן שֶׁבֵּינֵיהֶם. וְלָמָּה תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים שְׁבוּעָה זוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵלּוּ מוֹרִין לְעַצְמָן שֶׁכָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּקְּחוּ מִנִּכְסֵי בַּעַל הַמָּעוֹת רָאוּי הוּא לָהֶם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנּוֹשְׂאִין וְנוֹתְנִין וְטוֹרְחִין. לְפִיכָךְ תִּקְּנוּ לָהֶם חֲכָמִים שֶׁחַיָּבִין שְׁבוּעָה בְּטַעֲנַת סָפֵק כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּעֲשׂוּ כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶן בְּצֶדֶק וֶאֱמוּנָה:

2

None of the above are required to take an oath because of an indefinite claim until the plaintiff suspects them of taking two silver pieces - i.e., two silver me'ah, as will be explained. If, however, they are suspected of taking less than this amount, they are not required to take an oath.

ב

וְאֵין כָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ נִשְׁבָּע בְּטַעֲנַת סָפֵק עַד שֶׁיַּחְשֹׁד הַמַּשְׁבִּיעַ אוֹתָן בִּשְׁתֵּי כֶּסֶף שֶׁהֵן שְׁתֵּי מָעִין שֶׁל כֶּסֶף כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. אֲבָל אִם חוֹשְׁדָן בְּפָחוֹת מִזֶּה אֵינָם נִשְׁבָּעִין:

3

Based on this, my teachers ruled that if one partner died, the heirs cannot compel their father's partners to take an oath concerning an indefinite claim. For they are not knowledgeable about their father's affairs and do not know for certain that their father suspected the partner of wrongdoing so that it can be said that the heirs suspect the partner of taking two silver me'ah.

There are, however, others who rule that the heir may require him to take an oath despite the fact that his claim is indefinite. It is proper to rule in this manner. For we see that the heirs may require a widow who became a guardian during the lifetime of her husband to take an oath.

ג

מִכָּאן הוֹרוּ רַבּוֹתַי שֶׁאִם מֵת הַשֻׁתָּף הָאֶחָד אֵין הַיּוֹרֵשׁ יָכוֹל לְהַשְׁבִּיעַ שֻׁתָּפוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו בְּטַעֲנַת שֶׁמָּא שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ הַדָּבָר שֶׁחֲשָׁדוֹ בּוֹ אָבִיו בְּוַדַּאי כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּחְשֹׁד אוֹתוֹ זֶה הַיּוֹרֵשׁ בִּשְׁתֵּי כֶּסֶף. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהוֹרָה שֶׁמַּשְׁבִּיעַ אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹרֵשׁ בְּטַעֲנַת שֶׁמָּא וְכָזֶה רָאוּי לָדוּן שֶׁהֲרֵי הַיּוֹרְשִׁין מַשְׁבִּיעִין אֶת הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂת אַפּוֹטְרוֹפָּא בְּחַיֵּי בַּעְלָהּ:

4

Although there are no witnesses that a person was his colleague's sharecropper or partner, but rather he himself admits to this fact, saying: "I am his partner, sharecropper or member of his household - but I did not steal anything from him," he must take an oath while holding a sacred article. The rationale is that we do not employ the principle of migo to free a person from the responsibility of taking an oath, but only to free him from a financial commitment.

Which member of the household can be required to take an oath because of an indefinite claim? One who brings workers in and leads workers out, who brings produce in and takes produce out. When, however, a member of the household is not involved in the business affairs of the household, but merely enters and leaves, he cannot be required to take an oath because of an indefinite claim.

Similarly, a guardian appointed by the father of orphans before his death cannot be required by the orphans to take an oath because of an indefinite claim. Similarly, a woman who did not serve as a guardian in her husband's lifetime, and did not do business with the property of the estate after her husband's burial cannot be required to take an oath because of an indefinite claim.

Similarly, if she did business with the property of the estate between her husband's death and burial, she is not required to take an oath regarding the transactions conducted during this period. For if she were required to take an oath, she would not sell any property in order to make the burial possible, and the deceased would become loathsome.

ד

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם עֵדִים שֶׁזֶּה אֲרִיסוֹ אוֹ שֻׁתָּפוֹ אֶלָּא הוּא מוֹדֶה מִפִּי עַצְמוֹ וְאָמַר שֻׁתָּפוֹ אוֹ אֲרִיסוֹ אוֹ בֶּן בֵּיתוֹ אֲנִי אֲבָל לֹא גָּזַלְתִּי כְּלוּם הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים מִגּוֹ לְפָטְרוֹ שְׁבוּעָה אֶלָּא לְפָטְרוֹ מָמוֹן. אֵיזֶהוּ בֶּן הַבַּיִת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לְהַשְׁבִּיעַ בְּטַעֲנַת סָפֵק. זֶה שֶׁמַּכְנִיס פּוֹעֲלִים וּמוֹצִיא פּוֹעֲלִים וּמַכְנִיס לוֹ פֵּרוֹת וּמוֹצִיא לוֹ פֵּרוֹת. אֲבָל בֶּן הַבַּיִת שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן אֶלָּא נִכְנָס בְּרַגְלוֹ וְיוֹצֵא בִּלְבַד אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַשְׁבִּיעַ מִסָּפֵק. וְכֵן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס שֶׁמִּנָּהוּ אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים אֵין הַיְתוֹמִים מַשְׁבִּיעִין אוֹתוֹ בְּטַעֲנַת סָפֵק. וְכֵן הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשֵׂת אַפּוֹטְרוֹפָּא בְּחַיֵּי בַּעְלָהּ וְלֹא נָשְׂאָה וְלֹא נָתְנָה לְאַחַר קְבוּרַת בַּעְלָהּ אֵין מַשְׁבִּיעִין אוֹתָהּ מִסָּפֵק. וְכֵן אִם נָשְׂאָה וְנָתְנָה בֵּין מִיתָה וּקְבוּרָה אֵין מַשְׁבִּיעִין עַל זֶה שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בֵּין מִיתָה לִקְבוּרָה. שֶׁאִם אַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁתִּשָּׁבַע עַל זֶה לֹא תִּמְכֹּר לִקְבוּרָה וְנִמְצָא הַמֵּת מִתְנַוֵּל:

5

When a person sends an article with a colleague to sell, or sends money with him to purchase produce or merchandise for him, even though the principal did not pay the agent a wage, and the agent does not own any portion of the merchandise nor derive any benefit from it, since he did business with his colleague's money, he is considered a member of his household. Even though the principal has merely an indefinite claim, the agent can be required to take an oath that he did not steal anything from him when he brought him the merchandise that he purchased or a portion of it, or the money from the sale he conducted for him.

ה

הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ בְּיַד חֲבֵרוֹ חֵפֶץ לְמָכְרוֹ אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁלַח מָעוֹת בְּיָדוֹ לִקְנוֹת לוֹ פֵּרוֹת אוֹ סְחוֹרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נָתַן לוֹ שָׂכָר עַל זֶה וְאֵין לוֹ חֵלֶק וְלֹא הֲנָאָה בִּשְׁלִיחוּת זוֹ הוֹאִיל וְנָשָׂא וְנָתַן בְּמָמוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּבֶן בַּיִת. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַשְׁבִּיעַ מִסָּפֵק שֶׁלֹּא גָּזַל לוֹ כְּלוּם בְּעֵת שֶׁהֵבִיא לוֹ הַסְּחוֹרָה שֶׁקָּנָה אוֹ מִקְּצָתָהּ אוֹ הַמָּעוֹת שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ מֵהֶן:

6

When both partners are involved in the business of the partnership or the one who is involved in the business entrusts the merchandise - or a portion of the merchandise - or the funds belonging to the partnership without weighing, measuring or counting them, there is a doubt concerning both of them, and either one can require the other to take the oath required of a partner. If, however, only one of the partners does business and the other is not involved in the business dealings at all, only the former can be required to take this oath.

ו

הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁנּוֹשְׂאִין וְנוֹתְנִין בְּיַחַד אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה הָאֶחָד נוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן וּמַפְקִיד הַסְּחוֹרָה אוֹ מִקְּצָתָהּ אוֹ הַמָּעוֹת עִם הַשֵּׁנִי בְּלֹא מִשְׁקָל וְלֹא מִדָּה וְלֹא מִנְיָן הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם נִכְנָסִין לְסָפֵק וְיֵשׁ לְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן לְהַשְׁבִּיעַ אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ שְׁבוּעַת הַשֻּׁתָּפִין. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הָאֶחָד הוּא שֶׁנּוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן וְהַשֵּׁנִי לֹא נִתְעַסֵּק עִמּוֹ כְּלָל אֵין נִשְׁבָּע אֶלָּא זֶה שֶׁנָּשָׂא וְנָתַן:

7

The above oath can be administered when the initial relationship is still current. If, however, the partners or the sharecroppers dissolved their relationship, the woman was divorced, the member of the household went elsewhere, or the agent brought the principal the merchandise he purchased for him or the money from the merchandise he sold for him, the principal remained silent without making a claim against the other party, and the other party departed, the principal is not able to require that other party to take an oath because of an indefinite claim afterwards. If, however, the principal has a definite claim against him, he can require him to take an oath, and then require him to take additional oaths concerning anything he desires.

Similarly, if at a later time, the other person is required to take an oath to the principal - whether required by Scriptural Law or by Rabbinic Law - e.g., he became a partner or a member of the person's household again - the principal can require him to take an oath that he did not steal anything during their present partnership or while he was his partner, sharecropper, member of his household or guardian previously. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ז

חָלְקוּ הַשֻּׁתָּפִין וְהָאֲרִיסִין וְנִתְגָרְשָׁה הָאִשָּׁה וְנִפְרַד מֵעָלָיו בֶּן הַבַּיִת וְהֵבִיא לוֹ הַשָּׁלִיחַ סְחוֹרָה שֶׁקָּנָה לוֹ אוֹ מָעוֹת שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ בָּהֶן וְשָׁתַק וְהָלְכוּ לָהֶם וְלֹא תְבָעָם מִיָּד אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר וּלְהַשְׁבִּיעוֹ בְּטַעֲנַת סָפֵק. אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה לוֹ טַעֲנַת וַדַּאי מַשְׁבִּיעוֹ עָלֶיהָ וּמְגַלְגֵּל בָּהּ כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה. וְכֵן אִם נִתְחַיֵּב לוֹ שְׁבוּעָה אַחַר זְמַן בֵּין שֶׁל תּוֹרָה בֵּין שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם כְּגוֹן שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה לוֹ שֻׁתָּף אוֹ בֶּן בַּיִת פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת הֲרֵי זֶה יָכוֹל לְגַלְגֵּל עָלָיו שֶׁלֹּא גְּזָלְתַּנִי בְּשֻׁתָּפוּת זוֹ שֶׁבֵּינֵינוּ וְלֹא כְּשֶׁהָיִיתָ שֻׁתָּפִי אוֹ אֲרִיסִי אוֹ בֶּן בֵּיתִי אוֹ אַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּי בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

8

When partners have dissolved their partnership, but the partnership is still owed debts by others, the partners cannot require each other to take an oath because of an indefinite claim, for they have already divided the partnership's resources. The debts that remain are not significant in this context, for they are matters of public knowledge. When any portion of the debt is repaid, they will each take their appropriate portion of the debt.

Similar concepts apply if it has been made known that cash remains in the coffers of the partnership, but the partners have not taken their portion of that cash. Neither may require an oath of the other, because cash is considered as if it is already divided.

Similarly, if a reckoning was made of the assets of the partnership possessed by all the partners, and it was determined that one partner was holding a specific and known entity belonging to another, it is considered as if the assets were divided, even though he had not taken it as of that time.

If, however, any of the produce belonging to the partnership remained, and it had not been divided or weighed, or any dimension of the partnership remained concerning which an accounting had not been made and thus, neither of them knew the extent of the portion that is due him, the partnership is still considered viable, and either may require the other to take the oath mentioned above.

ח

הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁחָלְקוּ וְנִשְׁאַר לָהֶם חוֹבוֹת אֵצֶל אֲחֵרִים אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לְהַשְׁבִּיעַ זֶה אֶת זֶה מִסָּפֵק שֶׁהֲרֵי חָלְקוּ וְהַחוֹב שֶׁנִּשְׁאַר דָּבָר יָדוּעַ הוּא בְּכָל מַה שֶּׁיִּפְרְעוּ יִקַּח זֶה חֶלְקוֹ מִן הַחוֹב וְזֶה חֶלְקוֹ מִן הַחוֹב. וְכֵן אִם נִשְׁאַר לָהֶם מָעוֹת בַּכִּיס וּכְבָר יָדְעוּ אוֹתָן וַעֲדַיִן לֹא נָטְלוּ כָּל אֶחָד חֶלְקוֹ אֵין מַשְׁבִּיעִין זֶה אֶת זֶה שֶׁהַמָּעוֹת כַּחֲלוּקִין הֵם. וְכֵן אִם עָשׂוּ חֶשְׁבּוֹן כָּל הַשֻּׁתָּפִין וְנִשְׁאַר לְאֶחָד מֵהֶן אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ דָּבָר קָצוּב וְיָדוּעַ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נָטְלוּ הֲרֵי חָלְקוּ. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁאַר בֵּינֵיהֶם כָּל שֶׁהוּא מִן הַפֵּרוֹת וַעֲדַיִן לֹא חָלְקוּ אוֹתָן וְלֹא יָדְעוּ מִשְׁקָלָם אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁאַר בֵּינֵיהֶם צַד מִן הַשֻּׁתָּפוּת שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ בּוֹ חֶשְׁבּוֹן וְלֹא יָדַע כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן כַּמָּה חֶלְקוֹ הַמַּגִּיעוֹ הֲרֵי הַשֻּׁתָּפוּת קַיֶּמֶת עֲדַיִן וּמַשְׁבִּיעִין זֶה אֶת זֶה:

9

When a person issues a claim against a colleague after the dissolution of a partnership, he cannot compel him to take an oath except through the convention of gilgul sh'vuah, as explained above. He may, however, have a ban of ostracism issued against anyone who stole from his colleague while he was his partner, sharecropper or member of his household, and does not admit that he stole.

ט

מִי שֶׁתָּבַע אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אַחַר חֲלוּקָה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַשְׁבִּיעוֹ אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי גִּלְגּוּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ אֲבָל יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַחֲרִים סְתָם עַל מִי שֶׁגְּזָלוֹ כְּלוּם כְּשֶׁהָיָה שֻׁתָּפוֹ אוֹ אֲרִיסוֹ אוֹ בֶּן בֵּיתוֹ וְלֹא יוֹדֶה בְּמַה שֶּׁגָּזַל: