1

The wording of a bill of release must connote that it is severing the connection between the slave and his master, so that his master no longer has any rights with regard to him. Therefore, if a master writes to his slave: "You and everything I own except for such and such a property or such and such a garment are now your property," the connection between them is not severed. The bill of release is nullified. And since the bill of release is not effective, the slave is not freed and he does not acquire any of the property. The same principles apply in all analogous situations.

א

גֵּט שִׁחְרוּר צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה עִנְיָנוֹ דָּבָר הַכּוֹרֵת בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין אֲדוֹנָיו וְלֹא יִשָּׁאֵר לָאָדוֹן בּוֹ זְכוּת. לְפִיכָךְ הַכּוֹתֵב לְעַבְדּוֹ עַצְמְךָ וְכָל נְכָסַי קְנוּיִין לְךָ חוּץ מִמָּקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי אוֹ חוּץ מִטַּלִּית פְּלוֹנִית אֵין זֶה כּוֹרֵת וְהַגֵּט בָּטֵל וּמִתּוֹךְ שֶׁאֵינוֹ גֵּט אֵין הָעֶבֶד מְשֻׁחְרָר וְלֹא קָנָה מִן הַנְּכָסִים כְּלוּם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

2

When a slave brings a bill of release that states: "Your person and my property are acquired by you," he acquires his own person and becomes a free man immediately. He does not, however, acquire the property until the authenticity of the signatures to the document are verified, as is the law with regard to other legal documents.

Similarly, if the document states: "All my property is acquired by you," he acquires his own person, but does not, however, acquire the property until the authenticity of the signatures to the document is verified. We divide the content of the document and say: "He acquires his own freedom, for we trust him when he brings his own bill of release, and he does not have to verify the authenticity of the document. With regard to property, a person does not acquire it unless he has clear proof of his ownership. Therefore, he does not acquire it until the authenticity of the document is verified.

ב

עֶבֶד שֶׁהֵבִיא גֵּט וְכָתוּב בּוֹ עַצְמְךָ וּנְכָסַי קְנוּיִין לְךָ עַצְמוֹ קָנָה וַהֲרֵי הוּא בֶּן חוֹרִין אֲבָל הַנְּכָסִים לֹא קָנָה עַד שֶׁיִּתְקַיֵּם הַגֵּט בְּחוֹתְמָיו כִּשְׁאָר הַשְּׁטָרוֹת. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה כָּתוּב בּוֹ כָּל נְכָסַי קְנוּיִין לְךָ קָנָה עַצְמוֹ וְלֹא קָנָה הַנְּכָסִים עַד שֶׁיִּתְקַיֵּם הַגֵּט בְּחוֹתְמָיו שֶׁחוֹלְקִים הַדִּבּוּר וְאוֹמְרִים עַצְמוֹ קָנָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא נֶאֱמָן לְהָבִיא גֵּט שִׁחְרוּרוֹ וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְקַיְּמוֹ אֲבָל הַנְּכָסִים שֶׁאֵין אָדָם קוֹנֶה אוֹתָם אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה לֹא יִקְנֶה אוֹתָם עַד שֶׁיִּתְקַיֵּם הַשְּׁטָר:

3

When a master frees two slaves with one bill of release, they do not acquire their freedom. Instead, one must write a bill of release for each slave individually. Therefore, if a person writes a single legal document transferring all his property to two slaves, they do not acquire even their own persons. If the master wrote two documents, one for each slave, they acquire the property and free each other.

When does the above apply? When the master wrote in each legal document: "All my property is given to so and so and so and so, my slaves." If, however, he writes: "Half of my property is given to so and so, my slave, and the other half is given to so and so, my slave," even if the owner wrote two documents, the slaves do not acquire anything. For the slaves are included in the master's property, and possession of half of each one is retained. Thus, this is not a valid release, and since the slave was not freed, he does not acquire any of the property.

ג

הַמְשַׁחְרֵר שְׁנֵי עֲבָדִים בִּשְׁטָר אֶחָד לֹא קָנוּ עַצְמָן אֶלָּא כּוֹתְבִין שְׁטָר לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד. לְפִיכָךְ הַכּוֹתֵב כָּל נְכָסָיו לִשְׁנֵי עֲבָדָיו בִּשְׁטָר אֶחָד אַף עַצְמָן לֹא קָנוּ. וְאִם כָּתַב בִּשְׁנֵי שְׁטָרוֹת קָנוּ וּמְשַׁחְרְרִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁכָּתַב בְּכָל שְׁטָר מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם כָּל נְכָסַי נְתוּנִים לִפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי עַבְדִּי. אֲבָל אִם כָּתַב חֲצִי נְכָסַי לִפְלוֹנִי עַבְדִּי וַחֲצִי נְכָסַי לִפְלוֹנִי עַבְדִּי אַף בִּשְׁנֵי שְׁטָרוֹת לֹא קָנוּ כְּלוּם שֶׁהָעֶבֶד מִכְּלַל נְכָסִים וַהֲרֵי שִׁיֵּר בּוֹ חֶצְיוֹ וְאֵין זֶה שִׁחְרוּר וְכֵיוָן שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁתַּחְרֵר לֹא קָנָה מִן הַנְּכָסִים כְּלוּם:

4

When a person seeks to release half of his slave with a bill of release, the slave does not acquire half of his person, and he is a slave just as he was before. If, by contrast, he releases half of a slave, because of a monetary payment - e.g., he took money for half his worth with the intent of freeing that half - the transaction is binding. Thus, he is half slave and half free man.

When does the above apply? When the master released half of the slave and retained half. If, however, he freed half of the slave with a legal document and sold the other half, or he freed half with a legal document and gave the other half as a present, since the slave leaves his domain entirely, the slave acquires half of his person, and he is half a slave and half a free man.

Similarly, when a slave is owned by two partners, and one frees his half - whether through money or through a legal document - the slave acquires his half, and he is half slave and half free man.

ד

הַמְשַׁחְרֵר חֲצִי עַבְדּוֹ בִּשְׁטָר לֹא קָנָה הָעֶבֶד חֶצְיוֹ וַהֲרֵי הוּא עֶבֶד כְּשֶׁהָיָה. אֲבָל אִם שִׁחְרֵר חֶצְיוֹ בְּכֶסֶף כְּגוֹן שֶׁלָּקַח חֲצִי דָּמָיו עַל מְנָת לְשַׁחְרֵר חֶצְיוֹ קָנָה וְנִמְצָא חֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁשִּׁחְרֵר חֶצְיוֹ בִּשְׁטָר וְהִנִּיחַ חֶצְיוֹ. אֲבָל אִם שִׁחְרֵר חֶצְיוֹ וּמָכַר חֶצְיוֹ אוֹ שֶׁשִּׁחְרֵר חֶצְיוֹ וְנָתַן חֶצְיוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה הוֹאִיל וְיָצָא הָעֶבֶד כֻּלּוֹ מֵרְשׁוּתוֹ קָנָה הָעֶבֶד חֶצְיוֹ וַהֲרֵי זֶה חֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין. וְכֵן עֶבֶד שֶׁל שְׁנֵי שֻׁתָּפִין וְשִׁחְרֵר אֶחָד מֵהֶן חֶלְקוֹ בֵּין בְּכֶסֶף בֵּין בִּשְׁטָר קָנָה הָעֶבֶד חֶצְיוֹ וַהֲרֵי הוּא חֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין:

5

When a master composes a bill of release for his maid-servant who is pregnant, stating "You are free, but your child-to-be remains a slave," his words are binding. If, however, it states: "You remain a maid-servant, but your child- to-be is free," it is of no consequence. For this is as if he freed half of the maid-servant using a legal document.

ה

הַכּוֹתֵב לְשִׁפְחָתוֹ מְעֻבֶּרֶת הֲרֵי אַתְּ בַּת חוֹרִין וּוְלָדֵךְ עֶבֶד דְּבָרָיו קַיָּמִין. הֲרֵי אַתְּ שִׁפְחָה וּוְלָדֵךְ בֶּן חוֹרִין לֹא אָמַר וְלֹא כְּלוּם שֶׁזֶּה כְּמִי שֶׁמְּשַׁחְרֵר חֶצְיָהּ:

6

With regard to a shifchah charufah: If the master desires to free her other half, making her a woman who is consecrated entirely, he may free her - whether with money or with a legal document. For even money completes her release.

ו

שִׁפְחָה חֲרוּפָה אִם רָצָה לְשַׁחְרֵר חֶצְיָהּ הַנִּשְׁאָר וְתֵעָשֶׂה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מְשַׁחְרֵר בֵּין בְּכֶסֶף בֵּין בִּשְׁטָר שֶׁאַף הַכֶּסֶף גּוֹמֵר שִׁחְרוּרָהּ:

7

A person who is half slave and half free is not permitted to marry a Canaanite maid-servant, nor a free woman. Therefore, we compel his master to make him a free man. And we have a promissory note composed stating that the slave owes the master half his value.

When does the above apply? For a male slave. For a male is commanded to be fruitful and multiply. A maid-servant, however, should remain in her immediate state and serve her master one day, and herself the next. If sinners treat her loosely, we compel her master to free her. And we have a promissory note composed stating that she owes the master half her value.

ז

מִי שֶׁחֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ מֻתָּר לֹא בְּשִׁפְחָה וְלֹא בְּבַת חוֹרִין כּוֹפִין אֶת רַבּוֹ וְעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין וְכוֹתֵב שְׁטָר עָלָיו בַּחֲצִי דָּמָיו. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּעֶבֶד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָאִישׁ מְצֻוֶּה עַל פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה. אֲבָל הַשִּׁפְחָה תִּשָּׁאֵר כְּמוֹת שֶׁהִיא וְעוֹבֶדֶת אֶת רַבָּה יוֹם אֶחָד וְאֶת עַצְמָהּ יוֹם אֶחָד. וְאִם נָהֲגוּ בָּהּ הַחוֹטְאִים מִנְהַג הֶפְקֵר כּוֹפִין אֶת רַבָּה לְשַׁחְרֵר וְכוֹתֵב עָלֶיהָ שְׁטָר בַּחֲצִי דָּמֶיהָ:

8

When a person is half slave and half free, and his master transferred the half he owns to his son who is below majority, so that the court would not be able to compel him to release him, the court appoints a guardian for the minor, and the guardian writes a bill of release. And we have a promissory note composed stating that the slave owes the master half his value.

If the minor needs the slave and has pangs of yearning for the slave, we separate him from him with money, for a minor has a great attraction for money.

ח

מִי שֶׁחֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין שֶׁעָמַד רַבּוֹ וְהִקְנָה חֶצְיוֹ לִבְנוֹ הַקָּטָן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יָכֹפוּ אוֹתוֹ בֵּית דִּין לְשַׁחְרְרוֹ מַעֲמִידִין בֵּית דִּין לַקָּטָן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס וְכוֹתֵב לוֹ הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס גֵּט שִׁחְרוּר וְכוֹתֵב לוֹ שְׁטַר חוֹב בַּחֲצִי דָּמָיו. וְאִם נִצְטָרֵךְ הַקָּטָן בְּעֶבֶד וְיֵשׁ לוֹ גַּעְגּוּעִין עָלָיו מַפְלִיגִין אוֹתוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בְּמָעוֹת שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁל קָטָן קָרוֹב אֵצֶל מָעוֹת:

9

When a dying man who had a legal document composed, transferring all of his property to a servant, recovers, he regains possession of the property. He does not, however, regain possession of the servant, for he has already acquired the reputation of being a free man.

ט

שְׁכִיב מֵרַע שֶׁכָּתַב כָּל נְכָסָיו לְעַבְדּוֹ וְעָמַד חוֹזֵר בַּנְּכָסִים וְאֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר בָּעֶבֶד שֶׁהֲרֵי יָצָא עָלָיו שֵׁם בֶּן חוֹרִין: