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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 12

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Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 12


We do not expropriate payment from heirs unless they are past majority. When the heirs are below majority, by contrast, we do not collect a debt supported by a promissory note from them.


אֵין נִפְרָעִין מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיוּ גְּדוֹלִים. אֲבָל יוֹרְשִׁין קְטַנִּים אֵין נִפְרָעִין מֵהֶן שְׁטַר חוֹב:


Even if the promissory note contains all the stipulations in the world, the creditor may not use it to collect the debt until the heirs attain majority, lest they have proof that would disavow the promissory note.


וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה בּוֹ כָּל תְּנַאי שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם לֹא יִפָּרַע בּוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּילוּ הַיְתוֹמִים שֶׁמָּא יֵשׁ לָהֶן רְאָיָה שֶׁשּׁוֹבְרִין בָּהּ אֶת הַשְּׁטָר:


If the loan was a debt at interest owed to a gentile, we appoint a guardian, attach the property that the minor inherited, sell it, and pay the debt. The rationale is that the interest consumes the estate.

Similarly, if a woman demands payment of the money due her by virtue of her ketubah - whether she is the deceased's widow or divorcee - we appoint a guardian for the heirs and attach the deceased's property, so that the woman will gain favor in the eyes of others; i.e., so that she will have a minimum of property so that she will remarry. Hence, if the woman hurried and remarried and then came to demand payment of the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from the estate acquired by the heirs, we do not pay heed to her until the heirs come of age." The rationale is that she is no longer entitled to receive her sustenance from the estate of the deceased, and she has remarried.


הָיְתָה הַמִּלְוֶה רִבִּית שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהֲרֵי הָרִבִּית אוֹכֶלֶת בְּנִכְסֵיהֶן מַעֲמִידִין לָהֶם אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס וְנִזְקָקִין לְנִכְסֵיהֶן וּמוֹכְרִין וּפוֹרְעִין הַחוֹב. וְכֵן אִשָּׁה שֶׁתָּבְעָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ בֵּין אַלְמָנָה בֵּין גְּרוּשָׁה מַעֲמִידִים לָהֶם אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס וְנִזְקָקִין מִשּׁוּם חֵן הָאִשָּׁה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לָהּ כְּלוּם שֶׁתִּנָּשֵׂא בּוֹ הָאִשָּׁה לְאַחֵר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם קָפְצָה הָאִשָּׁה וְנִשֵּׂאת וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאת לִתְבֹּעַ כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מִנִּכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים אֵין נִזְקָקִין לָהּ עַד שֶׁיִּגְדְּלוּ הַיְתוֹמִים שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לָהּ מְזוֹנוֹת וַהֲרֵי נִשֵּׂאת:


Several of the Geonim have ruled that if the estate left to the heirs does not have more than the money due the woman because of her ketubah, or it contains less than that amount, we do not pay heed to her. For the heirs will have no benefit from paying the money due the woman because of her ketubah.

According to this opinion, our Sages said: "We attach the estate left to heirs to pay a woman the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from it," only so that the estate would not become devalued because of the need to pay for the widow's sustenance." And in this instance, since the woman takes everything, of what value is it to the heirs who are below majority that the property is attached? These views were not concerned with increasing the favor of the woman in the eyes of others.


הוֹרוּ מִקְצָת הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁאִם הָיוּ הַנְּכָסִים כְּנֶגֶד הַכְּתֻבָּה בִּלְבַד אוֹ פְּחוּתִים מִמֶּנָּה אֵין נִזְקָקִין לָהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין כָּאן זְכוּת לַיְתוֹמִים שֶׁלֹּא אָמְרוּ נִזְקָקִין לְנִכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים לְהִפָּרַע מֵהֶן הַכְּתוּבָה אֶלָּא כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִפְחֲתוּ הַנְּכָסִים מֵחֲמַת הַמְּזוֹנוֹת וְזֹאת הוֹאִיל וְהִיא נוֹטֶלֶת הַכּל מַה זְּכוּת יֵשׁ לַיְתוֹמִים הַקְּטַנִּים בְּדָבָר זֶה עַד שֶׁנִּזְקָקִין לָהֶן. וְלֹא חָשׁוּ לְחֵן הָאִשָּׁה:


If the testator gave a command, saying: "Give a maneh to so-and-so," we pay heed to the claim, after appointing a guardian for the heirs to advance arguments on behalf of the interests of the heirs. If the testator says: "Give this maneh to so-and-so" or "... this field to so-and-so," we make the endowment; there is no need to appoint a guardian for the heirs.


צִוָּה הַמּוֹרִישָׁן וְאָמַר תְּנוּ מָנֶה לִפְלוֹנִי נִזְקָקִין אַחַר שֶׁמַּעֲמִידִין לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס לִטְעֹן טַעֲנָתָם. אָמַר תְּנוּ מָנֶה זֶה לִפְלוֹנִי אוֹ שָׂדֶה זוֹ לִפְלוֹנִי נוֹתְנִין וְאֵין צְרִיכִים לְהַעֲמִיד לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס:


If it is discovered that land in the estate does not rightfully belong to the heirs, but instead, the plaintiff claims that the property was stolen by the person whose property they inherited, we pay heed to the claim and appoint a guardian to argue and enter into litigation on their behalf. If it is discovered that the property was in fact stolen, we return it to its owners.

Similarly, if a minor had his servants mount an attack and enter property belonging to a colleague and take control of it, we do not say that we will wait until he attains majority before the matter is adjudicated. Instead, we expropriate the property from him immediately. When he attains majority, if he has witnesses who support his claim, he should bring his witnesses.


נִמְצֵאת קַרְקַע שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁלָּהֶן אֶלָּא טָעַן הַטּוֹעֵן שֶׁהִיא גֵּזֶל בְּיַד מוֹרִישָׁיו נִזְקָקִין לָהֶן וּמַעֲמִידִים לָהֶן אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס לִטְעֹן וְלָדוּן. אִם נִמְצֵאת גְּזוּלָה מַחְזִירִים אוֹתָהּ לִבְעָלֶיהָ. וְכֵן קָטָן שֶׁתָּקַף בַּעֲבָדָיו וְיָרַד לְתוֹךְ שְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ וּכְבָשָׁהּ אֵין אוֹמְרִין נַמְתִּין לוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּיל אֶלָּא מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָהּ מִיָּדוֹ וְלִכְשֶׁיַּגְדִּיל אִם יֵשׁ לוֹ עֵדִים יָבִיא עֵדָיו:


When land is presumed to be the property of minors, the land is not expropriated from them until they attain majority even in the following situation. Another person comes and claims that he had purchased that land from the person from whom they inherited it, and the purchaser has witnesses who will testify that he established his possession of this land and benefited from it for three years in the lifetime of the deceased. The rationale is that we accept the testimony of witnesses only when delivered in the presence of the litigant against whom they are testifying. And the minor is considered as if he is not present.

If, however, the plaintiff produced a deed of sale that states that the field is property that he purchased, he must validate the authenticity of the deed of sale. Afterwards, he may expropriate the property from the heirs after a guardian is appointed for them.


קַרְקַע שֶׁהָיְתָה בְּחֶזְקַת קְטַנִּים וּבָא אַחֵר וְטָעַן שֶׁהִיא לְקוּחָה מִמּוֹרִישָׁן וְיֵשׁ לוֹ עֵדִים שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בָּהּ וַאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה בְּחַיֵּי אֲבִיהֶן אֵין מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָהּ מִיָּדָן עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּילוּ שֶׁאֵין מְקַבְּלִין עֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי בַּעַל דִּין וְהַקָּטָן כְּאִלּוּ אֵינוֹ עוֹמֵד כָּאן הוּא חָשׁוּב. אֲבָל אִם הוֹצִיא שְׁטָר שֶׁהִיא לְקוּחָה בְּיָדוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְקַיֵּם אֶת הַשְּׁטָר וּמוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָהּ מִיָּדָן אַחַר שֶׁמַּעֲמִידִים לָהֶם אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס:


When the court attaches property belonging to heirs for the purpose of selling it, they evaluate the property and then announce the sale for 30 consecutive days or on Mondays and Thursdays over the span of 60 consecutive days. Announcements are made in the morning and the evening, when workers enter the city, and when workers are sent out to their tasks. Whoever desires to purchase the property can bring his workers there to investigate it.

When an announcement is made, the borders of the field are clarified. They make known its yield, the evaluation given by the court and the reason it is being sold - to repay a creditor or to pay a woman the money due her by virtue of her ketubah. For there are some people who desire to repay a creditor and others who desire to pay a woman the money due her by virtue of her ketubah.


כְּשֶׁנִּזְקָקִין בֵּית דִּין לְנִכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים לִמְכֹּר שָׁמִין אֶת הַקַּרְקַע וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַכְרִיזִין עָלֶיהָ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם רְצוּפִין אוֹ שִׁשִּׁים יוֹם שֵׁנִי וַחֲמִישִׁי. וּמַכְרִיזִים בַּבֹּקֶר וּבָעֶרֶב בִּשְׁעַת הַכְנָסַת פּוֹעֲלִים וּבִשְׁעַת הוֹצָאַת פּוֹעֲלִין וְכָל מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לִקְנוֹת יוֹלִיךְ הַפּוֹעֲלִין לְבַקֵּר לוֹ. וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּכְרִיזִין מְסַיְּמִים אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה בִּמְצָרֶיהָ וּמוֹדִיעִין כַּמָּה יָפָה וּבְכַמָּה הוּא שׁוּמָה וּמִפְּנֵי מָה רוֹצִים לְמָכְרָהּ אִם לְהַגְבּוֹת לְבַעַל חוֹב אוֹ לִכְתֻבַּת אִשָּׁה לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לִתֵּן לְבַעַל חוֹב וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לְהַגְבּוֹת לְאִשָּׁה:


When an adrachta is written with regard to property belonging to heirs -whether they are above majority or below majority - the court must write: "And we identified the property as belonging to so-and-so, the deceased." If they did not write this, the adrachta is invalid, and a purchaser may not benefit from the proceeds of the property even though the announcements of the property's sale were completed.


וּכְשֶׁכּוֹתְבִין הָאַדְרַכְתָּא עַל נִכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים בֵּין גְּדוֹלִים בֵּין קְטַנִּים כּוֹתְבִין בָּהּ וְהִכַּרְנוּ שֶׁהַנְּכָסִים הָאֵלּוּ הֵן שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי הַמֵּת. וְאִם לֹא כָּתְבוּ כָּךְ הֲרֵי אַדְרַכְתָּא זוֹ פְּסוּלָה וְאֵין אוֹכְלִין בָּהּ פֵּרוֹת אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁלְמוּ הַהַכְרָזוֹת:


When a court sells property without announcing its sale beforehand, it is considered as if they erred in a matter explicitly stated in the Mishnah. The sale is nullified, and the property is sold again after announcements are made.

When a court sells property, the financial responsibility for it is incumbent on the heirs.


בֵּית דִּין שֶׁמָּכְרוּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּהַכְרָזָה נַעֲשׂוּ כְּמִי שֶׁטָּעוּ בִּדְבַר מִשְׁנָה וְחוֹזְרִים וּמוֹכְרִין בְּהַכְרָזָה. וּבֵית דִּין שֶׁמָּכְרוּ הָאַחֲרָיוּת עַל הַיְתוֹמִים:


When a court made announcements in the proper manner, investigated the matter thoroughly and carefully evaluated the property, their sale is binding even though they erred and sold property worth a maneh for 200, or property worth 200 for a maneh.

The following rules apply when, by contrast, the court was not careful in evaluating the property or did not compose a notice of evaluation, which details its assessment and the announcement of the sale of the property, and it erred in its appraisal. If they evaluated it at a sixth more than its value or at a sixth less than its value, the sale is nullified. If the error was less than a sixth, the sale is binding.

Similar concepts apply if a court sold landed property at a time when it was not necessary to announce its sale beforehand. If it erred and devalued the property by a sixth or overvalued it by a sixth, their sale is nullified. This applies even if it announced the sale beforehand. If their error was less than a sixth, its sale is binding even though it did not announce the sale. For an announcement was not necessary in these situations.

In which situations is it not necessary to make announcements before the sale of property? When land is sold to bury the deceased, for the sustenance of his wife and his daughters, or to pay the head-tax to the king, it is not necessary to announce the sale, because the matter is pressing.

Similar concepts apply if a court sold types of property whose sale need not be announced beforehand. If it erred and devalued the property by a sixth or overvalued it by a sixth, the sale is nullified. If the error was less than a sixth, the sale is binding.

These are the types of property whose sale need not be announced beforehand: servants, promissory notes and movable property; servants, because they may flee; promissory notes and movable property, because they may be stolen. Instead, these articles should be evaluated by the court and sold immediately. If the market place is close to the city, they should be taken to the market place and sold there.


וּבֵית דִּין שֶׁהִכְרִיזוּ כָּרָאוּי וּבָדְקוּ יָפֶה יָפֶה וְדִקְדְּקוּ בַּשּׁוּמָא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁטָּעוּ וּמָכְרוּ שְׁוֵה מָנֶה בְּמָאתַיִם אוֹ מָאתַיִם בְּמָנֶה הֲרֵי מִכְרָן קַיָּם. אֲבָל אִם לֹא בָּדְקוּ בַּשּׁוּמָא וְלֹא כָּתְבוּ אִגֶּרֶת בִּקֹּרֶת שֶׁהִיא דִּקְדּוּק הַשּׁוּמָא וְהַהַכְרָזָה וְטָעוּ וְהוֹתִירוּ שְׁתוּת אוֹ פָּחֲתוּ שְׁתוּת מִכְרָן בָּטֵל. פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁתוּת מִכְרָן קַיָּם. וְכֵן אִם מָכְרוּ קַרְקַע בְּעֵת שֶׁאֵינָן צְרִיכִין לְהַכְרִיז עָלֶיהָ וְטָעוּ שְׁתוּת אוֹ הוֹתִירוּ שְׁתוּת מִכְרָן בָּטֵל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִכְרִיזוּ. פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁתוּת מִכְרָן קַיָּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִכְרִיזוּ שֶׁאֵינָן צְרִיכִין הַכְרָזָה בְּאוֹתוֹ הָעֵת. אֵיזֶהוּ הָעֵת שֶׁאֵינָן צְרִיכִין הַכְרָזָה בְּעֵת שֶׁיִּמְכְּרוּ קַרְקַע לִקְבוּרָה אוֹ לִמְזוֹן הָאִשָּׁה וְהַבָּנוֹת אוֹ לִתֵּן מְנַת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵין צְרִיכִין הַכְרָזָה לְפִי שֶׁהַדָּבָר נָחוּץ. וְכֵן בֵּית דִּין שֶׁמָּכְרוּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָן טְעוּנִין הַכְרָזָה וְטָעוּ בִּשְׁתוּת מִכְרָן בָּטֵל. פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁתוּת מִכְרָן קַיָּם. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵין מַכְרִיזִין עֲלֵיהֶם הָעֲבָדִים וְהַשְּׁטָרוֹת וְהַמִּטַּלְטְלִין. הָעֲבָדִים שֶׁמָּא יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִבְרְחוּ. וְהַשְּׁטָרוֹת וְהַמִּטַּלְטְלִין שֶׁמָּא יִגָּנְבוּ. לְפִיכָךְ שָׁמִין אוֹתָן בְּבֵית דִּין וּמוֹכְרִין אוֹתָן מִיָּד. וְאִם הַשּׁוּק קָרוֹב לַמְּדִינָה מוֹלִיכִין אוֹתָן לַשּׁוּק:

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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 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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah