1

If any of the individuals who are not able to establish a claim of ownership by benefiting from a property bring witnesses who testify that the owner sold them this particular field or gave it to them as a present, the testimony is accepted as substantial. There are two exceptions: a robber, and a husband with regard to his wife's property. With regard to which property were the above statements made? With regard to nichsei tzon barzel, a field designated as payment for the money due her by virtue of her ketubah, a field belonging to her and mentioned in her ketubah, or a field that her husband had evaluated in her ketubah as a present for her. With regard to nichsei milog, by contrast, he may bring proof, as stated in Hilchot Ishut.

א

כָּל אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה אִם הֵבִיאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁמָּכְרוּ לָהֶם הַבְּעָלִים שָׂדֶה זוֹ אוֹ נְתָנוּהָ לָהֶן בְּמַתָּנָה רְאָיָתָן רְאָיָה. חוּץ מִן הַגַּזְלָן וְהַבַּעַל בְּנִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ. בְּאֵי זֶה נְכָסִים אָמְרוּ בְּנִכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל אוֹ בְּשָׂדֶה שֶׁיִּחֵד לָהּ בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ וּבְשָׂדֶה שֶׁכָּתַב לָהּ בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ וּבְשָׂדֶה שֶׁנָּתַן לָהּ בְּשׁוּם מִשֶּׁלּוֹ. אֲבָל בְּנִכְסֵי מְלוֹג יֵשׁ לוֹ רְאָיָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת אִישׁוּת:

2

What is meant by saying that a robber cannot substantiate the sale of a property? Once it has been established that a person gained possession of a field through robbery, he cannot substantiate his possession of a field even though he brings proof that, in the presence of witnesses, the owner acknowledged the fact that he sold him this field and received payment for it. For the owner can say: "We never sold the field; we acknowledged [the sale only out of fear." In such an instance, we expropriate the field from the robber, and he is not given anything.

If witnesses testify that the robber counted out a specific sum of money to the owner, we expropriate the field from the robber and require the owner to return the money, as stated in Hilchot Gezelah.

ב

כֵּיצַד הַגַּזְלָן אֵין לוֹ רְאָיָה. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֻחְזַק גַּזְלָן עַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁהוֹדָה הַבַּעַל בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ שָׂדֶה זוֹ וְלָקַח דָּמִים וְהַבְּעָלִים אוֹמְרִים לֹא מָכַרְנוּ לְךָ אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי הַיִּרְאָה הוֹדִינוּ לוֹ מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה מִיָּדוֹ וְאֵין לוֹ כְּלוּם. וְאִם הֵעִידוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁבִּפְנֵיהֶם מָנָה לוֹ כָּךְ וְכָךְ מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה מִיַּד הַגַּזְלָן וּמַחְזִירִין לוֹ הַבְּעָלִים אֶת הַדָּמִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת גְּזֵלָה:

3

The following rules apply when the son of a craftsman, the son of a sharecropper, or the son of a guardian benefits from a field for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership. If these individuals claim that the owner sold the property to them, or gave it to them as a present, their claim is established. If, however, they claim that the property is an inheritance that they received from their father, who benefited from it for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership, their claim is not accepted.

If they bring witnesses who testify that the owner acknowledged to their father that he sold it or gave it to him, they are allowed to retain possession of the field.

ג

בֶּן הָאֻמָּן וּבֶן הָאָרִיס וְכֵן הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס שֶׁאָכְלוּ שָׂדֶה זוֹ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. אִם טָעֲנוּ שֶׁהַבְּעָלִים מָכְרוּ לָהֶן אוֹ נָתְנוּ לָהֶן יֵשׁ לָהֶן חֲזָקָה. וְאִם טָעֲנוּ שֶׁהִיא יְרֻשָּׁה לָהֶן מֵאֲבִיהֶם שֶׁאֲכָלוּהָ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה אֵין לָהֶן חֲזָקָה. וְאִם הֵבִיאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁהוֹדוּ הַבְּעָלִים לַאֲבִיהֶן שֶׁמְּכָרוּהָ לָהֶן אוֹ נְתָנוּהָ מַעֲמִידִין אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה בְּיָדָן:

4

Although the son of a robber brings proof that the owner acknowledged to their father that he sold a property to him, it is of no consequence, as explained above. When, however, a robber's grandson claims that he - or even his father - acquired a property, he can establish a claim of ownership. If, however, his claim is based on his grandfather's acquisition, he cannot establish a claim of ownership.

ד

בֶּן הַגַּזְלָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁהוֹדוּ הַבְּעָלִים לְאָבִיו שֶׁמָּכַר אֵינָהּ רְאָיָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אֲבָל בֶּן בֶּן הַגַּזְלָן אֲפִלּוּ בָּא בְּטַעֲנַת אָבִיו יֵשׁ לוֹ חֲזָקָה בָּא בְּטַעֲנַת אֲבִי אָבִיו אֵין לוֹ חֲזָקָה:

5

Even though a gentile benefited from a property for several years, he cannot establish a claim of ownership on this basis. If he does not bring a deed of sale, we require that the field be returned to its owner. An oath is not required, for a sh'vu'at hesset was ordained only when the plaintiff was Jewish.

When a Jew claims a property on the basis of the claim of a gentile, he is governed by the same laws as the gentile, and the fact that he benefited from the property is not significant.

ה

הָעַכּוּ''ם אֲפִלּוּ אֲכָלָהּ כַּמָּה שָׁנִים אֵין אֲכִילָתוֹ רְאָיָה. וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא שְׁטָר תַּחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה לַבְּעָלִים בְּלֹא שׁוּם שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא תִּקְּנוּ שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת אֶלָּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּא מֵחֲמַת הָעַכּוּ''ם הֲרֵי הוּא כְּעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁאֵין אֲכִילָתוֹ רְאָיָה:

6

If the Jew who acquired the property from the gentile claimed: "In my presence, the gentile who sold me the land acquired this land from the Jew who is disputing my claim," his claim is accepted, provided that he supports it with a sh'vu 'at hesset. The rationale is that since the claimant could have asserted: "I acquired it from you and I benefited from it for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership," we accept his word when he asserts: "I acquired it from so-and-so who, in my presence, acquired it from you."

ו

טָעַן זֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּא מֵחֲמַת הָעַכּוּ''ם וְאָמַר בְּפָנַי לְקָחָהּ הָעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁמָּכַר לִי מִזֶּה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל הַמְעַרְעֵר עָלַי הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱמָן וְיִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת עַל כָּךְ מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר אֲנִי לְקַחְתִּיהָ מִמְּךָ וַהֲרֵי אֲכַלְתִּיהָ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה יָכוֹל לוֹמַר מִפְּלוֹנִי לְקַחְתִּיהָ שֶׁבְּפָנַי לְקָחָהּ מִמְּךָ:

7

A claim of ownership cannot be established with regard to property inherited by a minor, even when the minor later attains majority. What is implied? A person benefited from property inherited by a minor for one year in the minor's presence before the minor attained majority, and for two years after he attained majority. Although he claims: "You sold it to me" or "You gave it to me," his claim is not accepted unless he benefits from the property for three consecutive years after he attains majority.

ז

אֵין מַחֲזִיקִין בְּנִכְסֵי קָטָן וַאֲפִלּוּ הִגְדִּיל. כֵּיצַד. אֲכָלָהּ בְּפָנָיו כְּשֶׁהוּא קָטָן שָׁנָה אַחַת וּשְׁתַּיִם אַחַר שֶׁהִגְדִּיל וְטָעַן אַתָּה מָכַרְתָּ לִי אַתָּה נָתַתָּ לִי אֵין זֶה כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיֹּאכַל שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים רְצוּפוֹת אַחַר שֶׁהִגְדִּיל:

8

The following rules apply when a person maintains possession of property belonging to a minor for many years and claims: "I am maintaining possession of it as security, and I am owed this-and-this on its account." Since if he had desired, he could have said: "I purchased it," his word is accepted, for it has not been established that the property belonged to this person's father. Hence, the person in possession may collect what he claims from the property' s increase in value. The property itself is then returned to the orphans.

If, however, the property is reputed to belong to the orphans, the claim of the person in possession is not accepted. The rationale is that a claim of ownership cannot be established over property belonging to a minor. Instead, the field and all the produce that the person used must be returned to the orphans. When they come of age, the plaintiff will lodge a claim against them. 6

ח

מִי שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בְּנִכְסֵי קָטָן שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת וְטָעַן וְאָמַר מַשְׁכּוֹנָה הֵן בְּיָדִי וְיֵשׁ לִי חוֹבָה עֲלֵיהֶן כָּךְ וְכָךְ. הוֹאִיל וְאִלּוּ רָצָה אָמַר לְקוּחִים הֵן בְּיָדִי נֶאֱמָן שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ מֻחְזֶקֶת שֶׁהָיָה לְאָבִיו שֶׁל זֶה וַהֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹבֶה מִשִּׁבְחָהּ מַה שֶּׁטָּעַן וְתַחְזֹר לַיְתוֹמִים. אֲבָל אִם יָצָא עָלֶיהָ קוֹל שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל יְתוֹמִים אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין מַחֲזִיקִין בְּנִכְסֵי קָטָן וְתַחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה וְכָל הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל לַיְתוֹמִים עַד שֶׁיִּגְדְּלוּ וְיַעֲשֶׂה עִמָּהֶן דִּין:

9

Different rules apply if the person in possession benefited from the field for the time necessary to establish a claim of ownership during the lifetime of the orphans' father. Since he could have claimed that he is the owner because he purchased it from their father, we accept his word when he claims that a debt is owed him by their father. He collects the debt from the produce of the field. Since he could say that the produce belongs to him, he is not required to take an oath concerning it.

ט

אֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה בְּחַיֵּי אֲבִיהֶן מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר לְקוּחָה הִיא בְּיָדִי מֵאֲבִיהֶן נֶאֱמָן לוֹמַר חוֹב יֵשׁ לִי עַל אֲבִיהֶן. וְגוֹבֶה אוֹתוֹ מִן הַפֵּרוֹת וְגוֹבֵהוּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁבוּעָה מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר שֶׁלִּי הֵן:

10

When a person has to flee because of a danger to his life - e.g., the king desired to kill him - a claim of ownership cannot be established with regard to his property. Even if the person in possession of it derived benefit for several years and claimed that he purchased it, the fact that he derived benefit is not significant. We do not tell the owner of the field: "Why didn't you protest?" For the answer is obvious; he was concerned over his life. If, however, a person flees because of financial matters, he is considered like any other person. Thus, if he does not protest, a claim of ownership can be established over his property.

י

בּוֹרֵחַ שֶׁבָּרַח מֵחֲמַת סַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה הַמֶּלֶךְ מְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲמִיתוֹ. אֵין מַחֲזִיקִין בִּנְכָסָיו אֲפִלּוּ אָכַל הַמַּחֲזִיק כַּמָּה שָׁנִים וְטָעַן שֶׁלָּקַח אֵין אֲכִילָתוֹ רְאָיָה. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים לְבַעַל הַשָּׂדֶה לָמָּה לֹא מָחִיתָ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מִתְעַסֵּק בְּנַפְשׁוֹ. אֲבָל הַבּוֹרֵחַ מֵחֲמַת מָמוֹן הֲרֵי הוּא כְּכָל אָדָם וְאִם לֹא מִחָה מַחֲזִיקִין בִּנְכָסָיו:

11

A claim of ownership can be established over the property of a married woman.

What is implied? A person benefited from the land for a portion of the period necessary to establish a claim of ownership during the lifetime of the woman's husband, and for three years after the husband's death. If he claims: "You and your husband sold it to me," he is allowed to maintain possession. The rationale is that since the person in possession could say: "I purchased it from you after the death of your husband" - for he benefited from it for the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership after the death of her husband and she did not protest his word is accepted with regard to the claim mentioned above.

If, however, he benefited from the property for several years during the lifetime of her husband, but did not benefit from it for the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership after the death of her husband, he does not establish a claim of ownership.

יא

מַחֲזִיקִין בְּנִכְסֵי אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ. כֵּיצַד. אֲכָלָהּ מִקְצָת שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה בְּחַיֵּי הַבַּעַל וְשָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אַחַר מִיתַת הַבַּעַל. וְטָעַן וְאָמַר מְכַרְתָּהּ לִי אַתְּ וּבַעֲלֵךְ מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיָּכוֹל לוֹמַר מִמֵּךְ לְקַחְתִּיהָ אַחַר מוֹת בַּעֲלִיךְ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה אַחַר מִיתַת הַבַּעַל וְלֹא מִחֵת בּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אֲכָלָהּ בְּחַיֵּי בַּעְלָהּ כַּמָּה שָׁנִים וְלֹא אָכְלָה שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה אַחַר מִיתַת בַּעְלָהּ אֵין לוֹ חֲזָקָה:

12

Possession of property for the time necessary to establish a claim of ownership is of no consequence unless it is accompanied by a claim of acquisition.

What is implied? A person benefited from the produce of a field for several years. Afterwards, the person raising the protest comes and claims: "How did you acquire this field? It's mine."

The person in possession responds: "I don't know who the owner is. Since no one said anything to me about it. I took possession of it."

This does not establish a claim of ownership. For he is not claiming that he acquired it, that it was given to him, or that he inherited it. Nevertheless, even though he does not issue such a demand, the field is not expropriated from him until the person protesting brings witnesses that the field belongs to him. When, however, he brings witnesses, the field and all the benefit that he received from it is expropriated from the squatter.

We do not open by asking the squatter: "Perhaps you had a deed of acquisition and you lost it." He must make such a claim on his own. If he does not make such a claim, he must return all the produce that he reaped. Similarly, when a person benefits from a field for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership on the basis of a deed of sale, and that deed of sale was disqualified, the claim of ownership established is nullified. The field and all of the produce reaped must be returned to the original owner.

יב

כָּל חֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהּ טַעֲנָה אֵינָהּ חֲזָקָה. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁאָכַל פֵּרוֹת שָׂדֶה זוֹ כַּמָּה שָׁנִים וּבָא הַמְעַרְעֵר וְאָמַר לוֹ מֵאַיִן לְךָ שָׂדֶה זוֹ שֶׁלִּי הִיא הֱשִׁיבוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁל מִי הִיא וְכֵיוָן שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר לִי אָדָם כְּלוּם יָרַדְתִּי לְתוֹכָהּ. אֵין זוֹ חֲזָקָה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא טָעַן שֶׁלְּקָחָהּ וְלֹא שֶׁנְּתָנָהּ לוֹ וְלֹא שֶׁיְּרָשָׁהּ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא טָעַן אֵין מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָהּ מִיָּדוֹ עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא זֶה הַמְעַרְעֵר עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁלּוֹ. הֵבִיא עֵדִים תַּחְזֹר לוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה וּמוֹצִיאִין מִזֶּה כָּל הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל וְאֵין פּוֹתְחִין לָזֶה הַמַּחֲזִיק תְּחִלָּה וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים שֶׁמָּא שְׁטָר הָיָה לְךָ וְאָבַד עַד שֶׁיִּטְעֹן מֵעַצְמוֹ וְאִם לֹא טָעַן יַחְזִיר כָּל הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל. וְכֵן הָאוֹכֵל שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה מֵחֲמַת שֶׁיֵּשׁ שְׁטָר בְּיָדוֹ וְנִמְצָא הַשְּׁטָר בָּטֵל בָּטְלָה הַחֲזָקָה וְתַחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה עִם כָּל הַפֵּרוֹת לַבְּעָלִים:

13

When a person claims ownership of a field as an inheritance, he must bring proof that his father dwelled in or used this field for even one day. Once that is accomplished, since he benefited from the field for three years on the basis of his father's ownership, he is allowed to retain possession.

If, however, he did not bring proof that his father lived in it at all, the field and all of the produce reaped must be returned to the person lodging the protest, if he brings witnesses who testify that the field belongs to him. The rationale is that the person in possession does not claim that the owner sold or gave him the field, and it is not known that the field belonged to his ancestors.

If the person in possession brought proof that his father was seen in the field, it is of no consequence. Perhaps he went to inspect it and did not purchase it. Instead, he must bring proof that his father dwelled there for at least one day.

יג

הַבָּא מֵחֲמַת יְרֻשָּׁה צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁדָּר אָבִיו בְּשָׂדֶה זוֹ אוֹ נִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ יוֹם אֶחָד וְכֵיוָן שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ הוּא שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים מֵחֲמַת אָבִיו מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁדָּר בָּהּ אָבִיו כְּלָל תַּחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה וְכָל הַפֵּרוֹת לַמְעַרְעֵר שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא שֶׁלּוֹ. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ טוֹעֵן עָלָיו שֶׁמָּכַר אוֹ נָתַן לוֹ וְלֹא נוֹדְעָה קַרְקַע זוֹ לַאֲבוֹתָיו. הֵבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁנִּרְאָה בָּהּ אָבִיו אֵינָהּ כְּלוּם שֶׁמָּא בָּא לְבַקֵּר אוֹתָהּ וְלֹא קְנָאָהּ. אֶלָּא צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁדָּר אָבִיו בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ יוֹם אֶחָד:

14

The following laws apply when a person benefited from a field for many years and the person raising the protest states: "What are you doing in this field?"

The person in possession acknowledges the truth of his statements, but says: "I know that it once belonged to you, but so-and-so sold it to me, and he purchased it from you."

The person raising the protest states: "So-and-so, the person who sold you the field, is a robber."

Since the person in possession admitted that the field belonged to him and that he did not purchase it from him, the field and all of its produce must be returned to the person raising the protest. This applies even though that person does not bring witnesses that the field belongs to him. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

If the person in possession brings witnesses who testify that the person who sold the field to him lived in it for even one day or he told him, "He purchased it from you in my presence and afterwards he sold it to me," he is allowed to retain possession, for he has a definite claim and he has established a claim of ownership. If he desired, he could have claimed: "I purchased it from you." His claim would have been accepted, for he lived in it long enough to establish a claim of ownership.

יד

הֲרֵי שֶׁאָכַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת וּבָא הַמְעַרְעֵר וְאָמַר לוֹ מַה לְּךָ וּלְשָׂדֶה זוֹ הוֹדָה וְאָמַר לוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי שֶׁהָיְתָה שֶׁלְּךָ אֲבָל פְּלוֹנִי מְכָרָהּ לִי וְהוּא לְקָחָהּ מִמְּךָ. וְאָמַר לוֹ הַמְעַרְעֵר פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁמָּכַר לְךָ גַּזְלָן הוּא. הוֹאִיל וְהוֹדָה שֶׁהִיא שֶׁלּוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְקָחָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ תַּחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה וְכָל הַפֵּרוֹת לַמְעַרְעֵר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לְזֶה הַמְעַרְעֵר עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁלּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. הֵבִיא זֶה הַמַּחֲזִיק עֵדִים שֶׁפְּלוֹנִי שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ דָּר בָּהּ אֲפִלּוּ יוֹם אֶחָד אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ בְּפָנַי לָקַח מִמְּךָ וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְכָרָהּ לִי. מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי יֵשׁ לוֹ טַעֲנָה עִם חֶזְקָתוֹ וְאִלּוּ רָצָה טָעַן וְאָמַר מִמְּךָ לְקַחְתִּיהָ שֶׁהֲרֵי יֵשׁ לוֹ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה: