1

The following rules apply when a person raises a protest regarding the ownership of a particular field and brings witnesses who testify that it was known to belong to him. The person in possession produces a deed of sale that he purchased it from the protester and also brings witnesses who testify that he benefited from the land for enough time to establish a claim of ownership. We tell the person in possession at the outset: "Validate your deed of sale." If the deed of sale is validated, it is preferable, and the judgment is based on the deed of sale. If he cannot validate the deed of sale, we rely on the witnesses who testify that he has established a claim of ownership. The person in possession must take a sh'vu'at hesset that he purchased it from the protester.

א

מִי שֶׁעִרְעֵר עַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא יְדוּעָה לוֹ וְהֵבִיא זֶה שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ שְׁטָר שֶׁלְּקָחָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. אוֹמְרִים לוֹ בַּתְּחִלָּה קַיֵּם שְׁטָרְךָ. אִם נִתְקַיֵּם הֲרֵי טוֹב וְיָדוּן בַּשְּׁטָר. וְאִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְקַיְּמוֹ סוֹמְכִין עַל עֵדֵי חֲזָקָה וְיִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת שֶׁלְּקָחָהּ:

2

When there are differences between the testimony of the two witnesses who testify that a claim of ownership has been established - e.g., one testifies that the person in possession benefited from wheat for three years and the other testifies that he benefited from barley - their testimony is accepted. For witnesses are not concerned with these particulars. If one witness testifies that the person in possession benefited from the property in the first, third and fifth years, and the other testifies that he benefited in the second, fourth and sixth years, their testimonies cannot be linked together. The rationale is that neither testified concerning the year about which the other testified. Hence, the land and its produce must be returned.

ב

עֵדֵי הַחֲזָקָה שֶׁהֵעִיד אֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ חִטִּים שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה וְהַשֵּׁנִי הֵעִיד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׂעוֹרִים עֵדוּתָן קַיֶּמֶת שֶׁאֵין הָעֵד מְדַקְדֵּק בָּזֶה. הֵעִיד הָאֶחָד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ זֶה שָׁנָה רִאשׁוֹנָה שְׁלִישִׁית וַחֲמִישִׁית וְהַשֵּׁנִי מֵעִיד שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנִיָּה וּרְבִיעִית וְשִׁשִּׁית אֵין עֵדוּתָן מִצְטָרֶפֶת. שֶׁבַּשָּׁנָה שֶׁמֵּעִיד בָּהּ זֶה לֹא הֵעִיד בָּהּ זֶה. וְתַחְזֹר הַקַּרְקַע וְהַפֵּרוֹת:

3

If a person took possession of a field on the assumption that he is the heir and benefited from the field, and then it was discovered that there was another heir who shared a closer connection and is fit to inherit the field, the person who took possession of the field first is obligated to return all the produce that he ate. This applies whether witnesses testified to the closer relative's identity or the person who first took possession of the property acknowledged it.

ג

מִי שֶׁיָּרַד לְשָׂדֶה בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהוּא יוֹרֵשׁ וְאָכַל פֵּרוֹתֶיהָ וְנִמְצָא יוֹרֵשׁ אַחַר שֶׁהוּא קָרוֹב מִמֶּנּוּ וְרָאוּי לְיָרְשָׁהּ בֵּין שֶׁנִּמְצָא בְּעֵדִים בֵּין שֶׁהוֹדָה לוֹ זֶה שֶׁיָּרַד תְּחִלָּה חַיָּב לְהַחְזִיר כָּל הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל:

4

The following laws apply when two people are disputing the ownership of a field, each claiming it to be his own, but neither has proof of his claim. These same laws apply when both claimants bring witnesses who testify that the field belongs to them or to their parents, or when each of them brings witnesses who testify that the claimants benefited from the field for the time necessary to establish a claim of ownership, and both pairs of witnesses testify about exactly the same time period. We leave the field in their hands, and whoever overcomes the other one assumes possession. If the other seeks to expropriate the field from him, he must bring proof of his ownership.

If a third party comes, seizes the property from them and takes possession of it, he is removed from it and it is returned to the others.

ד

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹרְרִין עַל הַשָּׂדֶה זֶה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלִּי וְזֶה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלִּי וְאֵין לְאֶחָד מֵהֶן רְאָיָה. אוֹ שֶׁהֵבִיא כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶם עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁלּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו אוֹ שֶׁהֵבִיא כָּל אֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. וְהַשָׁנִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בָּהֶן אֵלּוּ הֵן הַשָׁנִים עַצְמָן שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בָּהֶן אֵלּוּ. מַנִּיחִין אוֹתָהּ בִּידֵיהֶן וְכָל הַמִּתְגַּבֵּר יֵרֵד בָּהּ וְיִהְיֶה הָאַחֵר מוֹצִיא מִיָּדוֹ וְעָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. וְאִם בָּא שְׁלִישִׁי וְתָקַף עֲלֵיהֶן וְיָרַד לְתוֹכָהּ מְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ מִמֶּנָּה:

5

If one claimant brings witnesses who testify that the field belonged to his ancestors, that he benefited from it for the period necessary to establish a claim of ownership, and that it is in his possession, and the other brings witnesses who testify that he benefited from it for the period necessary to establish a claim of ownership and that it is in his possession, the testimonies regarding the claims of ownership contradict each other. We grant the field to the person who produced witnesses that it belonged to his ancestors, and give him possession of it.

If the second person also brought witnesses who testify that the field belonged to his ancestors, and so this testimony also involves a contradiction, the court rescinds its initial ruling, removes the first claimant from it, and leaves it in possession of both of them. The one who overpowers the other acquires the right of ownership.

ה

הֵבִיא הָאֶחָד עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו וְשֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה וַהֲרֵי הִיא תַּחַת יָדוֹ. וְהֵבִיא הָאַחֵר עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה וַהֲרֵי הִיא תַּחַת יָדוֹ. נִמְצֵאת עֵדוּת הַחֲזָקָה שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם מֻכְחֶשֶׁת. מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיַד זֶה שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו עֵדֵי הַחֲזָקָה שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו וּמוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ לְתוֹכָהּ. חָזַר הַשֵּׁנִי וְהֵבִיא אַף הוּא עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו שֶׁהֲרֵי נִמְצֵאת גַּם עֵדוּת זוֹ מֻכְחֶשֶׁת. חוֹזְרִין בֵּית דִּין וּמְסַלְּקִין מִמֶּנָּה אַף הָרִאשׁוֹן וּמַנִּיחִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיַד שְׁנֵיהֶם וְכָל הַמִּתְגַּבֵּר יֵרֵד בָּהּ:

6

When both claimants say that the field belonged to their ancestors, and one brings witnesses who testify that the field belonged to his ancestors, while the other brings witnesses who testify only that he benefited from the field for the period necessary to establish a claim of ownership, the field should be returned to the one who brought witnesses that it belonged to his ancestors. The other claimant must return the produce that he used. The rationale is that he did not issue a claim. Hence, his consumption of the produce does not serve as proof. For any claim of ownership that is not based on a assertion against the owners is of no consequence.

If the person in possession of the field retorts: "Yes. It belonged to your ancestors and you sold it to me. When I originally claimed that it belonged to my ancestors, I meant that my claim of ownership over it is so strong that it is as if it belonged to my ancestors," or he states: "It was my ancestors, because they purchased it from your ancestors, his claim is valid, for he gave an explanation for his original statements. Hence, we allow him to maintain possession.

If at the outset, he claimed: "It belonged to my ancestors and not your ancestors," we do not accept his later claim. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ו

זֶה אוֹמֵר שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי וְזֶה אוֹמֵר שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי זֶה הֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו וְזֶה הֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה תַּחְזֹר לָזֶה שֶׁהֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו וְיַחְזִיר הַפֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל. שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא טָעַן כְּלוּם וְאֵין אֲכִילָתוֹ רְאָיָה שֶׁכָּל חֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהּ טַעֲנָה עַל הַבְּעָלִים אֵינָהּ כְּלוּם. חָזַר זֶה הַמַּחֲזִיק וְאָמַר כֵּן שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֶיךָ הָיְתָה וְאַתָּה מְכַרְתָּהּ לִי וְזֶה שֶׁטָּעַנְתִּי תְּחִלָּה שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁאֲנִי סוֹמֵךְ עָלֶיהָ וַהֲרֵי הִיא שֶׁלִּי כְּשֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי שֶׁלְּקָחוּהָ מֵאֲבוֹתֶיךָ הֲרֵי זוֹ טַעֲנָה נְכוֹנָה שֶׁהֲרֵי נָתַן אֲמַתְלָא לִדְבָרָיו הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וּמַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ. וְאִם טָעַן בַּתְּחִלָּה וְאָמַר שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי וְלֹא שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֶיךָ אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ בְּטַעֲנָה זוֹ הָאַחֶרֶת. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

7

The following rules apply when Reuven was in possession of a field and Shimon came and protested his ownership. Reuven responded: "I purchased this field from Levi and benefited from it for the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership."

Shimon answered him: "I have a validated deed of sale in my possession that I purchased the field from Levi four years ago."

Reuven retorted: "Do you think that it is only three years since I purchased. I purchased it many years ago? My claim precedes yours."

Reuven's claim is acceptable, for it is common for a person to call many years "the amount of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership." Therefore, if Reuven brings witnesses who testify that he benefited from the field for seven years - and he thus would have established a claim of ownership before Shimon purchased the field - he is allowed to retain possession. If, however, he benefited from it for less than seven years, the field is returned to Shimon. The rationale is that Levi could not have issued a greater protest over Reuven's use of the field than selling it to Shimon before Reuven established a claim of ownership.

ז

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהָיָה בְּתוֹךְ שָׂדֶה וּבָא שִׁמְעוֹן וְעִרְעֵר עָלָיו וְאָמַר רְאוּבֵן שָׂדֶה זוֹ מִלֵּוִי קְנִיתִיהָ וְאָכַלְתִּי אוֹתָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה אָמַר לוֹ שִׁמְעוֹן וַהֲלֹא שְׁטָר זֶה מְקֻיָּם בְּיָדִי שֶׁאֲנִי לְקַחְתִּיהָ מִלֵּוִי מֵהַיּוֹם אַרְבַּע שָׁנִים. חָזַר רְאוּבֵן וְאָמַר וְכִי תַּעֲלֶה עַל דַּעְתְּךָ שֶׁשָּׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים בִּלְבַד יֵשׁ לִי מִשֶּׁקְּנִיתִיהָ שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת יֵשׁ לִי מִשֶּׁלְּקַחְתִּיהָ וַאֲנִי קְדַמְתִּיךָ. הֲרֵי טַעֲנַת רְאוּבֵן טַעֲנָה. שֶׁאָדָם קוֹרֵא לְשָׁנִים רַבּוֹת שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הֵבִיא רְאוּבֵן עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים שֶׁנִּמְצָא שֶׁאָכַל שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה קֹדֶם שֶׁלְּקָחָהּ שִׁמְעוֹן מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אֲכָלָהּ פָּחוֹת מִשֶּׁבַע שָׁנִים תַּחְזֹר לְשִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁאֵין לְךָ מְחָאָה גְּדוֹלָה מִזּוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי מְכָרָהּ קֹדֶם שֶׁהֶחְזִיק רְאוּבֵן:

8

The following rules apply when one claimant stated: "The field belonged to my ancestors" and brought witnesses who substantiate his claim and another claims: "It belonged to my ancestors," but does not have witnesses. The field should be returned to the one who brought witnesses. All the produce that the other claimant acknowledges consuming is expropriated from him, even though there are no witnesses that he consumed it. The rationale is that he admits that he consumed produce because the field belonged to his ancestors, and there are witnesses that the field belonged to the ancestors of the other claimant. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ח

זֶה אוֹמֵר שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים וְזֶה אוֹמֵר שֶׁל אֲבוֹתַי וְאֵין לוֹ עֵדִים תַּחְזֹר לָזֶה שֶׁהֵבִיא עֵדִים וּמוֹצִיאִין מִזֶּה כָּל פֵּרוֹת שֶׁהוֹדָה בָּהֶן שֶׁאֲכָלָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עָלָיו עֵדִים שֶׁאָכַל. שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר שֶׁמֵּחֲמַת אֲבוֹתָיו אָכַל וַהֲרֵי הָעֵדִים שֶׁהָיָה שֶׁל אֲבוֹתָיו שֶׁל זֶה הַטּוֹעֵן. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

9

We apply the principle of miggo in the following situation: One person is in possession of a field. Another raises a protest, bringing witnesses who testify that the field once belonged to him. The person in possession states: "I purchased it from you. Here is the deed of sale," and produces a deed that is validated.

The person raising the protest claims that the deed is a forgery. The one in possession admits this, but claims: "I had a valid deed of sale, but I lost it. I took this so that I would have something in hand to intimidate him, so that he would admit that he actually sold it to me."

Since he could have stood by his deed of sale, for it has been validated, his word is accepted. We do not expropriate the field from his possession. He must, however, take a sh'vu'at hesset to support his claim.

ט

הֵבִיא הַמְעַרְעֵר עֵדִים שֶׁזּוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה שֶׁלּוֹ וְזֶה שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ טוֹעֵן מִמְּךָ לְקַחְתִּיהָ וַהֲרֵי שְׁטָרִי וְהוֹצִיא שְׁטָר מְקֻיָּם. טָעַן הַמְעַרְעֵר שֶׁהוּא מְזֻיָּף וְהוֹדָה בַּעַל הַשְּׁטָר וְאָמַר כֵּן הוּא אֲבָל הָיָה לִי שְׁטָר כָּשֵׁר וְאָבַד וְלָקַחְתִּי זֶה שֶׁבְּיָדִי כְּדֵי לְאַיֵּם עָלָיו שֶׁיּוֹדֶה שֶׁמָּכַר לִי בֶּאֱמֶת. הוֹאִיל וְאִלּוּ רָצָה הָיָה אוֹמֵר בִּשְׁטָרוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי מְקֻיָּם הוּא הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱמָן וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ וְיִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת:

10

The following rules apply when a person protests a colleague's ownership of a field and brings witnesses who testify that the field belongs to him. The person in possession claims: "I purchased the field from you and benefited from it for the time necessary to establish a claim of ownership" and brings witnesses who support his claim.

The protester responded, claiming: "How could you claim that you purchased it from me on this date three years ago? At that time, I was not in this country."

To resolve the question, the court requires the person in possession to bring proof that the person raising the protest was together with him in that city at the time he claims that he sold him the field, even for one day, so that he could have sold it. If he did not bring proof, he is removed from the field.

י

הֵבִיא הַמְעַרְעֵר עֵדִים שֶׁזּוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה שֶׁלּוֹ וְזֶה שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ טוֹעֵן מִמְּךָ לְקַחְתִּיהָ וַאֲכַלְתִּיהָ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה וְהֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֲכָלָהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה טָעַן הַמְעַרְעֵר וְאָמַר הֵיאַךְ תִּטְעֹן שֶׁלָּקַחְתָּ מִמֶּנִּי הַיּוֹם שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וּבְאוֹתוֹ הַזְּמַן לֹא הָיִיתִי בִּמְדִינָה זוֹ. מַצְרִיכִין זֶה שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁזֶּה פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁמְּעַרְעֵר הָיָה עִמּוֹ בַּמְּדִינָה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁטּוֹעֵן שֶׁמָּכַר לוֹ בּוֹ אֲפִלּוּ יוֹם אֶחָד כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּמְכֹּר וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא מְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ:

11

The following rules apply when a person journeyed overseas, and the path to his field was lost. These laws apply whether the fields surrounding his field were owned by four different people or they were all purchased from one person. Each of the owners may turn away the claimant, telling him: "What makes you say that your way passes through my property? Maybe it passes through the property of my colleagues?" Hence, the claimant must purchase a path, even though it costs 100 maneh, or he must fly through the air.

Similarly, when the four fields belong to one person who purchased them from four people, he is not required to provide the claimant with a path. For he can tell him: "If I now returned each one his deed of sale, you would not be able to pass through the property of any one of them. And I purchased from each one every right that he possessed."

If, however, there was one person who owned all four fields, and he was this person's neighbor from the beginning until the end, the claimant can tell him: "You certainly must provide me with a path." Hence, he should be given the shortest path through any one of the fields that the owner chooses. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

If the claimant takes possession of a path saying: "This is my path," he may not be removed from it unless the owner of that property brings explicit proof that it never belonged to him.

יא

מִי שֶׁהָלַךְ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וְאָבְדָה דֶּרֶךְ שָׂדֵהוּ בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ אַרְבַּע הַשָּׂדוֹת הַמַּקִּיפוֹת אוֹתָהּ לְאַרְבָּעָה אֲנָשִׁים בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ הָאַרְבַּע שָׂדוֹת קְנוּיוֹת מֵאֶחָד הֲרֵי כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן דּוֹחֵהוּ וְאוֹמֵר שֶׁמָּא דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁלְּךָ עַל חֲבֵרִי הוּא. לְפִיכָךְ יִקְנֶה לוֹ דֶּרֶךְ בְּמֵאָה מָנֶה אוֹ יִפְרַח בָּאֲוִיר. וְכֵן אִם הָיוּ אַרְבַּע הַשָּׂדוֹת לְאִישׁ אֶחָד שֶׁקָּנָה אוֹתָן מֵאַרְבָּעָה אֵין לוֹ עָלָיו דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר לוֹ עַתָּה אִם אַחְזִיר לְכָל אֶחָד שְׁטָרוֹ אֵין אַתָּה יָכוֹל לַעֲבֹר עַל אֶחָד מֵהֶן וַאֲנִי קָנִיתִי מִכָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן כָּל זְכוּת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה בַּעַל אַרְבַּע שָׂדוֹת הַמַּקִּיפוֹ אִישׁ אֶחָד וְהוּא בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר שֶׁלָּהּ מִתְּחִלָּה וְעַד סוֹף הֲרֵי זֶה אוֹמֵר לוֹ מִכָּל מָקוֹם דַּרְכִּי עָלֶיךָ וְיֵלֵךְ לוֹ בִּקְצָרָה בְּאֵי זוֹ שָׂדֶה שֶׁיִּרְצֶה בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וְאִם הֶחֱזִיק בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְאוֹמֵר זוֹ הִיא דַּרְכִּי אֵין מְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ מִמֶּנָּה אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה: