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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

She'elah uFikkadon - Chapter 3, She'elah uFikkadon - Chapter 4, She'elah uFikkadon - Chapter 5

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She'elah uFikkadon - Chapter 3

1

When a person borrows a cow from a colleague and the colleague sends it to him with his own son, his agent or his servant, and it dies before it enters the borrower's domain, the borrower is not liable. This law applies even if the owner sends it with the son, the servant or the agent of the borrower.

If the borrower tells the owner: 'Send it to me with my son,' 'with my servant,' or 'with my agent,' or even 'with your Hebrew servant,' or 'with your agent,' the borrower is liable. This law also applies if the owner tells the borrower: 'I am sending it to you with your son,' 'with your servant,' 'with your agent,' 'with my son,' 'with my Hebrew servant,' or 'with my agent,' and the borrower agrees, the borrower is liable if he sends it and it dies on the way.

If the owner sends the cow with his own Canaanite servant, the borrower is not liable if the cow dies on the way after it is sent. This law applies even if the borrower consents. The rationale is that the servant is considered to be an extension of his master's physical person. Thus, the cow has never left its owner's domain.

א

הַשׁוֹאֵל אֶת הַפָּרָה מֵחֲבֵרוֹ וּשְׁלָחָהּ לוֹ הַמַּשְׁאִיל בְּיַד בְּנוֹ אוֹ בְּיַד שְׁלוּחוֹ אוֹ בְּיַד עַבְדּוֹ. אֲפִלּוּ שְׁלָחָהּ לוֹ בְּיַד בְּנוֹ אוֹ בְּיַד עַבְדּוֹ אוֹ בְּיַד שְׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁל שׁוֹאֵל וּמֵתָה קֹדֶם שֶׁתִּכָּנֵס לִרְשׁוּת הַשּׁוֹאֵל הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר. וְאִם אָמַר לוֹ הַשּׁוֹאֵל שַׁלְּחָהּ לִי בְּיַד בְּנִי בְּיַד עַבְדִּי בְּיַד שְׁלוּחִי אוֹ בְּיַד עַבְדְּךָ הָעִבְרִי אוֹ בְּיַד שְׁלוּחֲךָ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַמַּשְׁאִיל הֲרֵינִי מְשַׁלְּחָהּ בְּיַד בִּנְךָ בְּיַד עַבְדְּךָ בְּיַד שְׁלוּחֲךָ בְּיַד בְּנִי בְּיַד עַבְדִּי הָעִבְרִי בְּיַד שְׁלוּחִי. וְאָמַר לוֹ הַשּׁוֹאֵל שְׁלַח וּשְׁלָחָהּ וּמֵתָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב. שְׁלָחָהּ לוֹ הַמַּשְׁאִיל בְּיַד עַבְדּוֹ הַכְּנַעֲנִי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַשּׁוֹאֵל שְׁלַח וּמֵתָה פָּטוּר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיָּדוֹ כְּיַד רַבּוֹ וַעֲדַיִן לֹא יָצְאָה מֵרְשׁוּת הַמַּשְׁאִיל:

2

The following rules apply when a person borrows a cow from a colleague, the borrower tells the owner: 'Switch it with a stick, and it will come on its own accord,' and the owner follows his instructions. The borrower is not liable until the cow enters his domain. If it dies on the way, he is not liable.

Similar laws apply when the borrower returns the animal to its owner. If he sends it with another person and it dies before it enters the owner's domain, he is liable, because it is still the borrower's responsibility. If he returned it with another person with the consent of the owner and it died, he is not liable. If he returned it with his own Canaanite servant, and it died on the way, he is liable, even if the owner consented. The rationale is that the servant is considered an extension of his master's physical person. Thus, the cow has never left the borrower's domain.

When does the above apply? When the borrower returned the animal during the time for which it was lent out. If, however, he returns it after the end of the time for which it was lent out, he is not liable if it dies on the way. For once the time for which it was lent out has concluded, the laws of borrowing no longer apply, and the person who had borrowed the animal is considered a paid watchman. Therefore, if the animal is taken captive or dies after the period for which it was lent out has concluded, the person who had borrowed the animal is not liable. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ב

אָמַר לוֹ הַשּׁוֹאֵל הַכִּישָׁהּ בְּמַקֵּל וְהִיא תָּבוֹא מֵאֵלֶיהָ וְעָשָׂה הַמַּשְׁאִיל כָּךְ אֵין הַשּׁוֹאֵל חַיָּב בָּהּ עַד שֶׁתִּכָּנֵס לִרְשׁוּתוֹ. אֲבָל מֵתָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ פָּטוּר. וְכֵן בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּחְזִירָהּ הַשּׁוֹאֵל לַבְּעָלִים אִם שְׁלָחָהּ בְּיַד אַחֵר וּמֵתָה קֹדֶם שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ לִרְשׁוּת הַמַּשְׁאִיל הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב שֶׁעֲדַיִן הִיא בְּאַחֲרָיוּת הַשּׁוֹאֵל. וְאִם שְׁלָחָהּ מִדַּעַת הַמַּשְׁאִיל עַל יְדֵי אַחֵר וּמֵתָה פָּטוּר. שְׁלָחָהּ בְּיַד עַבְדּוֹ הַכְּנַעֲנִי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַמַּשְׁאִיל שְׁלַח אִם מֵתָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ חַיָּב שֶׁיַּד הָעֶבֶד כְּיַד רַבּוֹ וַעֲדַיִן לֹא יָצָאת מִיַּד הַשּׁוֹאֵל. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהֶחְזִירָהּ בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי שְׁאִילָתָהּ. אֲבָל אִם הֶחֱזִירָהּ אַחַר יְמֵי שְׁאִילָתָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר אִם מֵתָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁאַחַר יְמֵי שְׁאֵלָתָהּ יָצָאתָ מִדִּין שְׁאֵלָה וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּשׁוֹמֵר שָׂכָר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נִשְׁבֵּית אוֹ מֵתָה אַחֲרֵי יְמֵי שְׁאִילָתָהּ פָּטוּר. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

3

The following rules apply when a person borrows a cow from a colleague, the animal dies, and a dispute arises between the owner and the borrower concerning the circumstances of its death. For example, he borrowed it for half a day and rented it for half a day, borrowed it for one day and rented it for one day, or he borrowed one animal and rented another and one of the animals dies. The owner says: 'The borrowed animal died,' 'It died on the day it was borrowed,' or 'It died during the time it was borrowed,' and the borrower says: 'I don't know,' we follow the principle: When a person desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is on him. This principle also applies if the borrower says: 'The rented ox died,' 'It died on the day it was rented,' or 'It died during the time it was rented,' and the owner said: 'I don't know,' or they both said: 'I don't know.'

If the owner cannot bring proof that the borrowed ox died, the renter must take an oath that the rented ox died or that he does not know, and he is freed of liability.

If the owner claims that the borrowed ox died, and the the watchman claims that the rented ox died, the watchman must take an oath that the rented ox died in an ordinary manner as he claims. Because of the convention of gilgul sh'vuah, he must also include in his oath that it was the rented ox that died.

ג

הַשּׁוֹאֵל פָּרָה מֵחֲבֵרוֹ. שְׁאָלָהּ חֲצִי הַיּוֹם וּשְׂכָרָהּ חֲצִי הַיּוֹם. שְׁאָלָהּ הַיּוֹם וּשְׂכָרָהּ לְמָחָר. שָׁאַל אַחַת וְשָׂכַר אַחַת וּמֵתָה אַחַת מֵהֶן. הַמַּשְׁאִיל אוֹמֵר שְׁאוּלָה מֵתָה בַּיּוֹם שֶׁהָיְתָה שְׁאוּלָה מֵתָה בַּשָּׁעָה שֶׁהָיְתָה שְׁאוּלָה מֵתָה וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הַשּׁוֹאֵל שְׂכוּרָה מֵתָה בַּיּוֹם שֶׁהָיְתָה שְׂכוּרָה מֵתָה בַּשָּׁעָה שֶׁהָיְתָה שְׂכוּרָה מֵתָה. וְהַמַּשְׁאִיל אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר זֶה אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. לֹא הָיְתָה שָׁם רְאָיָה יִשָּׁבַע הַשּׂוֹכֵר עַל הַשְּׂכוּרָה שֶׁמֵּתָה אוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ וְיִפָּטֵר. זֶה אוֹמֵר שְׁאוּלָה וְזֶה אוֹמֵר שְׂכוּרָה יִשָּׁבַע הַשּׁוֹמֵר עַל הַשְּׂכוּרָה שֶׁמֵּתָה כְּדַרְכָּהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁטָּעַן וִיגַלְגֵּל עָלָיו שֶׁהַשְּׂכוּרָה הִיא שֶׁמֵּתָה:

4

The following rules apply when a person borrows two cows from a colleague, borrowing them for half the day and renting them for half the day, and the cows die. If the owner claims 'They died during the time that they were borrowed,' and the watchman replies: 'One did die during the time it was borrowed, but I don't know about the other one," since the watchman is not able to take an oath that denies the owner's claim, he must make restitution for the two cows.

Similar rules apply if the owner gave the watchman three cows, two were borrowed and one was rented and two cows died. If the owner claims: 'It was the two borrowed cows that died,' and the watchman replies: 'Certainly, one of the borrowed cows died, but I do not know whether the second cow that died was the borrowed one or the rented one,' since the watchman cannot take an oath that denies the owner's claim - for he says that he does not know which one died - he must make restitution for the two cows.

In Hilchot To'en V'Nit'an, it is explained how and for which reasons a defendant is required to pay in this law and in all similar cases where a defendant is not able to take an oath.

ד

הִשְׁאִילוֹ שְׁתֵּי פָּרוֹת חֲצִי הַיּוֹם בִּשְׁאֵלָה וַחֲצִי הַיּוֹם בִּשְׂכִירוּת. הַמַּשְׁאִיל אוֹמֵר בִּזְמַן הַשְּׁאֵלָה מֵתָה וְהַלָּה אוֹמֵר אַחַת מֵתָה בִּזְמַן הַשְּׁאֵלָה וְהָאַחֶרֶת אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִשָּׁבַע יְשַׁלֵּם הַשְּׁתַּיִם. וְכֵן אִם מָסַר לוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ פָּרוֹת שְׁתַּיִם שְׁאוּלוֹת וְאַחַת שְׂכוּרָה. הַמַּשְׁאִיל אוֹמֵר שְׁתַּיִם הַשְּׁאוּלוֹת הֵן שֶׁמֵּתוּ וְהַשּׁוֹאֵל אוֹמֵר אַחַת הַשְּׁאוּלָה מֵתָה וַדַּאי אֲבָל הַשְּׁנִיָּה שֶׁמֵּתָה אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם הַשְּׁאוּלָה הָאַחֶרֶת אוֹ הַשְּׂכוּרָה. מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִשָּׁבַע שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ יְשַׁלֵּם הַשְּׁתַּיִם. וּבְהִלְכוֹת טוֹעֵן וְנִטְעָן יִתְבָּאֵר דִּין זֶה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ מִכָּל הַטּוֹעֲנִין שֶׁאֵינָן יְכוֹלִים לְהִשָּׁבַע וְכֵיצַד מְשַׁלְּמִין וּמֵאֵי זֶה טַעַם הֵם מְשַׁלְּמִים:

She'elah uFikkadon - Chapter 4

1

The following law applies when a person entrusts an article to a colleague without charge, and it is lost or stolen. The watchman is required to take an oath that the entrusted article was lost or stolen. He is then freed of liability, as Exodus 22:6-7 states: 'If it is stolen from the person's house..., the owner of the house shall approach the court and take an oath that he did not extend his hands to his colleague's undertakings.'

When he takes that oath, based on the convention of gilgul sh'vuah,the watchman must also include in the oath:

a) that he was not negligent, but rather guarded the article in the ordinary manner watchmen do, and

b) that he did not use the article for his personal use before if it was stolen. For if the article was stolen after he used it for his own purposes, he is responsible for it.

א

הַמַּפְקִיד אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ בְּחִנָּם וְנִגְנַב אוֹ אָבַד הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁבָּע וְנִפְטָר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב ו) "וְגֻנַּב מִבֵּית הָאִישׁ" וְגוֹ' (שמות כב ז) "וְנִקְרַב בַּעַל הַבַּיִת אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים אִם לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת רֵעֵהוּ". וּמְגַלְגְּלִין עָלָיו בְּתוֹךְ הַשְּׁבוּעָה שֶׁלֹּא פָּשַׁע אֶלָּא שָׁמַר כְּדֶרֶךְ הַשּׁוֹמְרִין וְלֹא שָׁלַח בּוֹ יָד וְאַחַר נִגְנַב. שֶׁאִם נִגְנַב אַחַר שֶׁשָּׁלַח יָד בַּפִּקָּדוֹן חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ:

2

Since the Torah freed an unpaid watchman from responsibility when an article was stolen, we can certainly infer that he is freed of responsibility when the entrusted object is destroyed by major factors beyond the watchman's control; for example, an animal was injured, taken captive or died.

This leniency applies provided that the watchman does not misappropriate the entrusted article. If, however, he misappropriates the entrusted article, he is liable even though it is destroyed by forces beyond his control.

What is meant by 'in the ordinary manner watchmen do'? Everything depends on the entrusted article. There are certain entrusted articles that the manner in which they are watched is by placing them in a gatehouse - for example, beams and rocks. There are other entrusted articles that the manner in which they are watched is by placing them in a courtyard - for example, large packages of flax and the like. There are other entrusted articles that the manner in which they are watched is by placing them in a house - for example, dressings and garments. There are other entrusted articles that the manner in which they are watched is by placing them in a locked chest or a locked cabinet - e.g., silk clothes, silver objects, golden objects, and the like.

ב

הוֹאִיל וּפָטַר הַכָּתוּב אֶת שׁוֹמֵר חִנָּם מִן הַגְּנֵבָה קַל וָחֹמֶר מִן הָאֳנָסִין הַגְּדוֹלִים כְּגוֹן שְׁבוּרָה וּשְׁבוּיָה וּמֵתָה וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא שָׁלַח יָד בַּפִּקָּדוֹן אֲבָל שָׁלַח יָד בַּפִּקָּדוֹן חַיָּב בְּאֳנָסָיו. כֵּיצַד דֶּרֶךְ הַשּׁוֹמְרִים. הַכּל לְפִי הַפִּקָּדוֹן. יֵשׁ פִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ שְׁמִירָתוֹ לְהַנִּיחוֹ בְּבֵית שַׁעַר כְּגוֹן הַקּוֹרוֹת וְהָאֲבָנִים. וְיֵשׁ פִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ שְׁמִירָתוֹ לְהַנִּיחוֹ בֶּחָצֵר כְּגוֹן חֲבִילוֹת פִּשְׁתָּן הַגְּדוֹלוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וְיֵשׁ פִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ שְׁמִירָתוֹ לְהַנִּיחוֹ בַּבַּיִת כְּגוֹן שִׂמְלָה וְטַלִּית. וְיֵשׁ פִּקָּדוֹן שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ שְׁמִירָתוֹ לְהַנִּיחוֹ בְּתֵבָה אוֹ בְּמִגְדָּל וְנוֹעֵל עָלָיו כְּגוֹן בִּגְדֵי מֶשִׁי וּכְלֵי כֶּסֶף וּכְלֵי זָהָב וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן:

3

When a watchman placed an object in an inappropriate place and it was stolen from there or lost, he is considered negligent and is required to make restitution. This law applies even if it was destroyed by forces beyond the watchman's control - e.g., a fire broke out and consumed the entire house . It makes no difference whether the watchman placed the entrusted article together with his own property or not. If the place is fit for safekeeping, he is not liable. If it is not fit for safekeeping, he is liable. He may be careless with his own property. He does not have the right to treat another person's property in that manner.

ג

הַשּׁוֹמֵר שֶׁהִנִּיחַ הַפִּקָּדוֹן בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵינוֹ רָאוּי לוֹ וְנִגְנַב מִשָּׁם אוֹ אָבַד אֲפִלּוּ נֶאֱנַס שָׁם כְּגוֹן שֶׁנָּפְלָה דְּלֵקָה וְשָׂרַף כָּל הַבַּיִת הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹשֵׁעַ וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִנִּיחַ הַפִּקָּדוֹן עִם שֶׁלּוֹ אִם רָאוּי לִשְׁמִירָה פָּטוּר וְאִם אֵין הַמָּקוֹם רָאוּי לִשְׁמִירָה חַיָּב. בְּשֶׁלּוֹ הוּא רַשַּׁאי וְאֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי בְּשֶׁל אֲחֵרִים:

4

The only appropriate way of guarding silver coins and dinarim of gold is to bury them in the ground, placing at least a handbreadth of earth over them, or to hide them in a wall within a handbreadth of the ceiling.

They should not be hidden in the midst of the wall, lest the thieves check thereand steal them. Even if a person locked them securely in a chest or hid them in a place where a person would not recognize or be aware of them, he is considered negligent and is liable to make restitution.

Several men of understanding have ruled that the same rules apply with regard to any object that is light and will not be destroyed speedily in the ground - e.g., slabs of silver. Needless to say, this applies to slabs of gold and to jewels. The only appropriate way of guarding such objects is in the ground. I tend to support this ruling.

ד

הַכְּסָפִים וְהַדִּינָרִין אֵין לָהֶם שְׁמִירָה אֶלָּא בַּקַּרְקַע וְיִתֵּן עֲלֵיהֶם טֶפַח עָפָר. אוֹ יִטְמְנֵם בַּכֹּתֶל בַּטֶּפַח הַסָּמוּךְ לַקּוֹרָה. אֲבָל לֹא בְּאֶמְצַע הַכֹּתֶל שֶׁמָּא יַחְפְּרוּ הַגַּנָּבִים שָׁם וְיִגְנְבוּ. אֲפִלּוּ נָעַל עֲלֵיהֶם כָּרָאוּי בְּתֵבָה אוֹ הֶחְבִּיא אוֹתָם בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין אָדָם מַכִּירוֹ וְלֹא מַרְגִּישׁ בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹשֵׁעַ וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. הוֹרוּ מִקְצָת הַמְּבִינִים שֶׁהוּא הַדִּין לְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁמַּשָּׂאוֹ קַל וְאֵין הַקַּרְקַע מְאַבֶּדֶת אוֹתוֹ בִּמְהֵרָה כְּגוֹן לְשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁל כֶּסֶף וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לְשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁל זָהָב וַאֲבָנִים טוֹבוֹת שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם שְׁמִירָה אֶלָּא בַּקַּרְקַע. וְלָזֶה דַּעְתִּי נוֹטֶה:

5

When a person entrusts money to a colleague on Friday afternoon between the setting of the sun and the appearance of the stars, the watchman is not obligated to undertake the difficulty of burying it until Saturday night. If, however, he delayed burying it on Saturday night and before he buried it that night, it was stolen or destroyed by factors beyond his control, he is liable. If he is a Torah scholar, the watchman is not liable if he waits until after havdalah to bury it.

ה

הַמַּפְקִיד אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ כְּסָפִים עֶרֶב שַׁבָּת בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לִטְרֹחַ וְלִקְבֹּר אוֹתָן עַד מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת. וְאִם נִתְאַחֵר לְמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת כְּדֵי לְקָבְרָן וְלֹא קְבָרָן וְנִגְנְבוּ אוֹ נֶאֶנְסוּ חַיָּב. וְאִם תַּלְמִיד חָכָם הוּא אֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁהֵא אַחַר שֶׁיַּבְדִּיל כְּדֵי לְקָבְרָן:

6

When a person entrusts money to a colleague on a journey to bring to his home, or sends money with him from one place to another, the money must be bound in a packet and held in the watchman's hand or tied on his stomach opposite his faceand carried in this fashion until he reaches his home and buries it in the appropriate manner. If he did not tie it in this manner, even if the money was lost because of factors beyond the watchman's control, he is liable. The rationale is that at the outset, he was negligent.

An incident once occurred concerning a person who entrusted money to a colleague. The colleague placed the money in a partition made from reeds. The money was hidden in the midst of the partition and was stolen from there. When the matter was brought to the Sages, they said: Although this is an excellent manner of guarding to prevent theft,it is not a proper place to guard money in the event of fire. Since he did not bury it in the ground or the walls of a building, he is considered negligent. Whenever a person is negligent in his care for the article at the outset, even if it is ultimately destroyed by forces beyond his control, he is liable. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ו

הִפְקִיד אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ כְּסָפִים בַּדֶּרֶךְ לְהוֹלִיכָם לְבֵיתוֹ אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁלַח עִמּוֹ מָעוֹת מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם צְרִיכִין שֶׁיִּהְיוּ צְרוּרִים וּמֻנָּחִים בְּיָדוֹ אוֹ קְשׁוּרִים כָּרָאוּי עַל בִּטְנוֹ מִכְּנֶגֶד פָּנָיו עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לְבֵיתוֹ וְיִקְבְּרֵם כָּרָאוּי. וְאִם לֹא קְשָׁרָן בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֹּאת אֲפִלּוּ נֶאֶנְסוּ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁהֲרֵי תְּחִלָּתוֹ בִּפְשִׁיעָה. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהִפְקִיד מָעוֹת אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ וְהִנִּיחָם בִּמְחִצָּה שֶׁל קָנִים וְהָיוּ טְמוּנִים בָּעֳבִי הַמְּחִצָּה וְנִגְנְבוּ מִשָּׁם וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁזּוֹ שְׁמִירָה מְעֻלָּה לְעִנְיַן גְּנֵבָה אֵינָהּ שְׁמִירָה כָּרָאוּי לְעִנְיַן הָאֵשׁ וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁלֹּא טְמָנוֹ בְּקַרְקַע אוֹ בְּכֹתֶל בִּנְיָן פּוֹשֵׁעַ הוּא וְכָל שֶׁתְּחִלָּתוֹ בִּפְשִׁיעָה וְסוֹפוֹ בְּאֹנֶס חַיָּב. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

7

The following law applies when a person entrusts either articles or money to a colleague. Should the owner demand of the watchman: 'Give me my entrusted article,' and the watchman tells him: 'I do not know where I placed the entrusted article,' or 'I do not know where I buried the money. Wait; I will look for it, find it and return it to you,' he is considered negligent and is required to make restitution immediately.

ז

הַמַּפְקִיד אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ בֵּין כֵּלִים בֵּין מָעוֹת וְאָמַר לוֹ תֵּן לִי פִּקְדוֹנִי וְאָמַר לוֹ הַשּׁוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אָנָּה הִנַּחְתִּי פִּקָּדוֹן זֶה אוֹ בְּאֵי זֶה מָקוֹם קָבַרְתִּי הַכְּסָפִים הַמְתֵּן לִי עַד שֶׁאֲבַקֵּשׁ וְאֶמְצָא וְאַחְזִיר לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹשֵׁעַ וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם מִיָּד:

8

Whenever a person entrusts either articles or money to a colleague, he entrusts them with the understanding that they may be placed in the care of the person's wife, children or other members of his household who are above the age of majority. If, however, the watchman gave the entrusted article to his sons or the members of his household who are below majority, his servants - whether they are above or below majority - or one of his relatives who does not dwell in his home and is not dependent on his larder - needless, to say, this applies if he gives the article to a stranger - he is considered negligent and is required to make restitution, unless the second watchman brings proof that he was not negligent, as we have explained.

An incident occurred with regard to a person who entrusted money to a colleague. The watchman gave the money to his mother, who hid it but did not bury it. Our Sages ruled: The watchman is not liable to pay, because he gave the money to his mother, and whenever a person entrusts an article to a colleague, he entrusts it with the understanding that it may be placed in the care of his sons or the members of his household.

Even though the watchman did not tell his mother that the money was not his, but had been entrusted to him, he is not liable, for he could claim: 'Certainly, she would have cared for it more carefully if she thought it belonged to me.' Similarly, his mother is not liable, because he did not tell her that the money was entrusted to him.

Our Sages ruled: The watchman must take an oath that the money that was entrusted to him was the money that he gave his mother, and the mother must take an oath that she hid it and it was stolen. Afterwards, they are both absolved of liability. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ח

כָּל הַמַּפְקִיד אֵצֶל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת בֵּין כֵּלִים בֵּין מָעוֹת עַל דַּעַת אִשְׁתּוֹ וּבָנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ הַגְּדוֹלִים הוּא מַפְקִיד. אֲבָל אִם מְסָרָן לְבָנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ הַקְּטַנִּים אוֹ לַעֲבָדָיו בֵּין גְּדוֹלִים בֵּין קְטַנִּים אוֹ לְאֶחָד מִקְּרוֹבָיו שֶׁאֵינָן שְׁרוּיִין עִמּוֹ בַּבַּיִת וְאֵין סוֹמְכִין עַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹ וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם מְסָרָן לְאַחֵר הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹשֵׁעַ וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הֵבִיא הַשּׁוֹמֵר הַשֵּׁנִי רְאָיָה שֶׁלֹּא פָּשַׁע כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהִפְקִיד מָעוֹת אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ וּנְתָנָם הַשּׁוֹמֵר לְאִמּוֹ וְהֶחְבִּיאָה אוֹתָן וְלֹא טָמְנָה אוֹתָן וְנִגְנְבוּ וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אֵין הַשּׁוֹמֵר חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנְּתָנָם לְאִמּוֹ שֶׁכָּל הַמַּפְקִיד עַל דַּעַת בָּנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ הוּא מַפְקִיד וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר לָהּ פִּקָּדוֹן הֵם יֵשׁ לוֹ לִטְעֹן כָּל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁהִיא נִזְהֶרֶת בָּהֶן אִם הָיְתָה סְבוּרָה שֶׁהֵן שֶׁלִּי. וְכֵן אֵין אִמּוֹ חַיֶּבֶת לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא אָמַר לָהּ שֶׁהֵן פִּקָּדוֹן. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים יִשָּׁבַע הַשּׁוֹמֵר שֶׁאוֹתָן הַמָּעוֹת עַצְמָן הֵן שֶׁנְּתָנָן לְאִמּוֹ וְתִשָּׁבַע הָאֵם שֶׁהֶחְבִּיאָה אוֹתָן וְנִגְנְבוּ וְיִפָּטְרוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

9

From the above, one may conclude that should a watchman give an entrusted article to his wife or to the members of his household and inform them that it was an entrusted article, if they did not guard it in a manner appropriate for a watchman, they are liable to pay the owner, and the person originally appointed as a watchman is not liable. The rationale is that whenever a person entrusts either articles or money to a colleague, he entrusts them with the understanding that they may be placed in the care of the person's wife or children.

An incident occurred with regard to a person who entrusted hops to a colleague. That colleague had other hops in his possession. The colleague told his attendant: 'Place these hops into the beer.' The attendant erred and took the hops that had been entrusted instead.

The Sages ruled that the attendant is not liable, because the watchman did not tell him: 'Place these hops, and do not place those hops.' Therefore, the attendant thought that he was merely recommending one pile, but not insisting on it. The owner is also not liable, because he instructed him to take the hops from his own pile. He is required to make restitution only for the benefit he received. Therefore, if the beer becomes vinegar, he is not liable to pay anything. Regardless of the outcome, the watchman is required to take an oath that these in fact were the circumstances. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ט

מִכָּאן אַתָּה לָמֵד שֶׁהַשּׁוֹמֵר שֶׁמָּסַר הַפִּקָּדוֹן לְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ וְהוֹדִיעָן שֶׁהוּא פִּקָּדוֹן וְלֹא שָׁמְרוּ כְּדֶרֶךְ הַשּׁוֹמְרִין שֶׁהֵן חַיָּבִין לְשַׁלֵּם לְבַעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת פָּטוּר שֶׁכָּל הַמַּפְקִיד עַל דַּעַת אִשְׁתּוֹ וּבָנָיו הוּא מַפְקִיד. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהִפְקִיד כְּשׁוּת אֵצֶל אֶחָד וְהָיָה לוֹ לַשּׁוֹמֵר כְּשׁוּת אַחֶרֶת וְאָמַר לְשַׁמָּשׁוֹ מִזֶּה הַכְּשׁוּת תַּשְׁלִיךְ לְתוֹךְ הַשֵּׁכָר וְהָלַךְ הַשַּׁמָּשׁ וְהִשְׁלִיךְ מִכְּשׁוּת שֶׁל פִּקָּדוֹן. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁהַשַּׁמָּשׁ פָּטוּר שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא אָמַר מִזֶּה הַשְׁלֵךְ וּמִזֶּה אַל תַּשְׁלֵךְ וְדִמָּה שֶׁהוּא מַרְאֶה מָקוֹם וְאֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד עַל זֶה. וְכֵן בַּעַל הַבַּיִת פָּטוּר שֶׁהֲרֵי אָמַר לוֹ מִזֶּה הַשְׁלֵךְ וְאֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם אֶלָּא דְּמֵי מַה שֶּׁנֶּהֱנָה בִּלְבַד. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נַעֲשָׂה הַשֵּׁכָר חֹמֶץ פָּטוּר מִלְּשַׁלֵּם. וּבֵין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ חַיָּב הַשּׁוֹמֵר שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁכָּךְ אֵרַע. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

She'elah uFikkadon - Chapter 5

1

If money designated to be given to the poor or to be used for the redemption of captives was given to a person, he was negligent in guarding it and it was stolen, the watchman is not liable. This is derived from Exodus 22:6, which states: "If a man gives money or articles to his colleague to watch...." The wording implies that obligations determined by the verse apply when the money or the article was given to watch, but not when it was given to divide among the poor. This decision is rendered, because there is no one to claim the money as his own.

Even if the thieves attacked the person and he saved himself by giving them the money designated for the redemption of captives, he is not liable. There is no greater redemption of captives than this.

When does the above apply? When the money was not entrusted to him for the sake of the poor people of a particular place or a designated group of captives. If, however, the money was designated for a particular group of poor people or captives, and is thus set aside for them, it is considered to be money that people can claim. Therefore, the watchman must pay if he was negligent, or take an oath that he was not negligent, as is required of all watchmen.

א

מִי שֶׁהִפְקִידוּ אֶצְלוֹ מָעוֹת שֶׁל עֲנִיִּים אוֹ שֶׁל פִּדְיוֹן שְׁבוּיִים וּפָשַׁע בָּהֶם וְנִגְנְבוּ פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כב ו) "לִשְׁמֹר" וְלֹא לְחַלֵּק לָעֲנִיִּים וַהֲרֵי הוּא מָמוֹן שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תּוֹבְעִים. אֲפִלּוּ בָּאוּ עָלָיו גַּנָּבִים וְקָדַם וְהִצִּיל עַצְמוֹ בְּמָמוֹן שְׁבוּיִים פָּטוּר. אֵין לְךָ פִּדְיוֹן שְׁבוּיִים גָּדוֹל מִזֶּה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁאֵין זֶה הַמָּמוֹן מֻפְקָד לַעֲנִיֵּי מָקוֹם זֶה אוֹ לִשְׁבוּיִים [אֵלּוּ]. אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ לַעֲנִיִּים אֵלּוּ אוֹ לִשְׁבוּיִים אֵלּוּ וַהֲרֵי הוּא קָצוּץ לָהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה הַמָּמוֹן שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ תּוֹבְעִין וִישַׁלֵּם אִם פָּשַׁע אוֹ יִשָּׁבַע שֶׁלֹּא פָּשַׁע כְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל הַשּׁוֹמְרִים:

2

The following rules apply when a person entrusts money or valuable articles to a colleague, thieves come and attack him and he gives them the entrusted article before offering any of his other property to save himself. If the person has the reputation of being wealthy, he is liable. The rationale is that we may presume that the thieves came because of the watchman. Thus, he is saving himself with money belonging to a colleague. If the watchman does not have the reputation of being wealthy, we presume that the thieves came only because of the entrusted article. Hence, the watchman is not liable. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ב

הַמַּפְקִיד אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ מָמוֹן אוֹ כֵּלִים חֲשׁוּבִין וּבָאוּ עָלָיו גַּנָּבִים וְקָדַם וְנָתַן לָהֶם הַפִּקָּדוֹן לְהַצִּיל עַצְמוֹ אִם הָיָה אָמוּד שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל מָמוֹן חַיָּב שֶׁחֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁבִּגְלָלוֹ בָּאוּ הַגַּנָּבִים וְנִמְצָא זֶה מַצִּיל עַצְמוֹ בְּמָמוֹן חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאִם אֵינוֹ אָמוּד חֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בָּאוּ אֶלָּא לְשֵׁם הַפִּקָּדוֹן וּפָטוּר. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

3

The following rules apply when a person entrusts articles or fruit to a colleague. If thieves come and steal the entrusted article in his presence and he remains silent, he may be held liable. If people would have come and rescued the entrusted article had he called out, he is considered negligent for remaining silent and he is obligated to make restitution. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

ג

הַמַּפְקִיד אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ כֵּלִים אוֹ פֵּרוֹת וּבָאוּ גַּנָּבִים וּגְנָבוּם בְּפָנָיו וְאִלּוּ הָיָה צוֹוֵחַ הָיוּ בָּאִין בְּנֵי אָדָם וּמַצִּילִין אוֹתָן הוֹאִיל וְלֹא צָוַח הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹשֵׁעַ וְחַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

4

The following laws apply when two people entrusted money to a colleague, one 100 zuz and the other 200 zuz, both claim to have entrusted the 200 zuz, and the watchman does not recall which one deposited 200, and which one 100. Each of the claimants must take an oath that he was the one who deposited the 200 zuz He may then collect the money he claims, as is the law with regard to any person who takes an oath and collects his due. The watchman must pay each claimant 200, losing 100 zuz from his own resources. The rationale is that he was negligent, for he should have written down the name of each person on the packet that he entrusted.

Therefore, if the two people together brought him the 300 zuz in a single packet, and afterwards each claims that the 200 belongs to him, the watchman is not considered negligent if he does not remember who brought the larger sum. He should give each one a maneh, and the balance should remain in the watchman's possession forever, or until one of them acknowledges the other's claim. The rationale is that the watchman can explain: "I saw that you two were not precise with each other, as indicated by the fact that you brought the money to me in a single packet. Therefore, I did not trouble myself to know and continuously remember who owned 100 and who owned 200."

Similar laws apply if two people entrusted one watchman with two utensils, one large and one small, each one claimed to be the owner of the larger utensil, and the watchman did not remember to whom it belonged. Each of the claimants must take an oath supporting his claim. The watchman must then give one of them the larger utensil, and the value of the larger one to the other. The smaller utensil remains his.If the two brought the two in a single container, he should give the smaller utensil to one and the worth of that utensil to the other. He may keep the remainder in his possession until one claimant acknowledges the other's claim or until eternity.

Similar laws apply if only one article was entrusted, and two people claim it as their own and the watchman says, "One of you is the owner, but I do not know which one." He must pay both of them. Similarly, when two people each entrust an animal to a shepherd, and one animal dies, if the watchman does not know whose animal died, he must make restitution to both of them. If they placed them in his herd without informing him, he may place one animal between them and depart. That animal shall remain until one acknowledges the other's claim or until they desire to divide it.

ד

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהִפְקִידוּ אֵצֶל אֶחָד זֶה מֵאָה וְזֶה מָאתַיִם וְכָל אֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם אוֹמֵר אֲנִי הוּא שֶׁהִפְקַדְתִּי הַמָּאתַיִם וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ יִשָּׁבַע כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן שֶׁהִפְקִיד מָאתַיִם וְנוֹטֵל כְּדִין כָּל נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל. וְיִתֵּן מָאתַיִם לָזֶה וּמָאתַיִם לָזֶה וּמַפְסִיד מֵאָה מִבֵּיתוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא פּוֹשֵׁעַ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ לִכְתֹּב שֵׁם כָּל אֶחָד עַל כִּיס שֶׁלּוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הֵבִיאוּ לוֹ הַשְּׁנַיִם כְּאֶחָד שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת בְּכֶרֶךְ אֶחָד וּבָאוּ וְתָבְעוּ וְכָל אֶחָד אוֹמֵר הַמָּאתַיִם שֶׁלִּי נוֹתֵן מָנֶה לָזֶה וּמָנֶה לָזֶה וְהַשְּׁאָר יִהְיֶה מֻנָּח אֶצְלוֹ עַד לְעוֹלָם אוֹ עַד שֶׁיּוֹדֶה הָאֶחָד לַחֲבֵרוֹ. שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר לָהֶם כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאִיתִי שֶׁאֵין אַתֶּם מַקְפִּידִין זֶה עַל זֶה וַהֲבֵאתֶם בְּכֶרֶךְ אֶחָד לֹא הִטְרַחְתִּי עַצְמִי לֵידַע וְלִזְכֹּר תָּמִיד מִי בַּעַל הַמֵּאָה וּמִי בַּעַל הַמָּאתַיִם. וְכֵן אִם הִפְקִידוּ אֶצְלוֹ שְׁנֵי כֵּלִים אֶחָד גָּדוֹל וְאֶחָד קָטָן וְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֲנִי הוּא בַּעַל הַגָּדוֹל וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ יִשָּׁבְעוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם וְיִתֵּן הַגָּדוֹל לְאֶחָד מֵהֶם וּדְמֵי הַגָּדוֹל לַשֵּׁנִי וְיִשָּׁאֵר לוֹ הַקָּטָן. וְאִם הֱבִיאוּם בְּכֶרֶךְ אֶחָד כְּאֶחָד נוֹתֵן הַקָּטָן לָאֶחָד וּדְמֵי הַקָּטָן לַשֵּׁנִי וְהַשְּׁאָר יִהְיֶה מֻנָּח אֶצְלוֹ עַד שֶׁיּוֹדֶה הָאֶחָד לַחֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ עַד לְעוֹלָם. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁתְּבָעוּהוּ שְׁנַיִם זֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי הוּא בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי הוּא וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֶחָד מִכֶּם הוּא וְאֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ מִי הוּא יְשַׁלֵּם לִשְׁנֵיהֶם. וְכֵן שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהִפְקִידוּ שְׁתֵּי בְּהֵמוֹת אֵצֶל רוֹעֶה וּמֵתָה אַחַת מֵהֶן וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁל מִי הָיְתָה יְשַׁלֵּם לִשְׁנֵיהֶם. וְאִם הִפְקִידוּ בְּעֶדְרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתּוֹ מַנִּיחַ הַבְּהֵמָה בֵּינֵיהֶם וּמִסְתַּלֵּק וְתִהְיֶה מֻנַּחַת עַד שֶׁיּוֹדֶה הָאֶחָד לַחֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּרְצוּ לַחֲלֹק אוֹתָהּ:

5

When a person entrusts produce to a colleague, the watchman should not mix it together with his own produce. The following rules apply if the watchman transgressed and mixed the produce together. He should calculate the quantity of produce entrusted to him, see how much produce was lacking from the entire amount and estimate the amount of loss suffered by the entrusted produce. He should return this amount to the owner after he takes an oath.

If the watchman made use of the combined quantity of produce and did not know how much he used, he should subtract the standard norm before returning the produce. For example, for wheat and for shelled rice, he should subtract four and a half kabbin for every kor; for barley and for millet, he should subtract nine kabbin for each kor; and for buckwheat, flax seeds in their stalks and unshelled rice, he should subtract three se'ah for each kor.

When does the above apply? When the original measurement of the produce was made at harvest time, and it was returned during the harvest time. If, however, the watchman returns the produce in the rainy season, he should not make a deduction because of spoilage, for the produce swells.

Similarly, a watchman may deduct a sixth of a quantity of wine entrusted to him and three lugin for every 100 lugin of oil entrusted to him, one and half lugin for dregs and one and a half lugin for absorption. If the oil was refined, the watchman should not make a deduction for dregs. If the containers are old, he should not make a deduction for absorption.

ה

הַמַּפְקִיד פֵּרוֹת אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יְעָרְבֵם עִם פֵּרוֹתָיו. עָבַר וְעֵרֵב יַחְשֹׁב כַּמָּה הָיָה הַפִּקָּדוֹן וְיִרְאֶה כַּמָּה חָסֵר הַכּל וְיַחְשֹׁב חֶסְרוֹן הַפִּקָּדוֹן וְיִתֵּן לוֹ אַחַר שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע. נִסְתַּפֵּק מֵהֶן וְלֹא יָדַע כַּמָּה נִסְתַּפֵּק יוֹצִיא לוֹ חֶסְרוֹנוֹ לְחִטִּים וּלְאֹרֶז קָלוּף אַרְבָּעָה קַבִּין וּמֶחֱצָה לְכָל כּוֹר. לִשְׂעוֹרִים וּלְדֹחַן תִּשְׁעָה קַבִּין לְכָל כּוֹר. לְכֻסְּמִין וּלְזֶרַע פִּשְׁתָּן בְּגִבְעוֹלָיו וּלְאֹרֶז שֶׁאֵינוֹ קָלוּף שָׁלֹשׁ סְאִין לְכָל כּוֹר. וְכַמִּדָּה הַזֹּאת לְכָל שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁמָּדַד לוֹ בִּימוֹת הַגֹּרֶן וְהֶחֱזִיר לוֹ בִּימוֹת הַגֹּרֶן. אֲבָל מָדַד בִּימוֹת הַגֹּרֶן וְהֶחְזִיר לוֹ בִּימוֹת הַגְּשָׁמִים אֵינוֹ מוֹצִיא לוֹ חֶסְרוֹנוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן מוֹתִירוֹת. וְכֵן מוֹצִיא לוֹ שְׁתוּת לְיַיִן וּשְׁלֹשֶׁת לוֹגִין שֶׁמֶן לְמֵאָה לוֹגִין לוֹג וּמֶחֱצָה שְׁמָרִים וְלוֹג וּמֶחֱצָה בֶּלַע. אִם הָיָה מְזֻקָּק אֵינוֹ מוֹצִיא לוֹ שְׁמָרִים. וְאִם הָיוּ הַקַּנְקַנִּים יְשָׁנִים אֵינוֹ מוֹצִיא לוֹ בֶּלַע:

6

When a person entrusts produce that has not been measured to a watchman, and the watchman mixes it together with his own produce without measuring it, the watchman is considered negligent.

If the owner of the fruit says, "There was this and this amount of produce entrusted," and the watchman says, "I don't know how much there was," he is liable. For he is obligated to take an oath and yet cannot take the oath. My teachers, Rav Yosef HaLevi and his teacher, ruled in this manner.

Similarly, whenever a watchman is obligated to pay, but does not know how much he is obligated to pay, if the owners say: "It was worth such and such," they may collect this amount without taking an oath. This law applies provided the owner claims a sum or an object that he can be presumed to possess. The watchman may have a ban of ostracism issued against anyone who expropriates more than his due.

What is the rationale for this law? Consider: The owner entrusted a purse full of gold coins to the watchman, and the watchman was negligent. The owner says, "It contained 200 dinarim, and the watchman says, "It certainly contained dinarim, but I do not know how much it contained." Thus, a claim is being issued for 200. The watchman admits a portion of the claim, and does not know about the remainder of the claim. He is thus obligated to take an oath, but cannot. Hence, he is required to pay, as will be explained.

ו

הִפְקִיד אֶצְלוֹ פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן מְדוּדִין וְעֵרְבָן עִם פֵּרוֹתָיו וְלֹא מְדָדָן הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹשֵׁעַ. בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן אוֹמֵר כָּךְ וְכָךְ הָיוּ וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ יְשַׁלֵּם בְּלֹא שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁהֲרֵי חִיֵּב עַצְמוֹ בְּתַשְׁלוּמִין וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ כַּמָּה הוּא חַיָּב וְנִמְצָא חַיָּב שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִשָּׁבַע. וְכָזֶה הוֹרוּ רַבּוֹתַי הָרַב רַבֵּנוּ יוֹסֵף הַלֵּוִי וְרַבּוֹ זַ''ל. וְכֵן כָּל שׁוֹמֵר שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב לְשַׁלֵּם וְאָמַר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ כַּמָּה דָּמִים אֲנִי חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם וְהַבְּעָלִים אוֹמְרִים אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין וְכָךְ וְכָךְ הָיָה שָׁוֶה יִטְּלוּ בְּלֹא שְׁבוּעָה וְהוּא שֶׁיִּטְעֲנוּ דָּבָר שֶׁהֵן אֲמוּדִין בּוֹ. וְיֵשׁ לַשּׁוֹמֵר לְהַחֲרִים עַל מִי שֶׁלָּקַח מִמֶּנּוּ יֶתֶר מִן הָרָאוּי לוֹ. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהַדִּין כָּךְ הוּא הַגַּע עַצְמְךָ שֶׁהִפְקִיד אֶצְלוֹ כִּיס מָלֵא זְהוּבִים וּפָשַׁע בּוֹ הַבְּעָלִים אוֹמְרִים מָאתַיִם דִּינָר הָיוּ וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר וַדַּאי שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹ דִּינָרִים אֲבָל אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ כַּמָּה הָיוּ נִמְצָא זֶה כְּטוֹעֵן מָאתַיִם וְהוֹדָה לוֹ בְּמִקְצָת וְאָמַר הַשְּׁאָר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא מְחֻיָּב שְׁבוּעָה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִשָּׁבַע וּמְשַׁלֵּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

7

The following rules apply when a person's father died, leaving him a closed sack. The heir entrusted it to a colleague for safekeeping, the colleague was negligent in its care, and it was destroyed. The depositor says, "I don't know what it contained. Maybe it contained pearls." Similarly, the watchman states: "I don't know how much I am obligated to pay. Maybe it was filled with pieces of glass."

I maintain that the ruling in this instance is that, as our Sages required, the watchman should take an oath that the entrusted object is no longer in his domain. He should include in this oath that he does not know whether it was worth more than a specific amount. He must then pay the amount that he admits that it was worth. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

An incident occurred concerning a person who entrusted a closed sack to his colleague. The latter was negligent in its care, and it was lost. The owner said, "It contained gold jewelry, pearls and the like." The watchman replied: "I don't know. Perhaps all it contained were pieces of scrap metal or sand."

Our Sages ruled: "The owner of the entrusted article may take an oath supporting his claim, and then collect the sum he claims, provided he claims a sum that he could be presumed to have entrusted to him.

Why must the owner of the entrusted article take an oath in this instance? Because in this instance, the watchman is not obligated to take an oath. For even if the watchman were to admit and say: "I am definitely certain that it contained scrap metal," and the owner claimed: "It contained pearls," the watchman could take a sh'vuat hesset and be freed of obligation. This resembles a case where the plaintiff demands wheat and the defendant admits owing barley. The same laws apply in all analogous situations. The fundamental principles upon which these laws revolve will be explained in Hilchot To'en V'Nit'an.

ז

מֵת אָבִיו וְהִנִּיחַ לוֹ שַׂק צָרוּר וְהִפְקִידוֹ אֶצְלוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ וּפָשַׁע בּוֹ הַמַּפְקִיד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ מֶה הָיוּ בּוֹ שֶׁמָּא מַרְגָּלִיּוֹת הָיוּ בּוֹ וְכֵן הַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ כַּמָּה אֲנִי חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁמָּא זְכוּכִית הָיָה מָלֵא. שׁוּרַת הַדִּין שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֵר בְּטַעֲנָה זוֹ שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע הַשּׁוֹמֵר בְּתַקָּנַת חֲכָמִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ וְיִכְלל בִּשְׁבוּעָתוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹ יֶתֶר עַל שְׁוֵה כָּךְ וְכָךְ וִישַׁלֵּם מַה שֶּׁהוֹדָה בּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהִפְקִיד שַׂק צָרוּר אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ וּפָשַׁע בּוֹ. הַמַּפְקִיד אוֹמֵר חֲלִי זָהָב וּמַרְגָּלִיּוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הָיוּ בּוֹ וְהַשּׁוֹמֵר אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁמָּא סִיגִים אוֹ חוֹל הָיוּ בּוֹ. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים יִשָּׁבַע בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן וְיִטּל וְהוּא שֶׁיִּטְעֹן דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא אָמוּד בּוֹ אוֹ אָמוּד לְהַפְקִידוֹ אֶצְלוֹ. וְלָמָּה נִשְׁבָּע כָּאן בַּעַל הַפִּקָּדוֹן לְפִי שֶׁאֵין הַשּׁוֹמֵר מְחֻיָּב שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הוֹדָה וְאָמַר בָּרִי לִי שֶׁהָיָה מָלֵא סִיגִים וְהַמַּפְקִיד אוֹמֵר מַרְגָּלִיּוֹת הָיוּ הַשּׁוֹמֵר נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת וְנִפְטָר כְּמוֹ שֶׁטְּעָנוֹ חִטִּים וְהוֹדָה לוֹ בִּשְׂעוֹרִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וּבְהִלְכוֹת טוֹעֵן וְנִטְעָן יִתְבָּאֲרוּ עִקְּרֵי הַדְּבָרִים:

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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 the 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.
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