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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 25, Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 26, Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 27

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Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 25

1

The following law applies when a person gives a loan to a colleague and afterwards, a third party says: "I will act as a guarantor," the lender sues the borrower and a third party says: "Let him go. I will act as a guarantor, or the lender was strangling the borrower in the market place and a third party says: "Let him go. I will act as a guarantor." The guarantor is not obligated at all. Even if the prospective guarantor says in the presence of a court: "I will guarantee the money," he is not liable.

If, however, he formalizes his commitment to guarantee the money with a kinyan, he becomes obligated in all the above situations. This applies whether the kinyan was made in the presence of the court, or together with the lender alone.

א

הַמַּלְוֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ וְאַחַר שֶׁהִלְוָהוּ אָמַר לוֹ אֶחָד אֲנִי עָרֵב. אוֹ שֶׁתָּבַע אֶת הַלּוֶֹה בַּדִּין וְאָמַר לוֹ אַחֵר הַנַּח וַאֲנִי עָרֵב. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה חוֹנֵק אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בַּשּׁוּק לִתֵּן לוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ הַנַּח וַאֲנִי עָרֵב. אֵין הֶעָרֵב חַיָּב כְּלוּם. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמַר אֲנִי עָרֵב בִּפְנֵי בֵּית דִּין. אֲבָל אִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁהוּא עָרֵב מָמוֹן זֶה כָּל אֵלּוּ הַפָּנִים בֵּין בִּפְנֵי בֵּית דִּין בֵּין בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין הַמַּלְוֶה נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד:

2

If, however, the guarantor told the lender when the money was being given: "Lend him, and I will be the guarantor," he becomes responsible. In such a situation, a kinyan is not necessary.

Similarly, if a court appointed him a guarantor, he becomes liable even though he did not affirm his commitment with a kinyan. For example, the court desired to expropriate property from the borrower, and this person told them: "Let him be. I will guarantee the debt for you." Since he receives satisfaction from being trusted by the court, he accepts a binding commitment upon himself.

ב

אָמַר לוֹ בִּשְׁעַת מַתַּן מָעוֹת הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד הֶעָרֵב וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ קִנְיָן. וְכֵן אִם בֵּית דִּין עָשׂוּ אוֹתוֹ עָרֵב נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ בֵּית דִּין רוֹצִין לִגְבּוֹת מִן הַלּוֶֹה וְאָמַר לָהֶם הַנִּיחוּהוּ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב לָכֶם הוֹאִיל וְיֵשׁ לוֹ הֲנָאָה שֶׁהֶאֱמִינוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין בְּאוֹתָהּ הֲנָיָה שִׁעְבֵּד עַצְמוֹ:

3

When a person lends money to a colleague because of the commitment of a guarantor, although though the guarantor becomes responsible to the lender, the lender should not demand payment from the guarantor first. Instead, he should demand payment from the borrower first. If he does not pay him, he should return to the guarantor and collect payment from him. When does the above apply? When the borrower does not own property. If, however, the borrower does own property. He should not collect the debt from the guarantor at all. Instead, he should collect from the borrower."

If, however, the borrower is a man of force, and the court cannot expropriate money from him, or he refuses to come to the court, the lender may collect payment from the guarantor first. Afterwards, the guarantor will make a reckoning with the borrower. If the guarantor can extract payment from him, he should. If that is not possible, the court should place the borrower under a ban of ostracism until he repays the guarantor.

ג

הַמַּלְוֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ עַל יְדֵי עָרֵב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶעָרֵב מִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד לַמַּלְוֶה לֹא יִתְבַּע אֶת הֶעָרֵב תְּחִלָּה אֶלָּא תּוֹבֵעַ אֶת הַלּוֶֹה תְּחִלָּה. אִם לֹא נָתַן לוֹ חוֹזֵר אֵצֶל הֶעָרֵב וְנִפְרָע מִמֶּנּוּ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁאֵין נְכָסִים לַלּוֶֹה. אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ נְכָסִים לַלּוֶֹה לֹא יִפָּרַע מִן הֶעָרֵב כְּלָל אֶלָּא מִן הַלּוֶֹה. הָיָה הַלּוֶֹה אַלָּם וְאֵין בֵּית דִּין יְכוֹלִין לְהוֹצִיא מִיָּדוֹ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בָּא לַדִּין הֲרֵי זֶה נִפְרָע מִן הֶעָרֵב תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַעֲשֶׂה הֶעָרֵב דִּין עִם הַלּוֶֹה אִם יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיאוֹ מִיָּדוֹ יוֹצִיא אוֹ יְשַׁמְּתוּהוּ בֵּית דִּין עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן לוֹ:

4

Although the lender makes a stipulation with the guarantor and tells him: "I am giving the loan on the condition that I can collect the debt from whomever I desire," if the borrower possesses property, he should not collect the debt from the guarantor.

If he stipulated, "I am giving the loan on the condition that I can collect the debt from whomever I desire first," or the guarantor was a kablan, the lender may demand payment from this guarantor or this kablan first. He may collect payment from them although the borrower possesses property.

ד

הִתְנָה הַמַּלְוֶה עַל הֶעָרֵב וְאָמַר לוֹ עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֶפָּרַע מִמִּי שֶׁאֶרְצֶה אִם יֵשׁ נְכָסִים לַלּוֶֹה לֹא יִפָּרַע מִן הֶעָרֵב. אָמַר עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֶפָּרַע מִמִּי שֶׁאֶרְצֶה תְּחִלָּה אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה קַבְּלָן הֲרֵי זֶה יִתְבַּע אֶת הֶעָרֵב הַזֶּה אוֹ אֶת הַקַּבְּלָן תְּחִלָּה וְיִפָּרַע מֵהֶן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ נְכָסִים לַלּוֶֹה:

5

Who is considered to be an ordinary guarantor and who is considered to be a kablan? If a person says: "Give him the loan and I will give you," he is considered to be a kablan. The lender has the option of seeking repayment from him, even though he did not explicitly stipulate: "On the condition that I can collect the debt from whomever I desire first."

If, however, he tells him: "Lend him and I will act as a guarantor," "Lend him and I will pay," "Lend him and I am obligated," "Lend him and I will give," "Lend him and I will act as a kablan" "Give him and I will act as a kablan" "Give him and I will pay," "Give him and I am obligated," or "Give him and I will serve as a guarantor" - all of these are statements that cause him to be considered a guarantor. The lender may not demand payment from him first. Nor may he collect payment from him in a situation where the lender possesses property unless he stipulates: "On the condition that I can collect... from whomever I desire first"

ה

אֵיזֶהוּ עָרֵב וְאֵיזֶהוּ קַבְּלָן. אָמַר לוֹ תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי נוֹתֵן לְךָ זֶהוּ קַבְּלָן שֶׁיֵּשׁ לַמַּלְוֶה לְהִפָּרַע מִמֶּנּוּ תְּחִלָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרֵשׁ וְלֹא אָמַר עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֶפָּרַע מִמִּי שֶׁאֶרְצֶה. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי פּוֹרֵעַ הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי חַיָּב הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי נוֹתֵן הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי קַבְּלָן. תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי קַבְּלָן תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי פּוֹרֵעַ תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי חַיָּב תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב. כֻּלָּן לָשׁוֹן עַרְבָנוּת הֵן וְאֵינוֹ תּוֹבְעוֹ תְּחִלָּה וְלֹא נִפְרַע מִמֶּנּוּ בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁיֵּשׁ נְכָסִים לַלּוֶֹה עַד שֶׁיְּפָרֵשׁ וְיֹאמַר מִמִּי שֶׁאֶרְצֶה אֶפָּרַע:

6

When a person guarantees a woman's ketubah he is not obligated to pay, even if he affirmed his commitment with a kinyan. The rationale is that he performed a mitzvah and did not cause her a financial loss. If a father guarantees his son's ketubah and affirms his commitment with a kinyan, the obligation is established. A person who becomes a kablan for a ketubah is liable.

ו

עָרֵב שֶׁל כְּתֻבָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ פָּטוּר מִלְּשַׁלֵּם שֶׁהֲרֵי מִצְוָה עָשָׂה וְלֹא חָסַר מָמוֹן. וְאִם הָיָה הָאָב עָרֵב לִכְתֻבַּת בְּנוֹ וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ חַיָּב. וְקַבְּלָן שֶׁל כְּתֻבָּה חַיָּב:

7

The following rules apply when Reuven sells Shimon a field and Levi accepts financial responsibility for it. Levi is not considered responsible, for this is an asmachta. If he affirmed with a kinyan his commitment to pay the money involved in this sale whenever demanded to do so by Shimon, he is obligated to do so. My masters ruled in this manner.

ז

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁמָּכַר לְשִׁמְעוֹן שָׂדֶה וּבָא לֵוִי וְקִבֵּל אַחֲרָיוּת עָלָיו לֹא נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד לֵוִי שֶׁזּוֹ אַסְמַכְתָּא הִיא. וְאִם קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁהוּא עָרֵב לְשַׁלֵּם דְּמֵי מֶכֶר זֶה כָּל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצֶה שֶׁיִּתְבָּעֶנּוּ לְשִׁמְעוֹן הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב וְכָזֶה הוֹרוּ רַבּוֹתַי:

8

Similarly, if a guarantor or a kablan make a conditional commitment, they do not become obligated even if the commitment is affirmed by a kinyan. The rationale is that this is an asmachta.

What is implied? For example, the guarantor told him: "Give him the loan and I will give you if this-and-this will take place," or "... if it will not take place." The rationale is that whenever a person undertakes an obligation for which he is personally not liable and makes it dependent on a condition: "if this takes place," or "if this does not take place," he never makes a wholehearted commitment or kinyan. Therefore, he does not become liable.

ח

וְכֵן הֶעָרֵב אוֹ הַקַּבְּלָן שֶׁחִיְּבוּ עַצְמָן עַל תְּנַאי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ לֹא נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא אַסְמַכְתָּא. כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי אֶתֵּן לְךָ אִם יִהְיֶה כָּךְ וְכָךְ אוֹ אִם לֹא יִהְיֶה. שֶׁכָּל הַתּוֹלֶה שִׁעְבּוּד שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב בּוֹ בְּאִם יִהְיֶה וְאִם לֹא יִהְיֶה לֹא גָּמַר וְהִקְנָה קִנְיָן שָׁלֵם וּלְפִיכָךְ לֹא נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד:

9

When two people take out loans from the same person and record their debts in the same promissory note or together purchase a single article, they are considered as having guaranteed the other person's commitment even though they do not explicitly agree to do so. The same law applies when one of a group of partners undertakes a loan or makes a purchase for the partnership.

ט

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁלָּווּ בִּשְׁטָר אֶחָד אוֹ שֶׁלָּקְחוּ מִקָּח אֶחָד. וְכֵן הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁלָּוָה אֶחָד מֵהֶן אוֹ לָקַח בְּשֻׁתָּפוּת הֲרֵי הֵן עַרְבָאִין זֶה לָזֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרֵשׁ:

10

When two people both commit themselves to guarantee a debt taken on by one person, when the lender comes to collect payment from the guarantor, he may collect from either one of them, as he desires. If, however, one of them does not possess the entire amount of the debt, the lender may demand payment of the remainder from the other guarantor.

י

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁעָרְבוּ לָאֶחָד כְּשֶׁיָּבוֹא הַמַּלְוֶה לִפָּרַע מִן הֶעָרֵב יִפָּרַע מֵאֵי זֶה מֵהֶן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. וְאִם לֹא הָיָה לְאֶחָד כְּדֵי הַחוֹב חוֹזֵר וְתוֹבֵעַ הַשֵּׁנִי בִּשְׁאָר הַחוֹב:

11

If one person guarantees the debts of two different individuals, when a lender comes to collect payment he should tell the guarantor which of the two debts he is paying so that the guarantor will be able to seek reimbursement from the debtor.

יא

וְאֶחָד שֶׁעָרַב לִשְׁנַיִם כְּשֶׁיִּפְרַע לַמַּלְוֶה יוֹדִיעוֹ עַל חוֹב אֵיזֶה מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם פּוֹרֵעַ כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר עָלָיו:

12

When a person tells a colleague: "Guarantee a debt for so-and-so for this-and-this amount and I will guarantee the sum to you," it is as if he tells him: "Lendhim the money and I will guarantee the debt." Just as the guarantor becomes obligated to the lender, the second guarantor becomes obligated to the first guarantor. The same laws that govern the relationship between the guarantor and the lender govern the relationship between the first guarantor and the second guarantor.

יב

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ עֲרֹב לִפְלוֹנִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב לְךָ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּעְבֵּד הֶעָרֵב לַמַּלְוֶה כָּךְ נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד עָרֵב לָעָרֵב רִאשׁוֹן. וְדִין הֶעָרֵב עִם הַמַּלְוֶה וְדִין עָרֵב רִאשׁוֹן עִם הַשֵּׁנִי דִּין אֶחָד הוּא:

13

The following opinions were stated with regard to a person who did not limit the extent of the commitment he made to serve as a guarantor. For example, he told the lender: "Give him whatever you give him, I will guarantee it," "Sell to him, and I will guarantee it," or "Lend him, and I will guarantee it."

There are Geonim who rule that even if the other person sells 10,000 zuz worth of merchandise or lends 100,000 zuz to the person named, the guarantor becomes responsible for the entire amount. It appears to me, by contrast, that the guarantor is not liable at all. Since he does not know for what he undertook the liability, he did not make a serious commitment and did not obligate himself. These are words of reason that a person of understanding will appreciate.

יג

מִי שֶׁלֹּא פֵּרֵשׁ קֶצֶב הַדָּבָר שֶׁעָרַב כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁתִּתֵּן תֵּן לוֹ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב אוֹ מְכֹר לוֹ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב אוֹ הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב יֵשׁ מִן הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁהוֹרָה אֲפִלּוּ מָכַר לוֹ בַּעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים אוֹ הִלְוָהוּ מֵאָה אֶלֶף נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד הֶעָרֵב בַּכּל. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאֵין זֶה הֶעָרֵב חַיָּב כְּלוּם שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ הַדָּבָר שֶׁשִּׁעְבֵּד עַצְמוֹ בּוֹ לֹא סָמְכָה דַּעְתּוֹ וְלֹא שִׁעְבֵּד עַצְמוֹ וּדְבָרִים שֶׁל טַעַם הֵם לַמֵּבִין:

14

When a person tells a colleague: "Lend him. I will guarantee the borrower's physical person," he did not make a commitment with regard to the money itself. What he meant was: Whenever you want, I will bring him to you.

Similar principles apply when, after the lender makes the loan and demands payment, a person says: "Let him go. Whenever you lodge a claim against him, I will bring him to you." If he affirms his commitment with a kinyan, there are Geonim who rule that if the guarantor does not bring the borrower to the court, the guarantor is obligated to pay. There are, however, others who rule that even if he made a stipulation saying: "If I do not bring him, or if he dies or he flees, I will be obligated to pay," the guarantor does not become liable, for this is an asmachta. I favor this understanding.

יד

מִי שֶׁאָמַר לַחֲבֵרוֹ הַלְוֵהוּ וַאֲנִי עָרֵב לְגוּפוֹ שֶׁל לוֶֹה זֶה לֹא עָרַב לְעַצְמוֹ שֶׁל מָמוֹן אֶלָּא כָּל זְמַן שֶׁתִּרְצֶה אֲבִיאֶנּוּ לְךָ. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר לוֹ אַחַר שֶׁהִלְוָהוּ וּתְבָעוֹ הַנִּיחֵהוּ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁתִּתְבָּעֶנּוּ אֲבִיאֶנּוּ לְךָ וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ עַל זֶה אִם לֹא יָבִיא זֶה הַלּוֶֹה יֵשׁ מִן הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁהוֹרָה שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהוֹרָה שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הִתְנָה וְאָמַר אִם לֹא אֲבִיאֶנּוּ אוֹ שֶׁמֵּת אוֹ שֶׁבָּרַח אֶהְיֶה חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם הֲרֵי זוֹ אַסְמַכְתָּא וְלֹא נִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד. וְלָזֶה דַּעְתִּי נוֹטָה:

Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 26

1

The following law applies when a person gives a loan to a colleague that is supported by a promissory note. After the witnesses signed the promissory note, the guarantor came and made a guarantee for the borrower's debt. Although his commitment was affirmed with a kinyan and thus he become obligated to pay, as explained, when the lender comes to expropriate payment from the property of this guarantor, he may not expropriate property that has already been sold.

Different rules apply if the guarantor was mentioned in the promissory note itself before the signature of the witnesses. If they wrote: "So-and-so is the guarantor," the lender may not expropriate property that has already been sold, because the guarantor's name is not associated together with that of the borrower with regard to the loan. If, however, the promissory note states: "So-and-so borrowed such-and-such an amount from so-and-so and so-and-so guaranteed the loan, the guarantor affirmed his commitment with a kinyan, and then the witnesses signed the promissory note," the lender may expropriate property that has already been sold. The rationale is that the guarantor's name is associated together with that of the borrower in the promissory note.

א

הַמַּלְוֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בִּשְׁטָר וְאַחַר שֶׁהֵעִידוּ הָעֵדִים בַּשְּׁטָר בָּא עָרֵב וְעָרַב אֶת הַלּוֶֹה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ וְנִשְׁתַּעְבֵּד לְשַׁלֵּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ כְּשֶׁיָּבוֹא הַמַּלְוֶה לְהִפָּרַע מִנִּכְסֵי הֶעָרֵב הַזֶּה אֵינוֹ טוֹרֵף מִנְּכָסִים מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים. הָיָה הֶעָרֵב בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר קֹדֶם חֲתִימַת הָעֵדִים אִם כָּתְבוּ פְּלוֹנִי עָרֵב שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ מְעֹרָב עִם הַלּוֶֹה בַּמִּלְוֶה אֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה מִמֶּנּוּ מִן הַמְשֻׁעְבָּדִים. אֲבָל אִם כָּתוּב בַּשְּׁטָר פְּלוֹנִי לָוָה מִפְּלוֹנִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ וּפְלוֹנִי עָרֵב שֶׁהֲרֵי עֵרְבוֹ לוֶֹה עִם עָרֵב בַּשְּׁטָר וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁל עָרֵב וְאַחַר כָּךְ חָתְמוּ עֵדִים בַּשְּׁטָר הֲרֵי זֶה נִפְרָע מִנִּכְסֵי עָרֵב הַמְשֻׁעְבָּדִים:

2

When a lender demands payment from the borrower and discovers that he does not have property, he may not expropriate payment from the guarantor until 30 days after the guarantor became obligated to pay. The legal power of the guarantor should not be less than that of the borrower himself. The halachic authorities ruled in this manner. If, however, the lender made a stipulation with the guarantor about this matter, that stipulation is followed."

ב

מַלְוֶה שֶׁתָּבַע אֶת הַלּוֶֹה וְלֹא מָצָא לוֹ נְכָסִים אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִפָּרַע מִן הֶעָרֵב עַד אַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם מִיּוֹם שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב הֶעָרֵב לְשַׁלֵּם. לֹא יִהְיֶה כֹּחַ זֶה פָּחוֹת מִן הַלּוֶֹה עַצְמוֹ. וְכָזֶה הוֹרוּ הַמּוֹרִים. וְאִם הִתְנָה עִמּוֹ הַכּל לְפִי הַתְּנַאי:

3

When a lender comes to demand payment from a borrower, the borrower cannot turn away the lender, telling him: "Go to the kablan, because you have the right to demand payment from him first." Instead, the lender may demand payment from anyone he desires first. If, however, the kablan took the money from the lender and gave it to the borrower, the lender has nothing to do with the borrower. If the borrower was in another country and the lender cannot notify him -or the borrower died and left heirs below the age of majority, whose property the court cannot attach - the lender may demand payment from the guarantor first, because the borrower is not at hand.

ג

מַלְוֶה שֶׁבָּא לִתְבֹּעַ אֶת הַלּוֶֹה וְלֹא מָצָא לוֹ נְכָסִים אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִדְחוֹתוֹ וְלוֹמַר לֵךְ אֵצֶל הַקַּבְּלָן הֲרֵי יֵשׁ לְךָ לִתְבֹּעַ אוֹתוֹ תְּחִלָּה אֶלָּא תּוֹבֵעַ כָּל מִי שֶׁרָצָה תְּחִלָּה. וְאִם נָשָׂא הַקַּבְּלָן הַמָּעוֹת מִיַּד הַמַּלְוֶה וּנְתָנוֹ בְּיַד הַלּוֶֹה אֵין לַמַּלְוֶה בְּיַד הַלּוֶֹה כְּלוּם. הָיָה הַלּוֶֹה בִּמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹדִיעוֹ וְלֹא לֵילֵךְ אֵלָיו אוֹ שֶׁמֵּת הַלּוֶֹה וְהִנִּיחַ יְתוֹמִים קְטַנִּים שֶׁאֵין בֵּית דִּין נִזְקָקִין לְנִכְסֵיהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה תּוֹבֵעַ אֶת הֶעָרֵב תְּחִלָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין הַלּוֶֹה מָצוּי:

4

When a lender demands payment from the borrower and discovers that he has become impoverished, he may not demand payment from the guarantor until the borrower takes an oath that he is bankrupt, as ordained by the later sages. The rationale is that we fear that the borrower and the lender might be trying to obtain the guarantor's property through deception.

ד

מַלְוֶה שֶׁתָּבַע אֶת הַלּוֶֹה וּמְצָאוֹ שֶׁהוּא עָנִי אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִפָּרַע מִן הֶעָרֵב עַד שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע הַלּוֶֹה בְּתַקָּנַת אַחֲרוֹנִים שֶׁאֵין לוֹ כְּלוּם שֶׁמָּא יַעֲשׂוּ קְנוּנְיָא עַל נְכָסָיו שֶׁל עָרֵב:

5

The following law applies when a person has guaranteed a colleague with regard to a loan supported by a verbal commitment alone, the lender comes to demand payment from the guarantor, and the borrower is overseas. The guarantor may tell the lender: "Bring proof that the borrower did not repay you and I will pay you."

ה

מִי שֶׁהָיָה עָרֵב לַחֲבֵרוֹ בְּמִלְוֶה עַל פֶּה וּבָא הַמַּלְוֶה לִתְבֹּעַ אֶת הֶעָרֵב וַהֲרֵי הַלּוֶֹה בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם. אוֹמֵר לוֹ הֶעָרֵב הָבֵא רְאָיָה שֶׁלֹּא פְּרָעֲךָ הַלּוֶֹה וַאֲנִי אֲשַׁלֵּם לְךָ:

6

When a guarantor takes the initiative and pays the debt to the creditor, he may come back and collect from the borrower everything that he paid on his account, even though the loan was supported by a verbal commitment alone or was not observed by witnesses.

When does the above apply? When, at the time the guarantor made his commitment, the borrower told him: "Become my guarantor and pay." When, however, he acted independently and became a guarantor or a kablan, or the borrower told him: "Guarantee the debt for me," but did not give him the authority to pay the debt, if he pays the debt, the borrower is not obligated to pay him anything. Similarly, if a person pays a promissory note of a colleague without that colleague's knowledge, even if it is a debt for which security was taken, the borrower is not obligated to pay him anything. Instead, he may take his security without paying anything; the other person forfeits his money. The rationale is that perhaps the borrower would have been able to appease the lender and have him waive the debt.

The following rules apply when the borrower dies, and the guarantor takes the initiative and pays the debt before he notifies the heirs. If it is known to us that the borrower did not pay the promissory note before he died - e.g., he admitted the debt on his deathbed, he was placed under a band of ostracism for failing to pay, and he died under that ban, or the due date of the loan did not arrive - he may collect from the heirs everything that he paid.

When the lender was a gentile, the heirs are not obligated to pay the guarantor. The rationale is that their parent might have given the guarantor the entire debt for which he was responsible. For a gentile demands payment from the guarantor first; for this reason the guarantor paid the gentile voluntarily before he notified the orphans. If, however, he notifies them that the gentile is demanding payment from him and that he is paying, the heirs are obligated to pay.

ו

עָרֵב שֶׁקָּדַם וְנָתַן לְבַעַל חוֹב אֶת חוֹבוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹזֵר וְגוֹבֶה מִן הַלּוֶֹה כָּל מַה שֶּׁפָּרַע עַל יָדוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיְתָה מִלְוֶה עַל פֶּה אוֹ בְּלֹא עֵדִים כְּלָל. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַלּוֶֹה בְּעֵת שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה לוֹ עָרֵב עָרְבֵנִי וְשַׁלֵּם. אֲבָל אִם עָמַד בִּרְשׁוּת עַצְמוֹ וְנַעֲשָׂה לוֹ עָרֵב אוֹ קַבְּלָן אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַלּוֶֹה עָרְבֵנִי וְלֹא הִרְשָׁהוּ שֶׁיִּתֵּן וְיִפְרַע הַחוֹב אֵין הַלּוֶֹה חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם לוֹ כְּלוּם. וְכֵן הַפּוֹרֵעַ שְׁטַר חוֹבוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתּוֹ אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַחוֹב עַל הַמַּשְׁכּוֹן אֵין הַלּוֶֹה חַיָּב כְּלוּם וְנוֹטֵל מַשְׁכּוֹנוֹ בְּחִנָּם וַהֲרֵי אִבֵּד זֶה הַנּוֹתֵן אֶת מְעוֹתָיו שֶׁמָּא הָיָה הַלּוֶֹה מְפַיֵּס אֶת הַמַּלְוֶה וּמוֹחֵל לוֹ. מֵת הַלּוֶֹה וְקָדַם הֶעָרֵב וּפָרַע הַחוֹב קֹדֶם שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ אֶת הַיּוֹרְשִׁים אִם נוֹדַע לָנוּ שֶׁלֹּא פָּרַע הַלּוֶֹה שְׁטַר חוֹבוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּמוּת כְּגוֹן שֶׁהוֹדָה בּוֹ קֹדֶם אוֹ שֶׁנִּדּוּהוּ וּמֵת בְּנִדּוּיוֹ אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעַ זְמַן הַמִּלְוֶה לְהִגָּבוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹזֵר וְגוֹבֶה מִן הַיּוֹרְשִׁין כָּל מַה שֶּׁפָּרַע. הָיָה הַמַּלְוֶה עַכּוּ''ם אֵין הַיּוֹרְשִׁין חַיָּבִין לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁמָּא אֲבִיהֶן נָתַן לְיַד הֶעָרֵב כָּל הַחוֹב שֶׁהָיָה עָלָיו מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָעַכּוּ''ם תּוֹבֵעַ אֶת הֶעָרֵב תְּחִלָּה וּלְפִיכָךְ פָּרַע זֶה מִדַּעְתּוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיּוֹדִיעַ הַיְתוֹמִים. אֲבָל אִם הוֹדִיעָן שֶׁהָעַכּוּ''ם תּוֹבֵעַ אוֹתוֹ וַהֲרֵי הוּא נוֹתֵן חַיָּבִין לְשַׁלֵּם:

7

Whenever a guarantor comes to collect what he paid - whether he comes to collect from the borrower's heirs or from the borrower himself - he must bring proof that he paid the debt. The guarantor's possession of the promissory note is not considered proof. For perhaps the promissory note fell from the lender's hand, and the guarantor did not pay him at all.

ז

כָּל עָרֵב שֶׁבָּא לִטּל מַה שֶּׁפָּרַע בֵּין שֶׁבָּא לְהִפָּרַע מִיּוֹרְשֵׁי לוֶֹה בֵּין מִלוֶֹה עַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁפָּרַע. וְאֵין מְצִיאַת שְׁטַר הַחוֹב שֶׁעָלָיו בְּיַד הֶעָרֵב רְאָיָה שֶׁמָּא נָפַל הַשְּׁטָר מִיַּד הַמַּלְוֶה וְלֹא פָּרַע זֶה כְּלוּם:

8

In all the claims to be mentioned, and in all similar situations, we follow the principle: When a person who seeks to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is upon him:

a) a person tells a colleague, "You agreed to serve as a guarantor for me," and the alleged guarantor denies accepting the obligation ;

b) the guarantor tells the borrower: "You gave me the license to act as a guarantor for you and to pay," and the borrower tells him: "You acted as a guarantor on your own initiative," or "You were not a guarantor at all";

c) the guarantor said: "I paid the debt in your presence," and the borrower said: "You did not"; or he told him: "I have already given you what you paid"; or

d) the lender told the guarantor: "You guaranteed 200," and the guarantor said: "I guaranteed only a maneh."

Alternatively, the defendant should take a sh'vuat hessefi or a Scriptural oath if he agreed to a portion of the claim, as is the law with regard to all financial claims.

ח

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ עָרַבְתָּ לִי וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לֹא עָרַבְתִּי. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֶעָרֵב לַלּוֶֹה אַתָּה הִרְשֵׁיתַנִי לַעֲרֹב אוֹתְךָ וְלִתֵּן וְהוּא אוֹמֵר מִדַּעְתְּךָ עָרַבְתָּ אוֹ לֹא עָרַבְתָּ כְּלָל. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֶעָרֵב פָּרַעְתִּי הַמִּלְוֶה בְּפָנֶיךָ וְהַלָּה אוֹמֵר לֹא פָּרַעְתָּ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ כֵּן פָּרַעְתָּ וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ מַה שֶּׁפָּרַעְתָּ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הַמַּלְוֶה עָרַבְתָּ לִי מָאתַיִם וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לֹא עָרַבְתִּי אֶלָּא מָנֶה. מִכָּל אֵלּוּ הַטְּעָנוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה. אוֹ יִשָּׁבַע הַנִּתְבָּע שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת אוֹ שְׁבוּעַת הַתּוֹרָה אִם הוֹדָה בְּמִקְצָת כִּשְׁאָר כָּל טַעֲנַת הַמָּמוֹן:

9

The following principles apply when a servant or a married woman borrows money or guarantees the debts of others and is obligated to pay: When the servant is freed and the woman is divorced or widowed, they must pay.

ט

עֶבֶד אוֹ אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ שֶׁלָּווּ אוֹ שֶׁעָרְבוּ אֶת אֲחֵרִים וְנִתְחַיְּבוּ לְשַׁלֵּם. כְּשֶׁיִּשְׁתַּחְרֵר הָעֶבֶד וְתִתְגָּרֵשׁ הָאִשָּׁה אוֹ תִּתְאַלְמֵן יְשַׁלְּמוּ:

10

If a minor borrows, he is obligated to pay when he attains majority. We do not, however, write a promissory note against him. Instead, even though it was affirmed with a kinyan, the loan has the status of a loan supported by a verbal commitment alone. The rationale is that a kinyan undertaken by a minor is of no substance.

י

קָטָן שֶׁלָּוָה חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם כְּשֶׁיַּגְדִּיל וְאֵין כּוֹתְבִין עָלָיו שְׁטָר אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הִיא מִלְוֶה עַל פֶּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁאֵין קִנְיָן מִיַּד הַקָּטָן כְּלוּם:

11

In a situation where a minor guaranteed others, the Geonim ruled that he is not liable to pay even after he attains majority. The person who lent his money because of a minor's word forfeits it. The rationale is that a minor does not have the intellectual responsibility to obligate himself in a matter in which he is not liable - not through becoming a guarantor, nor through other similar means. This is a ruling of truth and it is fitting to rule in this manner.

יא

קָטָן שֶׁעָרַב אֶת אֲחֵרִים הוֹרוּ הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם כְּלוּם אַף כְּשֶׁיַּגְדִּיל וְזֶה שֶׁנָּתַן אֶת מְעוֹתָיו עַל פִּי הַקָּטָן אִבֵּד אֶת מְעוֹתָיו שֶׁאֵין לְקָטָן דַּעַת כְּדֵי לְשַׁעְבֵּד עַצְמוֹ בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב בּוֹ וְלֹא בְּעַרְבָנוּת וְלֹא בְּכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וְדִין אֱמֶת הוּא וְכֵן רָאוּי לָדוּן:

12

When a woman takes a loan that is supported by a promissory note or undertakes a commitment as a guarantor of a promissory note and then marries, she is obligated to pay even after she marries. If, however, it is a loan supported by a verbal commitment alone, it should not be repaid until she becomes divorced or widowed. The rationale is that her husband's authority is that of a purchaser, as we have explained in several sources. If, however, the money that was given as a loan is in her possession, it should be returned to the borrower.

יב

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁלָּוְתָה בִּשְׁטָר אוֹ עָרְבָה בִּשְׁטָר וְנִשֵּׂאת חַיֶּבֶת לְשַׁלֵּם אַחַר שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת. וְאִם הָיְתָה מִלְוֶה עַל פֶּה אֵינָהּ מְשַׁלֶּמֶת עַד שֶׁתִּתְגָּרֵשׁ אוֹ שֶׁתִּתְאַלְמֵן שֶׁרְשׁוּת בַּעַל כִּרְשׁוּת לוֹקֵחַ הוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת. וְאִם הָיוּ אוֹתָן מְעוֹת הַהַלְוָאָה עַצְמָן קַיָּמִין יַחְזִירוּ אוֹתָן לַמַּלְוֶה:

Malveh veLoveh - Chapter 27

1

No matter which language and which characters a legal document is written in, if it is written according to the regulations for legal documents that prevail among the Jewish people, i.e., it cannot be forged, nor is it possible to add to or detract from the content of the document, and its witnesses are Jews and they know how to read it, it is acceptable and may be used to expropriate property that has been sold.

All documents that are signed by gentiles, by contrast, are not acceptable except for deeds of sale and promissory notes. For the latter to be acceptable, the principal must count the money in their presence and they must write on the legal document: "In our presence, so-and-so counted out for so-and-so the money for the sale," or "... the money for the debt." This applies provided that they were prepared by their legal authorities. If, however, the documents were prepared in their courts without being authorized by their judges, they are of no value. Similarly, Jewish witnesses must testify that the gentile witnesses who signed the document and the judge who authorized their signatures are not known to accept bribes. If legal documents composed by gentiles lack any of these qualifications, they are considered shards. Similarly, legal documents acknowledging an obligation, deeds recording presents, compromises, and waivers of obligations are considered shards even if they are composed with all the above qualifications.

My masters ruled that even promissory notes composed by them that state that the money was given in their presence are unacceptable. They accepted only deeds of sale when the money was given in their presence. I do not accept this ruling.

If the Jewish judges do not know how to read a legal document prepared by gentile authorities, they should give it to two gentiles, each one outside the presence of the other, and have them read. Thus, each one of them is reading as is his ordinary practice. The document may be used to expropriate property that has not been sold. It may not, however, be used to expropriate property that has been sold, because it does not become public knowledge. For the purchasers will not know of legal processes carried out by gentiles.

א

שְׁטָר שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן וּבְכָל כְּתָב אִם הָיָה עָשׂוּי כְּתִקּוּן שִׁטְרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לְהִזְדַּיֵּף וְלֹא לְהוֹסִיף וְלֹא לִגְרֹעַ וְהָיוּ עֵדָיו יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיוֹדְעִין לִקְרוֹתוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא כָּשֵׁר וְגוֹבִין בּוֹ מִן הַמְשֻׁעְבָּדִין. אֲבָל כָּל הַשְּׁטָרוֹת שֶׁחוֹתְמֵיהֶן עַכּוּ''ם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פְּסוּלִין חוּץ מִשִּׁטְרֵי מִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר וְשִׁטְרֵי חוֹב. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּתֵּן הַמָּעוֹת בִּפְנֵיהֶם וְיִכְתְּבוּ בַּשְּׁטָר לְפָנֵינוּ מָנָה פְּלוֹנִי לִפְלוֹנִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ דְּמֵי הַמֶּכֶר אוֹ מְעוֹת הַחוֹב. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֲשׂוּיִין בְּעַרְכָּאוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶם. אֲבָל בִּמְקוֹם קִבּוּץ פְּלִילֵיהֶן בְּלֹא קִיּוּם הַשּׁוֹפֵט שֶׁלָּהֶם לֹא יוֹעִילוּ כְּלוּם. וְכֵן צְרִיכִין עֵדֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיָּעִידוּ עַל אֵלּוּ הָעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהֵן עֵדֵי שְׁטָר וְעַל זֶה הַשּׁוֹפֵט שֶׁלָּהֶן שֶׁקִּיֵּם עֵדוּתָן שֶׁאֵינָן יְדוּעִין בְּקַבְּלָנוּת שֹׁחַד. וְאִם חָסְרוּ שִׁטְרֵי הָעַכּוּ''ם דָּבָר מִכָּל אֵלּוּ הֲרֵי הֵן כְּחֶרֶס. וְכֵן שִׁטְרֵי [חוֹב] וְהוֹדָאוֹת וּמַתָּנוֹת וּפְשָׁרוֹת וּמְחִילוֹת שֶׁהֵן בְּעֵדִים שֶׁלָּהֶן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן כָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁמָּנִינוּ הֲרֵי הֵן כַּחֲרָסִים. וְהוֹרוּ רַבּוֹתַי שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ שִׁטְרֵי חוֹב שֶׁלָּהֶן שֶׁנָּתְנוּ הַמָּעוֹת בִּפְנֵיהֶם פְּסוּלִין וְלֹא הִכְשִׁירוּ אֶלָּא שִׁטְרֵי מִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר שֶׁנָּתְנוּ הַמָּעוֹת בִּפְנֵיהֶם. וְאֵין אֲנִי מוֹדֶה בָּזֶה. אִם לֹא יָדְעוּ דַּיָּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לִקְרוֹת שְׁטָר זֶה הַנַּעֲשָׂה בְּעַרְכָּאוֹת שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם נוֹתְנוֹ לִשְׁנֵי עַכּוּ''ם זֶה שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי זֶה וְקוֹרִין לוֹ שֶׁנִּמְצָא כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן כְּמֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ וְגוֹבֶה בּוֹ מִבְּנֵי חוֹרִין אֲבָל אֵין טוֹרְפִין בּוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ קוֹל שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא יָדְעוּ הַלָּקוֹחוֹת בְּמַה שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה בָּעַכּוּ''ם:

2

When a promissory note that was signed by gentile witnesses was given by the borrower to the lender or by the seller to the purchaser in the presence of two Jewish witnesses, it is acceptable and may be used to expropriate property that was not sold, even though it was not authenticated by the gentile legal authorities and was not prepared according to all the stipulations mentioned above. The above applies provided that the witnesses in whose presence the legal document was transferred were able to read it, they read it when it was transferred, and it was prepared according to the regulations for legal documents that prevail among the Jewish people, i.e., that it be composed in a manner that it cannot be forged, nor is it possible to add to or detract from the content of the document.

Why is it not acceptable to be used to expropriate property that has already been sold? Because it is not a matter of public knowledge.

ב

שְׁטָר שֶׁעֵדָיו עַכּוּ''ם שֶׁמְּסָרוֹ הַלּוֶֹה לְיַד הַמַּלְוֶה אוֹ הַמּוֹכֵר לְיַד הַלּוֹקֵחַ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ עָשׂוּי בְּעַרְכָּאוֹת שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם וְאֵין בּוֹ כָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁמָּנִינוּ הֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹבֶה מִבְּנֵי חוֹרִין. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁמָּסַר בִּפְנֵיהֶם יוֹדְעִין לִקְרוֹתוֹ וּקְרָאוּהוּ כְּשֶׁמְּסָרוֹ בִּפְנֵיהֶן וְיִהְיֶה כְּתִקּוּן שְׁטַר יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִזְדַּיֵּף וְלֹא לְהוֹסִיף וְלֹא לִגְרֹעַ. וְלָמָּה לֹא יִגְבֶּה בּוֹ מִן הַמְשֻׁעְבָּדִים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ קוֹל:

3

The following regulations prevail for legal documents among the Jewish people: All legal documents must repeat the content of the legal document in the last line, because we do not take into consideration what was written in that line. The rationale is that we suspect the witnesses signed a line away from the body of the document and this falsifier came and wrote in the empty space of this line.

ג

תִּקּוּן שִׁטְרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּךְ הוּא. כָּל הַשְּׁטָרוֹת כֻּלָּן צָרִיךְ שֶׁיַּחֲזֹר מֵעִנְיָנוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר בְּשִׁיטָה אַחֲרוֹנָה [אֶלָּא] שֶׁאֵין לְמֵדִין מִשִּׁיטָה אַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁמָּא הָיוּ הָעֵדִים מְרֻחָקִין מִגּוּפוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר בִּכְדֵי הַשִּׁיטָה וּבָא זֶה הַמְזַיֵּף וְכָתַב בְּאוֹתוֹ הָרֶוַח שִׁיטָה זוֹ:

4

When the witnesses signed two lines or more from the conclusion of the writing, the document is not acceptable. If they leave less open space than this, it is acceptable.

The two lines mentioned refer to lines according to the handwriting of the witnesses and not according to the handwriting of the scribe. The rationale is that any person who forges will try to imitate the handwriting of the witnesses and not that of the scribe. The space of the two lines includes the lines and the space in between them, i.e., the space necessary to write a lamed above a final chaf.

If there was a space of more than two lines between the signature of the witnesses and the text of the documents, and they filled the space between the text and the signatures with the signatures of unacceptable witnesses and relatives, it is acceptable. For in this manner, it cannot be forged.

If the space was filled with lines of ink, it is unacceptable. For perhaps the witnesses signed for the lines of ink and not for the body of the document. If the document and the signatures of the witnesses were on one line, it is acceptable.

ד

עֵדִים שֶׁהָיוּ מְרֻחָקִין מִן הַכְּתָב שְׁתֵּי שִׁיטִין פָּסוּל. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן כָּשֵׁר. שְׁתֵּי שִׁיטִין שֶׁאָמְרוּ בִּכְתַב יְדֵי עֵדִים וְלֹא בִּכְתַב יְדֵי סוֹפֵר שֶׁכָּל הַמְזַיֵּף אֵינוֹ הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הַסּוֹפֵר אֶלָּא אַחַר הָעֵדִים. וּשְׁתֵּי שִׁיטִין אֵלּוּ הֵן וַאֲוִירָן כְּגוֹן לָמֶ''ד עַל כָּ''ף. הָיוּ הָעֵדִים מְרֻחָקִין מִן הַכְּתָב יֶתֶר עַל שְׁתֵּי שִׁיטִין וְהָיָה הָרֶוַח שֶׁבֵּין הַכְּתָב וְהָעֵדִים מָלֵא בְּעֵדִים פְּסוּלִין אוֹ קְרוֹבִים הֲרֵי זֶה כָּשֵׁר שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִזְדַּיֵּף. וְאִם מִלְּאָהוּ בִּשְׂרִיטָה שֶׁל דְּיוֹ פָּסוּל שֶׁמָּא הָעֵדִים עַל הַשְּׂרִיטוֹת חָתְמוּ וְלֹא עַל גּוּפוֹ [שֶׁל שְׁטָר]. הָיָה הַשְּׁטָר כֻּלּוֹ עִם עֵדָיו בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת הֲרֵי זֶה כָּשֵׁר:

5

If the legal document was written on one line, and the witnesses signed on another line, it is unacceptable. We fear that possibly the witnesses had signed one line away from an acceptable legal document, and afterwards the person cut away that entire legal document and wrote the present document on that line. Thus, these witnesses were signed upon it.

A similar suspicion can arise when the document and the signatures of two witnesses were written on one line, two other witnesses were signed on a second line, and the maker of the legal document says: "I intended to increase the number of witnesses."

We do not verify the authenticity of the document based on the signature of the witnesses below, in the second line, but rather on the signatures of those above. We fear that possibly there had been another document written originally, it was cut off, and the present document and the signatures of the two witnesses were written on the line between it and the witnesses who signed below.

ה

הָיָה הַשְּׁטָר בְּשִׁיטָה זוֹ וְהָעֵדִים בְּשִׁיטָה שְׁנִיָּה פָּסוּל שֶׁמָּא אֵלּוּ הָעֵדִים הָיוּ מְרֻחָקִין מִן הַשְּׁטָר כָּשֵׁר שִׁיטָה אַחַת וְחָתַךְ כָּל הַשְּׁטָר וְכָתַב זֶה הַשְּׁטָר בְּאוֹתָהּ הַשִּׁיטָה וְנִמְצְאוּ כָּל אֵלּוּ הָעֵדִים חֲתוּמִים עָלָיו. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה הַשְּׁטָר וּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים בְּשִׁיטָה אַחַת וּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים אֲחֵרִים בְּשִׁיטָה שְׁנִיָּה וְאָמַר אֲנִי נִתְכַּוַּנְתִּי לְרַבּוֹת הָעֵדִים אֵין מְקַיְּמִין שְׁטָר זֶה מֵעֵדִים שֶׁל מַטָּה בְּשִׁיטָה שְׁנִיָּה אֶלָּא מֵעֵדִים שֶׁל מַעְלָה. שֶׁמָּא בַּשִּׁיטָה שֶׁהָיְתָה בֵּין הָעֵדִים שֶׁל מַטָּה וּבֵין הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁחָתַךְ כָּתַב שְׁטָר זֶה וּשְׁנֵי עֵדָיו:

6

The validation of the authenticity of the signatures of the witnesses by the court should be positioned next to their signatures, next to one of the sides of the legal document, or on its back, opposite the text. If there was a space of more than one line between the statement of validation and the legal document, it is invalid. We fear that someone might cut off the document that was validated and forge a new document and the signature of two witnesses on that one line. Thus, the validation would be on a forged document.

ו

קִיּוּם בֵּית דִּין צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה סָמוּךְ לִכְתַב יְדֵי עֵדִים אוֹ סָמוּךְ לְצַד הַשְּׁטָר אוֹ מֵאֲחוֹרָיו כְּנֶגֶד הַכְּתָב. וְאִם הָיָה בֵּין הַקִּיּוּם וְהַשְּׁטָר רֶוַח שִׁיטָה אַחַת פָּסוּל שֶׁמָּא יַחְתֹּךְ הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁנִּתְקַיֵּם וִיזַיֵּף בְּאוֹתָהּ שִׁיטָה שְׁטָר וּשְׁנֵי עֵדָיו. וְנִמְצָא הַקִּיּוּם עַל שְׁטָר מְזֻיָּף:

7

If the court wrote the validation more than two lines from the legal document and filled the entire empty space with lines of ink, the validation is acceptable, for there is no possibility of a forgery. ' And we do not suspect that the court would sign a validation of mere lines, but rather of the legal document itself.

ז

הִרְחִיק אֶת הַקִּיּוּם מִן הַשְּׁטָר יֶתֶר עַל שְׁתֵּי שִׁיטִין וּמָלֵא כָּל הָרֶוַח שְׂרִיטוֹת דְּיוֹ כָּשֵׁר שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְזַיֵּף וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לְבֵית דִּין שֶׁיְּקַיְּמוּ קִיּוּם עַל הַשְּׂרִיטוֹת אֶלָּא עַל גּוּפוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר:

8

Whenever words are written on a surface where there have been erasures, the scribe must write a validation of each of the these portions at the end of the legal document, stating: "This-and-this letter...", "This-and-this word...", or "This-and-this line were written on a surface where there had been erasures," or "... are attached between the lines. Everything is valid."

If the erasure is in the place where the document states sharir v'kayam, and is the size that it takes to write these words, it is not acceptable even if the scribe validates that these words were written on an erased surface. We fear that a person might have erased the words sharir v'kayam, then written a false statement and then validated the document in the space between the document and the signature of the witnesses.

ח

כָּל הַמְּחָקִין כֻּלָּן צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּכְתֹּב קִיּוּמֵיהֶן בְּסוֹף הַשְּׁטָר וְיֹאמַר אוֹת פְּלוֹנִית אוֹ מִלָּה פְּלוֹנִית אוֹ שִׁיטָה פְּלוֹנִית עַל מַחַק אוֹ תְּלוּיָה וְהַכּל קַיָּם. וְאִם הָיָה הַמַּחַק בְּמָקוֹם שָׁרִיר וְקַיָּם וּבְשִׁעוּר שָׁרִיר וְקַיָּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָזַר וְקִיְּמוֹ פָּסוּל שֶׁמָּא מְחָקוֹ וְכָתַב דָּבָר שֶׁזִּיֵּף וְחָזַר וְקִיְּמוֹ בָּרֶוַח שֶׁבֵּין הַכְּתָב וְהָעֵדִים:

9

When both a legal document and the signatures of the witnesses are written on a surface where there have been erasures, it is acceptable. If one might protest, saying: "The person in possession of the document might erase it again and write a text that benefits him," that argument can be answered, for it is possible to differentiate between a surface that has been erased once and one that has been erased twice.

If one might protest, saying: "Maybe the person erased only the surface where the witnesses would sign twice, and then after writing the legal document above the twice-erased surface and having the witnesses sign it, he erased the document and wrote whatever he desired." In such a situation, the document and the signatures of the witnesses appear the same, because everything was erased twice. This protest is untenable, because our Sages already ordained that witnesses should not sign a document written on a surface where there have been erasures, unless it was erased in their presence.

ט

שְׁטָר הַבָּא הוּא וְעֵדָיו עַל הַמַּחַק כָּשֵׁר. וְאִם תֹּאמַר מוֹחֵק וְחוֹזֵר וּמוֹחֵק אֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה מִי שֶׁנִּמְחַק פַּעַם אַחַת לְנִמְחַק שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים. וְאִם תֹּאמַר שֶׁמָּא נִמְחַק שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים מְקוֹם הָעֵדִים וְאַחַר שֶׁכָּתַב הַשְּׁטָר חוֹזֵר וּמוֹחֲקוֹ וְכוֹתֵב כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא וְעֵדָיו כֻּלּוֹ שָׁוֶה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּמְחַק הַכּל שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים. כְּבָר תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ הָעֵדִים חוֹתְמִין עַל שְׁטָר מָחוּק אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִמְחַק בִּפְנֵיהֶם:

10

When a legal document and the signatures of the witnesses are both written on a surface where there have been erasures, and the validation of the authenticity of the signatures was written on paper that had never been erased, we do not validate the document because of the signatures of the witnesses who validated it previously, but because of the signatures of the witnesses who signed it originally.

The rationale is that it is possible that the validation of the document was written very far from the document itself, and the space between them was filled with lines of ink. We suspect that the person in possession of the document cut off the document itself, erased the lines of ink, and forged the document and the signatures of the witnesses on the portion that had been erased.

י

שְׁטָר הַבָּא הוּא וְעֵדָיו עַל הַמַּחַק וְהַקִּיּוּם מִלְּמַטָּה עַל הַנְּיָר אֵין מְקַיְּמִין אוֹתוֹ מֵעֵדֵי הַקִּיּוּם אֶלָּא מֵעֵדִים שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה שֶׁמָּא הַקִּיּוּם הָיָה רָחוֹק מִן הַשְּׁטָר הַרְבֵּה וְהָיָה הָרֶוַח מָלֵא שְׂרִיטוֹת שֶׁל דְּיוֹ וְחָתַךְ גּוּף הַשְּׁטָר וּמָחַק הַשְּׂרִיטוֹת וְכָתַב הַשְּׁטָר וְעֵדָיו עַל הַמַּחַק:

11

When a document is written on paper that had never been erased, and the witnesses signed on a surface where there were erasures, it is unacceptable. We suspect that the person might erase the document that the witnesses signed and replace it with a forgery. Thus, the document and the signatures of the witnesses will be on paper with erasures.

If the witnesses wrote: "We, the witnesses, signed on the portion of the paper where there were erasures, while the document was written on the portion of the paper that has never been erased," the document is acceptable. This statement should be written between the signature of one witness and the other, so that deception is not possible.

יא

שְׁטָר הַבָּא עַל הַנְּיָר וְעֵדָיו עַל הַמַּחַק פָּסוּל שֶׁמָּא יִמְחֹק הַשְּׁטָר וְיִזְדַּיֵּף וְנִמְצָא הוּא וְעֵדָיו עַל הַמַּחַק. וְאִם כָּתְבוּ הָעֵדִים אֲנַחְנוּ הָעֵדִים חָתַמְנוּ עַל הַמַּחַק וְהַשְּׁטָר עַל הַנְּיָר כָּשֵׁר. וְכוֹתְבִין כֵּן בֵּין עֵד לְעֵד כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְזַיֵּף:

12

When a legal document is written on a portion of a paper where there have been erasures and the witnesses sign on a portion of the paper that has never been erased, the document is not acceptable. This applies even if the witnesses write: "We, the witnesses, signed on the portion of the paper that has never been erased, while the document was written on the portion where there were erasures."

The rationale is that we fear the person in possession of the document will erase it a second time and write on it anything that he desires. Since the document as a whole has been erased twice, the forgery will not be obvious.

If, by contrast, one portion of the document was erased once and the other twice, a distinction could be made.

Among the prevailing regulations for legal documents is to carefully scrutinize the document, seeing if the vavin and the zayinin are not squeezed between the letters, lest the person have forged this letter, adding it to the document. Similarly, these letters must not be too far from the other letters of the word, lest the person have erased a portion of one letter - e.g., a hei or a chet - and left one of its legs in the place of a vav. Similarly, in all analogous situations, we scrutinize the text in any language and with any characters.

יב

שְׁטָר הַבָּא עַל הַמַּחַק וְעֵדָיו עַל הַנְּיָר פָּסוּל. וַאֲפִלּוּ כָּתְבוּ הָעֵדִים אֲנַחְנוּ עֵדִים חָתַמְנוּ עַל הַנְּיָר וְהַשְּׁטָר עַל הַמַּחַק. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מוֹחֵק אוֹתוֹ פַּעַם שְׁנִיָּה וְכוֹתֵב כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה וְכֵיוָן שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ נִמְחַק שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים אֵינוֹ נִכָּר. שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיָה בּוֹ מָקוֹם הַנִּמְחָק פַּעַם אַחַת וּמָקוֹם הַנִּמְחַק שְׁתֵּי פְּעָמִים הָיָה נִכָּר. וּמִתִּקּוּן הַשְּׁטָרוֹת לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בַּשְּׁטָר בְּוָאוִי''ן וְזַיִנִּי''ן שֶׁלּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יְהוּ דְּחוּקִין בֵּין הַתֵּבוֹת שֶׁמָּא זִיֵּף וְהוֹסִיף זוֹ. וְלֹא יִהְיוּ מְרֻחָקִין שֶׁמָּא מָחַק אוֹת אַחַת כְּגוֹן הֵ''א אוֹ חֵי''ת וְהִנִּיחַ רַגְלָהּ הָאַחַת מְקוֹם וָא''ו. וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה מְדַקְדְּקִין בּוֹ בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן וּבְכָל כְּתָב:

13

The numbers from shalosh (three) to esser (ten) should not be written at the end of a line, for it is possible for the person in possession of the document to forge the text and make the shalosh, sheloshim (30), and the esser, essrim (20).

If it would happen that a scribe would have to write these numbers at the end of a line, he should repeat the text of the document several times until the numbers come out in the middle of the line.

יג

מִשָּׁלֹשׁ וְעַד עֶשֶׂר אֵין כּוֹתְבִין בְּסוֹף שִׁיטָה שֶׁמָּא יְזַיֵּף וְיַחְזִיר הַשָּׁלֹשׁ לִשְׁלֹשִׁים וְהָעֶשֶׂר עֶשְׂרִים. וְאִם נִזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ בְּסוֹף שִׁיטָה מַחְזִיר הַדִּבּוּר בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר פְּעָמִים רַבּוֹת עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא בְּאֶמְצַע הַשִּׁיטָה:

14

When the upper portion of a promissory note speaks of a maneh and the lower portion speaks of 200 zuz, or the upper portion of a promissory note speaks of 200 zuz and the lower portion speaks of a maneh, everything follows what is written in the lower portion.

Why do we not follow the lesser of the two numbers? Because in this instance, one is not dependent on the other. If the promissory note had said: "owes amaneh, which is 200 zuz" or "200 zuz, which is amaneh," the lender would be granted only a maneh. When, however, there are two matters stated in the document and the latter portion is not dependent on the former portion, we follow the latter portion.

When the upper portion of a legal document mentions one name and the lower portion mentions a name that resembles it, we follow the lower portion. If so, why do we write the upper portion? So that if one letter of the lower portion is rubbed out, one could learn from the upper portion. For example, if the upper portion stated Chanani or Anani and the lower portion stated Chanan or Anan, we can assume that it is referring to the person named in the upper portion. This applies regarding only one letter. We do not, however, resolve a doubt regarding two letters in the lower portion from the upper portion.

יד

שְׁטָר שֶׁכְּתָבוֹ מִלְּמַעְלָה מָנֶה וּמִלְּמַטָּה מָאתַיִם מִלְּמַעְלָה מָאתַיִם וּמִלְּמַטָּה מָנֶה הַכּל הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הַתַּחְתּוֹן. וְלָמָּה אֵין הוֹלְכִין אַחַר הַפָּחוּת שֶׁבִּשְׁנֵיהֶם לְפִי שֶׁאֵין הָאֶחָד תָּלוּי בַּחֲבֵרוֹ. שֶׁאִם הָיָה כָּתוּב בּוֹ מֵאָה שֶׁהֵן מָאתַיִם אוֹ מָאתַיִם שֶׁהֵן מֵאָה הָיָה נוֹטֵל מֵאָה. אֲבָל שְׁנֵי דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵין הָאַחֲרוֹן תָּלוּי בָּרִאשׁוֹן הַלֵּךְ אַחַר אַחֲרוֹן. הָיָה בּוֹ מִלְּמַעְלָה שֵׁם וּלְמַטָּה שֵׁם קָרוֹב לוֹ הַלֵּךְ אַחַר הַתַּחְתּוֹן. אִם כֵּן לָמָּה כּוֹתְבִין אֶת הָעֶלְיוֹן שֶׁמָּא תִּמָּחֵק אוֹת אַחַת מִן הַתַּחְתּוֹן וְיִלְמַד מִן הָעֶלְיוֹן כְּגוֹן הָיָה בָּעֶלְיוֹן חֲנָנִי אוֹ עֲנָנִי וּבַתַּחְתּוֹן חָנָן אוֹ עָנָן בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁהוּא הַשֵּׁם הָעֶלְיוֹן. אֲבָל לֹא יִלְמֹד תַּחְתּוֹן מֵעֶלְיוֹן בִּשְׁתֵּי אוֹתִיּוֹת:

15

If the upper portion of a promissory note speaks of a sefel and the lower portion speaks of a kefel, we follow the wording of the latter portion, for a kefel is less than a sefel.

If the upper portion of a promissory note speaks of a kefel and the lower portion speaks of a sefel, we suspect that perhaps a fly caused the left leg of the kuf to be rubbed out and made it appear like a samech. Hence, the bearer may expropriate only a kefel, the lesser measure. Similar principles apply in all analogous situations, for the bearer of the promissory note has the weaker position.

An incident occurred concerning a promissory note that stated: "600 and one zuz" This raised a doubt. Was the intent 601 zuz or was the intent 600 isteira and one zuz? The Sages said: "The bearer of the promissory note may collect only 600 isteira and a zuz, for the bearer of the promissory note has the weaker position."

If so, why did they not say that he should collect 600 p'rutot and a zuz? Because a scribe would count the p'rutot as zuzin before composing the promissory note. Similar principles apply in all analogous situations. In all times and in all places, we follow the accepted norms.

טו

כָּתוּב בּוֹ מִלְּמַעְלָה סֵפֶל וּמִלְּמַטָּה קֵפֶל הַכּל הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הַתַּחְתּוֹן שֶׁהַקֵּפֶל פָּחוֹת מִן הַסֵּפֶל. כָּתוּב בּוֹ מִלְּמַעְלָה קֵפֶל וּמִלְּמַטָּה סֵפֶל חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא זְבוּב הֵסִיר רֶגֶל הַקּוּף וְנַעֲשֵׂית סָמֶ''ךְ וְאֵינוֹ גּוֹבֶה אֶלָּא בְּמִדַּת קֵפֶל הַקְּטַנָּה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה שֶׁיַּד בַּעַל הַשְּׁטָר עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה. מַעֲשֶׂה בִּשְׁטָר שֶׁהָיָה כָּתוּב בּוֹ שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת וְזוּז אֶחָד וַהֲרֵי הַדָּבָר סָפֵק אִם שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת זוּז וְזוּז אֶחָד אוֹ שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אַסְתִּירָא וְזוּז. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים יִטּל שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אַסְתִּירָא וְזוּז שֶׁיַּד בַּעַל הַשְּׁטָר עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה. אִם כֵּן לָמָּה לֹא נֶאֱמַר שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת פְּרוּטָה וְזוּז לְפִי שֶׁהַפְּרוּטוֹת כּוֹלֵל אוֹתָן הַסּוֹפֵר זוּזִין וְאַחַר כָּךְ כּוֹתְבִין. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה בְּכָל זְמַן וּבְכָל מָקוֹם לְפִי דַּרְכָּם הַיָּדוּעַ עַל פִּיו עוֹשִׂין:

16

When a promissory note states: "Isteira 100 m'ie," or "100 m'ie isteira" one should follow the lesser of the phrases. The person should receive only one isteira. The rationale is that the bearer of the promissory note has the weaker position, because he is trying to expropriate property from a colleague, and a person can expropriate property only when there is no doubt regarding his claim.

Similarly, whenever a promissory note could be interpreted in either of two ways, either this way or that way, the bearer receives the lesser of the amounts. If, however, he seizes possession of the greater amount, the borrower may not expropriate the money from him unless he can clearly prove the legitimacy of his own claim.

טז

שְׁטָר שֶׁכָּתוּב בּוֹ אַסְתִּירָא מֵאָה מָעֵי אוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בּוֹ מֵאָה מָעֵי אַסְתִּירָא הַלֵּךְ אַחַר פָּחוּת שֶׁבַּלְּשׁוֹנוֹת וְאֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל אֶלָּא אַסְתִּירָא אַחַת. שֶׁיַּד בַּעַל הַשְּׁטָר עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מוֹצִיא אֶלָּא בְּדָבָר שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ סָפֵק. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל שְׁטָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ מַשְׁמַע שְׁתֵּי לְשׁוֹנוֹת שֶׁמָּא כָּךְ אוֹ שֶׁמָּא כָּךְ אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל אֶלָּא הַפָּחוּת שֶׁבִּשְׁתֵּיהֶן. וְאִם תָּפַס בָּעֶלְיוֹנָה אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה:

17

When a promissory note states: "a gold coin," we assume that the intent is no less than a golden dinar. If it states "gold of dinarim," or "dinarim of gold," we assume that the intent is no less than the value of two dinarim of gold. If it states "gold in dinarim" we assume that the intent is no less than the value in gold of two silver dinarim. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

Blessed be God, who grants assistance.

יז

כָּתוּב בּוֹ מַטְבֵּעַ זָהָב אֵין פָּחוֹת מִדִּינַר זָהָב. זָהָב דִּינָרִין אוֹ דִּינָרִין זָהָב אֵין פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁוֵה שְׁנֵי דִּינָרִין שֶׁל זָהָב. זָהָב בְּדִינָרִין אֵין פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁוֵה שְׁנֵי דִּינָרִין שֶׁל כֶּסֶף מִן הַזָּהָב. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה: סְלִיקוּ לְהוּ הִלְכוֹת מַלְוֶה וְלֹוֶה

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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.
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