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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

To’en veNit’an - Chapter 13, To’en veNit’an - Chapter 14, To’en veNit’an - Chapter 15

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To’en veNit’an - Chapter 13

1

The following individuals are not given the privilege of establishing a claim of ownership even though they have benefited from a property for three years: craftsmen, sharecroppers, guardians, partners, a husband with regard to property belonging to his wife, a wife with regard to property belonging to her husband, a son with regard to property belonging to his father, and a father with regard to property belonging to his son.

The rationale is that in all these instances the owners will not be irritated if the other uses the property. Therefore, the fact that they benefited from it does not serve as proof of ownership, even though the owner did not protest. Instead, the property should be returned to the owner, provided that they bring proof that this land was known to belong to them, and that they take a sh'vu'at hesset that they did not sell or give away the land, as we have explained.

א

וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין מַעֲמִידִין הַקַּרְקַע בְּיָדָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֲכָלוּם שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים. הָאֻמָּנִין וְהָאֲרִיסִין וְהָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין וְהַשֻּׁתָּפִין וְהָאִישׁ בְּנִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ וְהָאִשָּׁה בְּנִכְסֵי בַּעְלָהּ וּבֵן בְּנִכְסֵי אָבִיו וְהָאָב בְּנִכְסֵי הַבֵּן. שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ אֵין מַקְפִּידִין זֶה עַל זֶה. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא מִחוּ בָּהֶן הַבְּעָלִים אֶלָּא תַּחְזֹר הַקַּרְקַע לַבְּעָלִים שֶׁהֵבִיאוּ רְאָיָה שֶׁזֹּאת הַקַּרְקַע יְדוּעָה לָהֶן וְיִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא מְכָרוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא נְתָנוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

2

Similarly, the exilarchs of that period, a robber and a gentile cannot establish a claim of ownership because they benefited from a property. The rationale is that they are men of force.

Similarly, a deaf-mute, a mentally or emotionally unstable person and a minor cannot establish a claim of ownership through benefiting from a property. The rationale is that they do not have a claim on which the property could be awarded to them. Instead, the property should be returned to its owners. Conversely, if a person manifests ownership over his property for three years, the fact that he benefited from the property is not considered proof of ownership.

ב

וְכֵן רָאשֵׁי גָּלֻיּוֹת שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ זְמַן וְהַגַּזְלָן וְהָעַכּוּ''ם אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן בַּעֲלֵי זְרוֹעַ. וְכֵן חֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם טַעֲנָה כְּדֵי שֶׁתַּעֲמֹד הַקַּרְקַע בְּיָדָן אֶלָּא תַּחְזֹר לַבְּעָלִים. וְכֵן הַמַּחֲזִיק בְּנִכְסֵיהֶן אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה:

3

What is meant by the statement that they are not given the privilege of establishing a claim of ownership over property? Reuven benefited from a field originally belonging to Shimon for a sufficient number of years to establish a claim of ownership. He claims that he purchased the land. Shimon brought witnesses who testify that the property was known to belong to him. Similarly, he brought witnesses who testify that Reuven was known to be his partner, his sharecropper or his guardian. For this reason, he claims that he did not protest. The field is returned to Shimon, provided that he takes a sh'vu'at hesset that he did not sell or give the property to Reuven. Similar laws apply with regard to the others mentioned above.

Different laws apply, however, if Shimon does not bring proof that Reuven was his partner or sharecropper, but instead, Reuven made this admission on his own initiative, saying: "Yes, he is my partner and he sold me the property." Since he benefited from the land for the number of years long enough to establish a claim of ownership and he could have said: "He was never my partner," his word is accepted like the word of other persons.

ג

כֵּיצַד אֵין מַעֲמִידִין אֶת הַקַּרְקַע בְּיָדָן. רְאוּבֵן שֶׁאָכַל שְׂדֵה שִׁמְעוֹן שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה וְהוּא טָעַן שֶׁהִיא לְקוּחָה בְּיָדוֹ וְהֵבִיא שִׁמְעוֹן עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא יְדוּעָה לוֹ וְכֵן הֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁרְאוּבֵן יָדוּעַ שֶׁהוּא שֻׁתָּפוֹ אוֹ אֲרִיסוֹ אוֹ אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹסוֹ וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה לֹא מִחָה תַּחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה לְשִׁמְעוֹן וְיִשָּׁבַע הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא מָכַר וְלֹא נָתַן. וְהוּא הַדִּין לִשְׁאָרָן. אֲבָל אִם לֹא הֵבִיא שִׁמְעוֹן רְאָיָה שֶׁרְאוּבֵן הָיָה שֻׁתָּף אוֹ אָרִיס אֶלָּא רְאוּבֵן הוֹדָה מֵעַצְמוֹ וְאָמַר הֵן הוּא שֻׁתָּפִי וּמָכַר לִי. הוֹאִיל וְאָכַל שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה וְיָכוֹל לוֹמַר לֹא הָיָה שֻׁתָּפִי מֵעוֹלָם הֲרֵי זֶה נֶאֱמָן כִּשְׁאָר כָּל אָדָם:

4

What is meant by the exclusion of craftsmen? If a person was building a property or repairing it for many years he cannot establish a claim of ownership over it.

If the craftsman abandoned his profession and benefited from a property for three years after he abandoned the profession, he can establish a claim of ownership.

ד

הָאֻמָּנִין כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ בּוֹנִין בָּהּ אוֹ מְתַקְּנִין אוֹתָהּ שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת. יָרְדוּ מֵאֻמָּנוּתָן אִם אָכְלוּ אוֹתָן שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים מֵאַחַר שֶׁיָּרְדוּ מֵאֻמָּנוּתָן יֵשׁ לָהֶן חֲזָקָה:

5

What is meant by the exclusion of sharecroppers? For example, a person worked as a sharecropper for the father of the owner of the property, or for another member of the family. Since he is a sharecropper who has worked for the family, the owner will not lodge a protest against him. If, however, a person becomes a sharecropper for the first time and then benefits from the land for the length of time necessary to establish a claim of ownership, he is allowed to retain possession. We tell the owners: "How did you allow him to benefit from the property year after year without issuing a protest?"

ה

הָאֲרִיסִין כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה אָרִיס לְאָבִיו שֶׁל בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה אוֹ לְאַנְשֵׁי מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּא אָרִיס שֶׁל בָּתֵּי אָבוֹת אֵין מְמַחִין הַבְּעָלִים בְּיָדוֹ. אֲבָל אִם זֶה הוּא שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה אָרִיס תְּחִלָּה הוֹאִיל וַאֲכָלָהּ כֻּלָּהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה מַעֲמִידִין אוֹתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ. וְאוֹמְרִין לַבְּעָלִים הֵיאַךְ אָכַל שָׁנָה אַחַר שָׁנָה וְלֹא מָחִיתָ בּוֹ:

6

Moreover, even when a sharecropper who has worked for the family brings other sharecroppers to work in his place, he may establish a claim of ownership. For ordinarily, there is no way that a person will bring sharecroppers into a colleague's property, and the latter will remain silent.

If, however, he divided the land among other sharecroppers who also worked on that property, he may not establish a claim of ownership. For it is possible that the owner appointed him as a supervisor over the sharecroppers.

When a sharecropper ceases working in that capacity and afterwards benefits from the produce of the land on which he had been working for three years, he establishes a claim of ownership.

ו

אָרִיס שֶׁל בָּתֵּי אָבוֹת שֶׁהוֹרִיד אֲרִיסִין תַּחַת יָדוֹ יֵשׁ לוֹ חֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵין מוֹרִידִין אֲרִיסִים אֲחֵרִים לְנִכְסֵי אָדָם וְהוּא שׁוֹתֵק. אֲבָל אִם חָלַק לַאֲרִיסִין אֲחֵרִים שֶׁהָיוּ בָּהּ אֵין לוֹ חֲזָקָה שֶׁמָּא מְמֻנֶּה עַל הָאֲרִיסִין עָשׂוּ אוֹתוֹ. וְאָרִיס שֶׁיָּרַד מֵאֲרִיסוּתוֹ וַאֲכָלָהּ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים מֵאַחַר שֶׁיָּרַד הֶחֱזִיק:

7

What is meant by the exclusion of guardians? The exclusion applies whether the guardian was charged with caring for a particular field or all of an heir's properties, whether he was appointed by the court or appointed by the father of the orphans, and the orphans came of age and allowed him to remain in that capacity, or whether an adult appointed a guardian to supervise his income and expenditures. Since these persons have permission to use the property, they cannot establish a claim of ownership. If a guardian left his position and benefited from the property for three years after leaving, he establishes a claim of ownership.

ז

הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹסִין כֵּיצַד. בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס עַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ בֵּין עַל שְׁאָר נְכָסִים בֵּין שֶׁמִּנּוּ אוֹתָם בֵּית דִּין בֵּין שֶׁמִּנָּה אוֹתָם אֲבִי יְתוֹמִים וְגָדְלוּ הַיְתוֹמִים וְהִנִּיחוּ אוֹתָן. בֵּין שֶׁמִּנָּה אָדָם אַפּוֹטְרוֹפּוֹס עַל הוֹצָאָתוֹ וְהַכְנָסָתוֹ. הוֹאִיל וְהֵן מִשְׁתַּמְּשִׁין בִּרְשׁוּת אֵין לָהֶן חֲזָקָה. עָבְרוּ הָאַפּוֹטְרוֹפִּין מִמִּנּוּיָן וְאָכְלוּ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אַחַר שֶׁעָבְרוּ הֲרֵי זוֹ חֲזָקָה:

8

What is meant by the exclusion of partners? When a person is a partner in a field that is not required to be divided , even though he alone benefits from the entire field for several years, the field is still presumed to be owned by both of the partners.

If, however, it is large enough to be divided and only one of the partners benefited from it in its entirety for the years necessary to establish a claim of ownership, he establishes such a claim. For he may tell his partner: "If it is true that you did not sell or give me your share of the field, why did I alone benefit from the entire field? Why did you remain silent and not protest for all these three years?"

Similarly, when a man who had stipulated that he waives the right to benefit from his wife's property nevertheless derives benefit from his wife's property for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership, the fact that he derived benefit is of no consequence. This applies even when - while she was consecrated but not yet married - he stipulated that he would not inherit her property, and afterwards derived benefit from it, built or destroyed structures on it, doing whatever he desired.

Similarly, when a woman derived benefit from her husband's property and made use of it as she desired for several years, the fact that she derived benefit is of no consequence. This applies even if her husband designated another field for her to derive her livelihood from, and she benefited from other fields.

Similarly, when a son receives his livelihood at his father's home and is considered one of the members of his household, if he benefits from his father's property for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership, it is of no consequence. The same law applies when the father derives benefit from the property of this son, who derives his livelihood from him for the number of years necessary to establish a claim of ownership.

ח

הַשֻּׁתָּפִין כֵּיצַד. אִם הָיָה שֻׁתָּף בְּשָׂדֶה זוֹ וְאֵין בָּהּ דִּין חֲלוּקָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָכַל אֶת כֻּלָּהּ הָאֶחָד מֵהֶן כַּמָּה שָׁנִים הֲרֵי הִיא בְּחֶזְקַת שְׁנֵיהֶם. וְאִם יֵשׁ בָּהּ דִּין חֲלוּקָה וַאֲכָלָהּ הָאֶחָד כֻּלָּהּ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה יֵשׁ לוֹ חֲזָקָה שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר לְשֻׁתָּפוֹ אִם בֶּאֱמֶת שֶׁלֹּא מָכַרְתָּ וְלֹא נָתַתָּ הֵיאַךְ אָכַלְתִּי אֶת כֻּלָּהּ וְאַתָּה שׁוֹתֵק וְלֹא מָחִיתָ כָּל שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים. וְכֵן הָאִישׁ שֶׁאָכַל בְּנִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִתְנָה עִמָּהּ שֶׁאֵין לוֹ פֵּרוֹת בִּנְכָסֶיהָ. וַאֲפִלּוּ הִתְנָה עִמָּהּ כְּשֶׁהִיא אֲרוּסָה שֶׁלֹּא יִירָשֶׁנָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ אָכַל וּבָנָה וְהָרַס וְעָשָׂה כָּל מַה שֶּׁעָשָׂה. וְכֵן הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁאָכְלָה פֵּרוֹת בְּנִכְסֵי בַּעְלָהּ וְנִשְׁתַּמְּשָׁה בָּהֶן כְּחֶפְצָהּ כַּמָּה שָׁנִים. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיִּחֵד לָהּ שָׂדֶה בִּמְזוֹנוֹתֶיהָ וְאָכְלָה שָׂדוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה. וְכֵן הַבֵּן שֶׁהוּא סוֹמֵךְ עַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹ שֶׁל אָבִיו וְנֶחְשָׁב בִּכְלַל בְּנֵי בֵּיתוֹ אִם אָכַל נִכְסֵי אָבִיו שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. וְכֵן הָאָב שֶׁאָכַל נִכְסֵי בֵּן זֶה שֶׁהוּא סוֹמֵךְ עָלָיו שְׁנֵי חֲזָקָה. אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה:

9

If such a son leaves his father's household or a woman is divorced - this applies even if there is a question whether the divorce is effective - they are bound by the laws that apply to all other individuals.

ט

וּבֵן שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ מֵאָבִיו וְאִשָּׁה שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה אֲפִלּוּ סְפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין הֲרֵי הֵן כִּשְׁאָר כָּל אָדָם:

10

The exilarchs of the Talmudic era could not establish a claim of ownership because they benefited from a field. The rationale is that they had the authority to rale over the people.

Similarly, when a person manifests ownership over property belonging to the exilarchs, even if he benefits from it for a number of years, the fact that he derived benefit is not significant. The rationale is that the exilarchs do not protest because they have the power to remove the other person from the property whenever they desire. Instead, they must take a sh'vu'at hesset that they did not sell or give that person the property. Conversely, if they took possession of the property of another person, and that person says that he did not sell the property, that person must take a sh'vu'at hesset that he did not sell or give them the property.

י

רָאשֵׁי גָּלֻיּוֹת שֶׁהָיוּ בִּימֵי חֲכָמִים לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה בָּהֶן כֹּחַ לִרְדּוֹת אֶת הָעָם אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה. וְכֵן אַחֵר שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בְּנִכְסֵיהֶן אֲפִלּוּ אָכַל כַּמָּה שָׁנִים אֵין אֲכִילָתָן רְאָיָה לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָן מְמַחִין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיָּדָן תְּקֵפָה כָּל זְמַן שֶׁיִּרְצוּ מְסַלְּקִין זֶה מִמֶּנָּה. אֲבָל נִשְׁבָּעִין הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא מָכְרוּ וְשֶׁלֹּא נָתְנוּ. וְאִם הֵן הֶחֱזִיקוּ בְּנִכְסֵי אַחֵר וְאָמַר שֶׁלֹּא מָכַר נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא מָכַר לָהֶן וְלֹא נָתַן לָהֶם:

11

What is meant by the exclusion of robbers? When a person is presumed to have stolen this field, or his ancestors were presumed to kill people in order to take their property, although he benefits from a field for several years, he does not establish a claim of ownership, and the field should be returned to its owners.

יא

הַגַּזְלָן כֵּיצַד. מִי שֶׁהֻחְזַק גַּזְלָן עַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ אוֹ מִי שֶׁהֻחְזְקוּ אֲבוֹתָיו שֶׁהֵן הוֹרְגִין נְפָשׁוֹת עַל עִסְקֵי מָמוֹן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָכַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ כַּמָּה שָׁנִים לֹא הֶחֱזִיק וְתַחְזֹר שָׂדֶה לַבְּעָלִים:

To’en veNit’an - Chapter 14

1

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

א

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

2

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

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

ב

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

3

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

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

ג

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

4

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

ד

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

5

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

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

ה

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

6

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

ו

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

7

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

ז

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

8

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

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

ח

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

9

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

ט

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

10

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

י

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

11

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

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

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

יא

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

12

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

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

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

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

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

יב

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

13

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

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

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

יג

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

14

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

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

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

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

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

יד

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

To’en veNit’an - Chapter 15

1

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

א

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

2

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

ב

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

3

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

ג

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

4

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

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

ד

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

5

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

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

ה

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

6

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

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

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

ו

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

7

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

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

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

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

ז

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

8

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

ח

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

9

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

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

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

ט

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

10

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

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

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

י

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

11

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

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

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

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

יא

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

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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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