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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Gezelah va'Avedah - Chapter Ten

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Gezelah va'Avedah - Chapter Ten

1

The following law applies when a powerful and violent gentile took over property belonging to a Jew by force, seizing his field because the owner owed him a debt, caused him damages or caused him financial loss. If, after taking possession of the field, the gentile sold it to another Jew, the owner cannot expropriate it from the purchaser.

א

עַכּוּ''ם בַּעַל זְרוֹעַ שֶׁאָנַס נִכְסֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיָרַד לְתוֹךְ שָׂדֵהוּ מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ חוֹב עַל בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה אוֹ מֵחֲמַת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ נֵזֶק בְּיַד זֶה הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהִפְסִיד מָמוֹנוֹ. וְאַחַר שֶׁתָּקַף לוֹ אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה מְכָרָהּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֵר. אֵין הַבְּעָלִים יְכוֹלִין לְהוֹצִיא מִיַּד הַלּוֹקֵחַ:

2

When does the above apply? When the owner admits that the gentile who sold the property told the truth, or when two Jewish witnesses substantiate the truth of the gentile's claims.

Similarly, if there was a king or a ruler in that locale who could summon the gentile to court, and the owner did not lodge a claim against him, he cannot expropriate the property from the person who purchased it from the gentile. This applies even though the owner does not admit the truth of the gentile's claim, and even though there are no witnesses that the gentile told the truth. For the purchaser can tell the owner: "If the gentile is a robber, why did you not sue him according to the laws of the land?"

ב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהוֹדוּ הַבְּעָלִים שֶׁאֱמֶת טָעַן הָעַכּוּ''ם [הַמּוֹכֵר אוֹ יָעִידוּ עֵדֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהָאֱמֶת טָעַן הָעַכּוּ''ם] הַמּוֹכֵר. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה שָׁם מֶלֶךְ אוֹ שַׂר בְּאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם שֶׁיָּכוֹל לָכֹף אֶת הָעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁמָּכַר לְדִין וְלֹא תָּבְעוּ הַבְּעָלִים אֶת הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לְהוֹצִיא מִיַּד הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן מוֹדִין לָעַכּוּ''ם וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם עֵדִים שֶׁאֱמֶת טָעַן הָעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר הַלּוֹקֵחַ לַבְּעָלִים אִם גַּזְלָן הוּא הָעַכּוּ''ם לָמָּה לֹא תְּבַעְתֶּם אוֹתוֹ בְּדִינֵיהֶם:

3

The following laws apply with regard to gentiles who oppress the Jewish people and seek to kill them, unless they ransom themselves from the gentiles by ceding title to a field or a home, and giving it to the gentiles in return for their release.

When the oppressor desires to sell this land and the owner has the means to purchase the property, he is given priority over all others. If the owner does not have the means to purchase the property, or the property has remained in the possession of the oppressor for more than twelve months, whoever comes first and purchases the property from the oppressor acquires it.

The purchaser must, however, give the original owner a fourth of the land or a third of the funds. For the oppressor sells the land cheaply; since the land is not his, he will sell it for approximately a fourth less than its value. This portion belongs to the original owner, because the reason it was sold cheaply was that it belonged to him.

Therefore, a person who acquires it from the oppressor for 30 zuz must pay 10 to the original owner or give him one fourth of the land. If this is done, the purchaser acquires full title to the land. If he fails to do this, the quarter of the land is considered to be property obtained by robbery.

ג

הָעַכּוּ''ם הַמְּצִיקִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וּמְבַקְּשִׁים לְהָרְגָם עַד שֶׁיִּפְדֶּה עַצְמוֹ מִיַּד הָעַכּוּ''ם בְּשָׂדֵהוּ אוֹ בְּבֵיתוֹ וְיִתְּנֶנָּה לַמֵּצִיק וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַנִּיחֶנּוּ. כְּשֶׁיִּרְצֶה הַמֵּצִיק לִמְכֹּר אוֹתָהּ הַקַּרְקַע אִם יֵשׁ בְּיַד הַבְּעָלִים לִקַּח מִן הַמֵּצִיק הֵן קוֹדְמִין לְכָל אָדָם. וְאִם אֵין בְּיַד הַבְּעָלִים לִקַּח אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁהָה הַקַּרְקַע בְּיַד הַמֵּצִיק שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ כָּל הַקּוֹדֵם וְלָקַח מִן הַמֵּצִיק זָכָה. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן לַבְּעָלִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים רְבִיעַ הַקַּרְקַע אוֹ שְׁלִישׁ הַמָּעוֹת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁזֶּה הַמֵּצִיק מוֹכֵר בְּזוֹל הוֹאִיל וְקַרְקַע שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁלּוֹ הוּא מוֹכֵר הֲרֵי זֶה מוֹכֵר בְּפָחוֹת רְבִיעַ אוֹ קָרוֹב לוֹ וְזֶה רְבִיעַ שֶׁל בְּעָלִים שֶׁהֲרֵי מֵחֲמַת שֶׁהִיא שֶׁלָּהֶן מוֹכֵר בְּזוֹל. לְפִיכָךְ הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִן הַמֵּצִיק בִּשְׁלֹשִׁים נוֹתֵן לַבְּעָלִים עֲשָׂרָה אוֹ נוֹתֵן לָהֶם רְבִיעַ הַקַּרְקַע וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִקְנֶה הַכּל. וְאִם לֹא נָתַן הֲרֵי רְבִיעַ הַקַּרְקַע כְּגֵזֶל בְּיָדוֹ:

4

The following rules apply if a squatter enters a field belonging to a colleague without permission and plants trees there. If the field was one appropriate for trees to be planted, we evaluate how much a person would be willing to pay for trees to be planted in this field, and he collects this amount from the owner of the field. If this field is not suitable for planting, the squatter's improvement of the field should be evaluated, and he is judged at a disadvantage.

ד

הַיּוֹרֵד לְתוֹךְ שְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת וּנְטָעָהּ אִם הָיְתָה שָׂדֶה הָעֲשׂוּיָה לִטַּע אוֹמְדִין כַּמָּה אָדָם רוֹצֶה לִתֵּן בְּשָׂדֶה זוֹ לִטְּעָהּ וְנוֹטֵל מִבַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה. וְאִם אֵינָהּ עֲשׂוּיָה לִטַּע שָׁמִין לוֹ וְיָדוֹ עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה:

5

Moreover, if the owner of the field tells the squatter: "Uproot your tree and go," the owner's wishes are heeded.If the squatter says: "I want to uproot my tree," his wishes are not heeded, because uprooting trees weakens the fertility of the land.

ה

אָמַר לוֹ בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה עֲקֹר אִילָנְךָ וְלֵךְ שׁוֹמְעִים לוֹ. אָמַר הַנּוֹטֵעַ הֲרֵינִי עוֹקֵר אִילָנִי אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּכְחִישׁ אֶת הַקַּרְקַע:

6

Courtyards are considered to be appropriate for construction and to add homes and lofts. Therefore, the geonim ruled that a squatter who builds in a colleague's courtyard without his consent is regarded like a person who plants trees in a field appropriate for planting. If the building is useful and is appropriate for that courtyard according to the local custom, we evaluate how much a person would give to have such a building constructed and require the owner to pay that sum to the squatter.

ו

הַחֲצֵרוֹת הֲרֵי הֵן רְאוּיִין לְבִנְיָן וּלְהוֹסִיף בָּהֶן בָּתִּים וַעֲלִיּוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ הוֹרוּ הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁהַבּוֹנֶה בַּחֲצַר חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּנוֹטֵעַ שָׂדֶה הָעֲשׂוּיָה לִטַּע וְשָׁמִין לוֹ כַּמָּה אָדָם רוֹצֶה לִתֵּן בְּבִנְיָן זֶה לִבְנוֹתוֹ. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּבְנֶה בִּנְיָן הַמּוֹעִיל הָרָאוּי לְאוֹתָהּ חָצֵר כְּמִנְהַג אוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם:

7

When a person enters a colleague's field with the latter's permission, his improvement of the field should be evaluated, and he should be given the advantage in evaluating the amount of money due him. This applies even if he planted trees in a field that was unfit for planting.

If his expenses exceed the field's increase in value, he is reimbursed for his expenses. If the field's increase in value exceeds his expenses, he is reimbursed for the field's increase in value.

A husband who tills property belonging to his wife, and a partner who tills a field in which he owns a share are considered to have been given permission to enter the land. Their improvement of the field should be evaluated and they should be given the advantage in evaluating the amount of money due them.

ז

הַיּוֹרֵד לִשְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת אֲפִלּוּ נָטַע שָׂדֶה שֶׁאֵינָהּ עֲשׂוּיָה לִטַּע שָׁמִין לוֹ וְיָדוֹ עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה. שֶׁאִם הָיְתָה הַהוֹצָאָה יֶתֶר עַל הַשֶּׁבַח נוֹטֵל הַהוֹצָאָה וְאִם הַשֶּׁבַח יֶתֶר עַל הַהוֹצָאָה נוֹטֵל הַשֶּׁבַח. וּבַעַל בְּנִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ וְהַשֻּׁתָּף בְּשָׂדֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ חֵלֶק בָּהּ כְּיוֹרֵד בִּרְשׁוּת הֵן וְשָׁמִין לָהֶם וְיָדָם עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה:

8

When a squatter enters a field belonging to a colleague without permission and plants trees or builds there and the owner of the field comes afterwards and completes the building or guards the trees planted, or performs any other activity that indicates that he is pleased with the squatter's activity and considers it desirable, the squatter's improvement of the field should be evaluated and he should be given the advantage in evaluating the amount of money due him.

ח

הַיּוֹרֵד לִשְׂדֵה חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת וְנָטַע אוֹ בָּנָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִשְׁלִים הַבִּנְיָן אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁמַר הַנְּטִיעוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בְּאֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁמַּרְאִין שֶׁדַּעְתּוֹ נוֹטָה לְמַה שֶּׁעָשָׂה זֶה וּבִרְצוֹנוֹ בָּא הַדָּבָר שָׁמִין לוֹ וְיָדוֹ עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה:

9

When a squatter enters a ruined building belonging to a colleague and rebuilds it without permission, the improvement he has brought about should be evaluated, and he is judged at a disadvantage.

If the owner of the building says: "I am taking my stones and wood," his words are heeded with regard to a house,but this principle is not applied with regard to a field, for building and destroying a structure in a field weakens the fertility of the land.

If the owner of the land tells him: "Remove what you built,"his words are heeded.

ט

הַיּוֹרֵד לְתוֹךְ חֻרְבָּתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ וּבְנָאָהּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּרְשׁוּת שָׁמִין לוֹ וְיָדוֹ עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה. וְאִם אָמַר בַּעַל הַבִּנְיָן עֵצַי וַאֲבָנַי אֲנִי נוֹטֵל. בַּבַּיִת שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. בַּשָּׂדֶה אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּכְחִישׁ אֶת הַקַּרְקַע. אָמַר לוֹ בַּעַל הַקַּרְקַע טֹל מַה שֶּׁבָּנִיתָ שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ:

10

Whenever the improvements a person brought about are evaluated - whether he is judged at an advantage or at a disadvantage - he is not entitled to collect any money unless he first takes an oath while holding a sacred object, with regard to the amount of his expenses.

If he says: "Let the judges come and evaluate the expenses. Whatever I spent is in the open. Let them evaluate the worth of the wood, the stones, the mortar, and the wages of the workers according to the lowest standards," his request is accepted, and he is entitled to collect his due without taking an oath. Similarly, if a person collects only the value of the improvement of the property, and he is judged at an advantage, he is not required to take an oath.

י

כָּל מִי שֶׁשָּׁמִין לוֹ בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה יָדוֹ עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה יָדוֹ עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל כְּלוּם עַד שֶׁיִּשָּׁבַע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ כַּמָּה הוֹצִיא. וְאִם אָמַר יָבוֹאוּ הַדַּיָּנִים וְיַעֲשׂוּ שׁוּמַת הַהוֹצָאָה וַהֲרֵי הִיא גְּלוּיָה לְעֵינֵיהֶם וִישַׁעֲרוּ הָעֵצִים וְהָאֲבָנִים וְהַסִּיד וּשְׂכַר הָאֻמָּנִין בַּפָּחוּת שֶׁבַּשְּׁעָרִים שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ וְנוֹטֵל בְּלֹא שְׁבוּעָה. וְכֵן זֶה שֶׁנּוֹטֵל הַשֶּׁבַח בִּלְבַד וְהָיְתָה יָדוֹ עַל הָעֶלְיוֹנָה אֵין צָרִיךְ שְׁבוּעָה:

11

The following rule applies whenever the improvements a person made are to be evaluated and he is entitled to collect money, and the owner of the field claims to have paid him, and the person who tilled the field claims that he did not receive anything. The claim of the person who tilled the field is accepted. He must take an oath that he did not receive anything, and he is entitled to collect his due. For we tell the owner of the field: "An evaluation of what he is due was not made yet. Thus, you did not know how much you were obligated to give. How could you have paid him?"

A different rule applies, however, if the evaluation was already made and the owner of the field was told to pay a specific amount to the person who tilled it. If the owner of the field claims to have paid him, although the person who tilled the field has not taken an oath yet, the claim of the owner is accepted. The owner must take a Rabbinic oath that he paid, and then he is freed of liability. The rationale is that land is always considered to be in the domain of its rightful owner.

יא

כָּל שֶׁשָּׁמִין לוֹ וְנוֹטֵל שֶׁטָּעַן בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה וְאָמַר נָתַתִּי וְהַיּוֹרֵד לַשָּׂדֶה אוֹמֵר לֹא נָטַלְתִּי. הַיּוֹרֵד נֶאֱמָן וְנִשְׁבָּע שֶׁלֹּא נָתַן לוֹ כְּלוּם וְנוֹטֵל שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמְרִין לְבַעַל הַשָּׂדֶה עֲדַיִן לֹא שָׁמוּ לְךָ וְלֹא יָדַעְתָּ כַּמָּה אַתָּה חַיָּב לִתֵּן הֵיאַךְ נָתַתָּ. אֲבָל אִם שָׁמוּ לוֹ וְאָמְרוּ לְבַעַל הַשָּׂדֶה תֵּן לוֹ וְאָמַר נָתַתִּי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נִשְׁבַּע הַיּוֹרֵד הֲרֵי בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה נֶאֱמָן וְיִשָּׁבַע שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת שֶׁנָּתַן וְיִפָּטֵר. שֶׁהַקַּרְקַע בְּחֶזְקַת בְּעָלֶיהָ:

12

The following laws apply when a husband brings sharecroppers to till property belonging to his wife and then he divorces her. If the husband is himself a sharecropper, their involvement is also terminated when the husband's involvement with the land is terminated, for they agreed to work the field on the husband's invitation. Their improvement of the field should be evaluated, and they are judged at a disadvantage.

If the husband is not a sharecropper and they agreed to work the field because it was necessary, they receive the share that is usually given to a sharecropper.

יב

בַּעַל שֶׁהוֹרִיד אֲרִיסִין בְּנִכְסֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ גֵּרְשָׁהּ. אִם הָיָה הַבַּעַל עַצְמוֹ אָרִיס נִסְתַּלֵּק בַּעַל נִסְתַּלְּקוּ אֲרִיסָיו שֶׁלֹּא יָרְדוּ לָהּ אֶלָּא עַל דַּעַת הַבַּעַל. וְשָׁמִין לָהֶם וְיָדָם עַל הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה. וְאִם אֵין הַבַּעַל אָרִיס עַל דַּעַת הַקַּרְקַע יָרְדוּ וְשָׁמִין לָהֶם כְּאָרִיס:

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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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah