ב"ה

# Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

## Mechirah - Chapter Fifteen

Classes on 1 Chapter Rambam

## Mechirah - Chapter Fifteen

1

When a person sells an item to a colleague by measure, by weight or by number, and errs to the slightest degree, the colleague may seek redress at any time.

The principles of ona'ah apply only with regard to an object's value. An error in calculation, by contrast, is always reason to seek redress.

א

הַמּוֹכֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ בְּמִדָּה בְּמִשְׁקָל אוֹ בְּמִנְיָן וְטָעָה בְּכָל שֶׁהוּא חוֹזֵר לְעוֹלָם. שֶׁאֵין הוֹנָיָה אֶלָּא בְּדָמִים אֲבָל בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן חוֹזֵר:

2

What is implied? A person sold a colleague 100 nuts for a dinar, and then it was discovered that he gave him 101 or 99. The transaction is binding, and the extra or missing nut must be returned. This applies even if several years have passed.

Similarly, if it is discovered that more or less money was given than the amount originally agreed upon the error should be corrected. This applies even if he performed a kinyan attesting to the fact that his colleague does not owe him anything. For the kinyan was performed under mistaken premises. Similar principles apply in all analogous situations.

ב

כֵּיצַד. מָכַר לוֹ מֵאָה אֱגוֹזִים בְּדִינָר וְנִמְצְאוּ מֵאָה וְאֶחָד אוֹ תִּשְׁעִים וְתִשְׁעָה. נִקְנָה הַמִּקָּח וּמַחֲזִיר אֶת הַטָּעוּת וַאֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר כַּמָּה שָׁנִים. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצְאוּ הַמָּעוֹת חָסֵר אוֹ יָתֵר מִן הַמִּנְיָן שֶׁפָּסְקוּ חוֹזֵר וַאֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁאַר לוֹ אֵצֶל חֲבֵרוֹ כְּלוּם חוֹזֵר שֶׁקִּנְיָן בְּטָעוּת הוּא. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

3

Similarly, when a person sells a colleague landed property, a servant, an animal or movable property, and there is a defect in the property that the purchaser was not aware of, he may return it, even though several years have passed. For the transaction was concluded under erroneous premises.

The above applies provided he did not use the purchased article after he discovered the blemish. If, however, he made use of it after he discovered the blemish, he is considered to have forfeited his right to retract, and he may not return the article.

ג

וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ קַרְקַע אוֹ עֶבֶד אוֹ בְּהֵמָה אוֹ שְׁאָר מִטַּלְטְלִין וְנִמְצָא בַּמִּקָּח מוּם שֶׁלֹּא יָדַע בּוֹ הַלּוֹקֵחַ. מַחְזִירוֹ אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר כַּמָּה שָׁנִים שֶׁזֶּה מִקָּח טָעוּת הוּא. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בַּמִּקָּח אַחַר שֶׁיָּדַע בַּמּוּם. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בּוֹ אַחַר שֶׁרָאָה הַמּוּם הֲרֵי זֶה מָחַל וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִיר:

4

We do not evaluate the diminution in value caused by the blemish. Instead, even if one sold a colleague a utensil worth ten dinarim, and a blemish was discovered that reduced its value by an isar the purchaser may return the utensil. The seller may not tell him: "Here is an isar, the decrease in value caused by the blemish." For the purchaser may say: "I desire a perfect article." Conversely, if the purchaser desires that the transaction stand, but seeks to be reimbursed for the diminution in value caused by the blemish, the option is given to the seller. He may tell him: "Either purchase the utensil as is for the full price, or take your money and depart.

ד

אֵין מְחַשְּׁבִין פְּחַת הַמּוּם. אֲפִלּוּ מָכַר לוֹ כְּלִי שָׁוֶה עֲשָׂרָה דִּינָרִין וְנִמְצָא בּוֹ מוּם הַמַּפְחִיתוֹ מִדָּמוֹ אִיסָר מַחְזִיר אֶת הַכְּלִי וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לוֹמַר לוֹ הֵילָךְ אִיסָר פְּחַת הַמּוּם. שֶׁהַלּוֹקֵחַ אוֹמֵר בְּחֵפֶץ שָׁלֵם אֲנִי רוֹצֶה. וְכֵן אִם רָצָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ לִקַּח פְּחַת הַמּוּם הָרְשׁוּת בְּיַד הַמּוֹכֵר. שֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר לוֹ אוֹ תִּקְנֶה אוֹתוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא אוֹ טֹל דָּמִים שֶׁלְּךָ וְלֵךְ:

5

Whenever there is a blemish that the people of a city agree is serious enough to warrant the nullification of a transaction, the article should be returned. Whenever the people agree that a fault is not considered to be a blemish, the article should not be returned unless the purchaser explicitly stated that he refused to accept even the slightest blemish. The rationale is that whenever a person conducts business without making any specific demands, it is assumed that he is following the prevailing customs of the community.

ה

כָּל שֶׁהִסְכִּימוּ עָלָיו בְּנֵי הַמְּדִינָה שֶׁהוּא מוּם שֶׁמַּחְזִיר בּוֹ מִקָּח זֶה מַחֲזִירִין. וְכָל שֶׁהִסְכִּימוּ עָלָיו שֶׁאֵינוֹ מוּם הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ מַחְזִיר בּוֹ אֶלָּא אִם פֵּרֵשׁ. שֶׁכָּל הַנּוֹשֵׂא וְנוֹתֵן סְתָם עַל מִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה הוּא סוֹמֵךְ:

6

Whenever a person purchases an article without making any specific statements, it is assumed that he desired to purchase an article that is perfect, without any blemish.

Even if the seller explicitly said: "This article is sold to you on the condition that you do not return it as blemished," the purchaser may nevertheless return the article unless the purchaser says: "I accept any blemish that I will discover in this article although it causes it to be worth such and such less." For when a person waives money that is due him, he must know how much he is waiving and make an explicit statement to that effect, as applies with regard to the laws of ona'ah.

ו

כָּל הַלּוֹקֵחַ סְתָם אֵינוֹ לוֹקֵחַ אֶלָּא הַדָּבָר הַשָּׁלֵם מִכָּל מוּם. וְאִם פֵּרֵשׁ הַמּוֹכֵר וְאָמַר עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה חוֹזֵר עָלַי בְּמוּם. הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹזֵר עַד שֶׁיְּפָרֵשׁ הַמּוּם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּמִמְכָּרוֹ וְיִמְחל הַלּוֹקֵחַ. אוֹ עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר לוֹ כָּל מוּם שֶׁיִּמָּצֵא בְּמִקָּח זֶה הַפּוֹחֵת דָּמָיו עַד כָּךְ וְכָךְ קִבַּלְתִּי אוֹתוֹ. שֶׁהַמּוֹחֵל צָרִיךְ לֵידַע הַדָּבָר שֶׁיִּמְחל לוֹ בּוֹ וִיפָרֵשׁ אוֹתוֹ כְּמוֹ הַמְפָרֵשׁ בְּהוֹנָיָה:

7

When a person sells a cow to a colleague and states that it has some blemishes that are obvious and some blemishes that are not obvious, and the cow does not possess any of the blemishes that are obvious, but does possess one of the blemishes that are not obvious, the transaction is considered to have been concluded under erroneous premises. The cow may be returned although the blemish that was discovered was mentioned explicitly. The rationale is that the purchaser will say: "Since I saw that the cow did not possess any of the apparent blemishes that you mentioned, I said to myself: 'In the same manner, it does not have any of the blemishes that are not apparent. Why did the seller mention them? To make me feel good about my purchase.' "

ז

הַמּוֹכֵר פָּרָה לַחֲבֵרוֹ וּמָנָה בָּהּ מוּמִין גְּלוּיִים וּמוּמִין שֶׁאֵין נִכָּרִין וְלֹא הָיָה בָּהּ מֵאוֹתָן הַמּוּמִין הַגְּלוּיִין שֶׁמָּנָה. וְנִמְצָא בָּהּ מוּם מֵאוֹתָן שֶׁאֵינָן נִכָּרִין הֲרֵי זֶה מִקַּח טָעוּת וְחוֹזֵר וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ הַמּוּם שֶׁנִּמְצָא. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַלּוֹקֵחַ אוֹמֵר כְּשֶׁרָאִיתִי שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ אֵלּוּ הַמּוּמִין שֶׁנִּרְאִין שֶׁמָּנָה אָמַרְתִּי כָּךְ אֵין בָּהּ אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵינָן נִרְאִין שֶׁמָּנָה. וְאֵינוֹ מְפָרֵשׁ מוּמִין אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא כְּדֵי לְהַשְׁבִּיחַ דַּעְתִּי:

8

What is implied? The seller says: "This cow is blind; it is lame; it bites and it crouches suddenly," and it is discovered that the cow only bites or only crouches suddenly, the transaction is considered to have been concluded under erroneous premises.

If the cow possesses all the blemishes the seller mentioned, the transaction is not considered to have been concluded under erroneous premises. Similarly, if the cow is lame but not blind, and it is discovered that it bites, the transaction is not considered to have been concluded under erroneous premises.

ח

כֵּיצַד. פָּרָה זוֹ עִוֶּרֶת הִיא חִגֶּרֶת הִיא נַשְׁכָנִית הִיא רַבְצָנִית הִיא. וְנִמְצֵאת רַבְצָנִית בִּלְבַד אוֹ נַשְׁכָנִית הֲרֵי זֶה מִקַּח טָעוּת. הָיוּ בָּהּ כָּל הַמּוּמִין שֶׁמָּנָה אֵין זֶה מִקַּח טָעוּת. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה חִגֶּרֶת וְנִמְצֵאת נַשְׁכָנִית אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ עִוֶּרֶת אֵין זֶה מִקַּח טָעוּת:

9

The following rule applies if the seller shows the purchaser a blemish that the cow possesses and tells him: "It has this blemish and also these other blemishes." Although the cow possesses all or several of the non-obvious blemishes that the seller mentioned, the transaction is not considered to have been conducted under false premises.

ט

הֶרְאָה לוֹ הַמּוּם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ וְאָמַר לוֹ מוּם זֶה יֵשׁ בָּהּ וּמוּם פְּלוֹנִי [וּמוּם פְּלוֹנִי] אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאוֹתָן הַמּוּמִין שֶׁמָּנָה נִרְאִין וְנִמְצְאוּ בָּהּ כֻּלָּן אוֹ מִקְצָתָן אֵין זֶה מִקַּח טָעוּת:

10

Similarly, if a person sells a maidservant to a colleague and says: "She has only one hand; she limps; she is blind; she is a maniac; she is an epileptic," and she does not possess any of the blemishes the seller mentioned, but she is epileptic, the transaction is considered to have been conducted under false premises. The same principles apply in all analogous situations.

י

וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר שִׁפְחָה לַחֲבֵרוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ גִּדֶּמֶת הִיא חִגֶּרֶת הִיא סוּמָא הִיא שׁוֹטָה הִיא נִכְפֵּית הִיא וְלֹא הָיָה בָּהּ מוּם מֵאֵלּוּ הַמּוּמִין שֶׁמָּנָה וְנִמְצֵאת נִכְפֵּית הֲרֵי זֶה מִקַּח טָעוּת. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

11

On this basis, I maintain that if a person sells an article to a person for 100 dinarim and tells him: "This article is not worth more than one zuz, and I am selling it to you on the condition that the laws of ona'ah do not apply to me," the laws of ona'ah do apply. For the purchaser will say: "Since I saw the seller say that it was only worth a zuz, I realized that he was only trying to make me feel good about my purchase. "The above holds true until the seller explicitly mentions the amount of unfair gain involved in this purchase - or mentions a figure that is close to that, concerning which a person could possibly err. For then we know that the purchaser certainly waived his right to this money. It is fitting to rule according to this logic.

יא

מִכָּאן אֲנִי אוֹמֵר שֶׁהַמּוֹכֵר חֵפֶץ לַחֲבֵרוֹ בְּמֵאָה דִּינָרִין וְאָמַר לוֹ חֵפֶץ זֶה אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה אֶלָּא זוּז אֶחָד עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֵין לְךָ עָלַי אוֹנָאָה. הֲרֵי זֶה יֵשׁ לוֹ עָלָיו אוֹנָאָה שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאִיתִי שֶׁאָמַר שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה אֶלָּא זוּז יָדַעְתִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְכַּוֵּן אֶלָּא לְהַשְׁבִּיחַ דַּעְתִּי. עַד שֶׁיְּפָרֵשׁ כְּדֵי הַהוֹנָיָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּמִקָּחוֹ בְּוַדַּאי אוֹ קָרוֹב לָהּ בִּכְדֵי שֶׁהַדַּעַת טוֹעָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי יָדַע בְּוַדַּאי הַדָּבָר שֶׁמָּחַל בּוֹ. וְכָזֶה רָאוּי לָדוּן:

12

When a person sells a manservant or a maidservant, the purchaser may not return it because it possesses blemishes that do not prevent the man or woman from working. These blemishes are called simpon. If the simpon was evident, the purchaser saw it at the time of purchase.If it was not always evident - e.g., a mole in its flesh, a scar from a dog-bite or a foul odor coming from the mouth or the nose - he may not return it, for these blemishes do not prevent the servant from working. And servants are not for the purpose of physical intimacy, but to perform work.

יב

הַמּוֹכֵר עֶבֶד אוֹ שִׁפְחָה. אֵין הַלּוֹקֵחַ יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִירוֹ מִפְּנֵי מוּמִין שֶׁאֵין מְבַטְּלִין אוֹתוֹ מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ וְהֵן הַנִּקְרָאִין סִמְפּוֹן. שֶׁאִם הָיָה זֶה סִמְפּוֹן גָּלוּי כְּבָר רָאָהוּ. וְאִם אֵינוֹ נִרְאֶה כְּגוֹן שׁוּמָא בַּבָּשָׂר אוֹ נְשִׁיכַת כֶּלֶב אוֹ רֵיחַ הַפֶּה אוֹ הַחֹטֶם וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ מְבַטְּלוֹ מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ אֵינוֹ מַחְזִיר. שֶׁאֵין הָעֲבָדִים לְתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה אֶלָּא לִמְלָאכָה:

13

If the servant has extremely uncomfortable boils or a sickness that weakens his strength, or if he is epileptic or insane, it is considered to be a blemish, because this prevents him from working. Similarly, if he has tzara'afi or other conditions that are revolting, it is considered to be a blemish, because a person is repelled by them, and therefore he will not use this servant to serve food or drink.

Similarly, if he is discovered to be an armed robber, this is considered to be a blemish that destroys his entire worth. For the ruling authorities will seize him and execute him.

Similarly, if he has been conscripted by the ruling authorities, this is considered to be a blemish for which the servant can be returned, for the king will seize him to work for him whenever he desires. If, however, the servant is discovered to be a thief, a pilferer, a kidnapper, one who constantly tries to escape, a glutton or the like, the purchaser may not return him unless he explicitly stated that he refused to accept a servant with any of these qualities. For all servants can be assumed to possess these undesirable attributes.

יג

נִמְצָא בּוֹ שְׁחִין רַע. אוֹ חֹלִי הַמֵּתִישׁ אֶת כֹּחוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה נִכְפֶּה אוֹ מְשֻׁעֲמָם. הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמְּבַטְּלוֹ מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצָא בּוֹ צָרַעַת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהּ מִדְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ הַמְגֹאָלִים הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנַּפְשׁוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אוֹנֶנֶת מֵהֶם וְנִמְצָא שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְעַסֵּק לוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת אֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצָא לִסְטִים מְזֻיָּן הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם הַמְאַבֵּד אֶת כֻּלּוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ תּוֹפֵס אוֹתוֹ וְהוֹרְגוֹ. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצָא מֻכְתָּב לַמַּלְכוּת הֲרֵי זֶה מוּם וּמַחֲזִירוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ תּוֹפְשׂוֹ לִמְלַאכְתּוֹ בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. אֲבָל אִם נִמְצָא גַּנָּב אוֹ חוֹטֵף אוֹ גּוֹנֵב נְפָשׁוֹת. אוֹ בּוֹרֵחַ תָּמִיד. אוֹ זוֹלֵל וְסוֹבֵא וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַחְזִיר. שֶׁכָּל הָעֲבָדִים בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן כָּל הַדֵּעוֹת הָרָעוֹת אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן פֵּרֵשׁ.

## Test Yourself on This Chapter

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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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