1

The debt is the responsibility of the borrower until he pays the lender or the lender's agent. If the lender said: "Throw the money owed to me and become freed of responsibility," the borrower threw it to him, and it became lost or destroyed by fire before it reaches the lender, the borrower is not responsible.

The following rules apply if the lender told him: "Throw the money owed to me in a manner governed by the laws of a bill of divorce." If the money was closer to the borrower, it is still his responsibility. If it was closer to the lender, the borrower is no longer responsible. If it is half and half, and it is lost or stolen from there, the borrower is required to pay half of the debt.

א

הַחוֹב בְּאַחֲרָיוּת הַלּוֶֹה עַד שֶׁיִּפְרָעֶנּוּ לְיד הַמַּלְוֶה אוֹ לְיַד שְׁלוּחוֹ. אָמַר לוֹ הַמַּלְוֶה זְרֹק לִי חוֹבִי וְהִפָּטֵר וּזְרָקוֹ וְאָבַד אוֹ נִשְׂרַף קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לְיַד הַמַּלְוֶה פָּטוּר. אָמַר לוֹ זְרֹק לִי חוֹבִי בְּתוֹרַת גִּטִּין. הָיוּ הַמָּעוֹת קְרוֹבוֹת לַלּוֶֹה הֲרֵי עֲדַיִן בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ. הָיוּ קְרוֹבוֹת לַמַּלְוֶה נִפְטָר הַלּוֶֹה. מֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה אִם אָבְדוּ מִשָּׁם אוֹ נִגְנְבוּ מְשַׁלֵּם הַלּוֶֹה מֶחֱצָה:

2

When Reuven owes Shimon a maneh, gives the maneh to Levi and tells him: "Give this maneh that I owe Shimon to him," Reuven may not retract. Nevertheless, he is held responsible for the maneh until it reaches Shimon.

If Levi returned the maneh to Reuven, they are both responsible for it until Shimon receives full payment for the debt owed him.

ב

הָיָה רְאוּבֵן חַיָּב לְשִׁמְעוֹן מָנֶה וְאָמַר לְלֵוִי הוֹלֵךְ לְשִׁמְעוֹן מָנֶה זֶה שֶׁאֲנִי חַיָּב לוֹ. אִם בָּא לַחְזֹר אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר וְהוּא חַיָּב בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ הַמָּנֶה לְשִׁמְעוֹן. הֶחְזִיר לֵוִי אֶת הַמָּנֶה לִרְאוּבֵן שְׁנֵיהֶן חַיָּבִין בְּאַחֲרָיוּתוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לְיַד שִׁמְעוֹן כָּל חוֹבוֹ:

3

A transfer of a debt is rescinded in the following situation. Reuven owed Shimon a maneh. Shimon told Reuven: "Take the maneh that you owe me and give it to Levi." Since the three were standing together and Levi agreed, the transfer would ordinarily be binding. Nevertheless, if it is discovered that Reuven is poor and does not have the resources to pay, Levi can ask Shimon for payment of the debt, for he deceived him.

If Levi knew ' that Reuven was poor at that time or Reuven was rich at that time and became impoverished afterwards, Levi cannot demand payment from Shimon, for he accepted the transfer.

If Levi argues that Reuven was poor at the time and Shimon deceived him, and Shimon maintains that he was wealthy and later became impoverished, it appears to me that Shimon must bring proof of his claim. Only then is he freed of responsibility from the debt he owes Levi. This is no different from an instance where he has a receipt in his hand, and we tell him: "Prove the authenticity of your receipt, and then you will be freed of responsibility."

ג

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהָיָה חַיָּב לְשִׁמְעוֹן מָנֶה וְאָמַר שִׁמְעוֹן לִרְאוּבֵן מָנֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי בְּיָדְךָ תְּנֵהוּ לְלֵוִי וְהָיוּ שְׁלָשְׁתָּן עוֹמְדִין וְקִבֵּל לֵוִי וְנִמְצָא רְאוּבֵן עָנִי וְאֵין לוֹ מִמַּה שֶּׁיִּגְבֶּה מִמֶּנּוּ הֲרֵי לֵוִי חוֹזֵר בַּחוֹב שֶׁל שִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁזֶּה הִטְעָהוּ. וְאִם יָדַע לֵוִי שֶׁהוּא עָנִי אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה עָשִׁיר בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה וְהֶעֱנִי אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר שֶׁהֲרֵי קִבֵּל. טָעַן לֵוִי שֶׁהָיָה רְאוּבֵן עָנִי וְהִטְעָהוּ וְשִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר עָשִׁיר הָיָה וְהֶעֱנִי יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁעַל שִׁמְעוֹן לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִפָּטֵר מֵחוֹב לֵוִי. לֹא יִהְיֶה אֶלָּא שׁוֹבֵר בְּיָדוֹ. אוֹמְרִים לוֹ קַיֵּם שׁוֹבֶרְךָ וְהִפָּטֵר:

4

We already explained the following concept in the laws of business transactions. These laws apply when Reuven was not owed anything by Shimon, but did owe a maneh to Levi. If he told Levi to collect the debt from Shimon - even if he made that statement in the presence of the three of them -it is not binding. If Shimon does not desire to pay Levi, he need not. If, however, he does pay him, he may collect the money from Reuven, since he paid him because of his instructions.

Similarly, if Levi desires to retract and say: "I do not desire to collect the debt from Shimon," he may collect the debt from Reuven. This applies even if he collected a portion of the debt from Shimon; he may collect the remainder from Reuven.

ד

כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר שֶׁרְאוּבֵן שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה לוֹ אֵצֶל שִׁמְעוֹן כְּלוּם וְהָיָה רְאוּבֵן חַיָּב לְלֵוִי מָנֶה וְהִמְחָהוּ אֵצֶל שִׁמְעוֹן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִמְחָהוּ בְּמַעֲמַד שְׁלָשְׁתָּן לֹא קָנָה. וְאִם רָצָה שִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁלֹּא יִתֵּן לֹא יִתֵּן וְאִם נָתַן חוֹזֵר וְגוֹבֶה מֵרְאוּבֵן שֶׁהֲרֵי עַל פִּיו נָתַן. וְכֵן אִם רָצָה לֵוִי לַחְזֹר וְלוֹמַר אֵינִי רוֹצֶה לִגְבּוֹת מִשִּׁמְעוֹן חוֹזֵר וְגוֹבֶה מֵרְאוּבֵן וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּפְרָע מִקְצָת מִשִּׁמְעוֹן חוֹזֵר וְגוֹבֶה הַשְּׁאָר מֵרְאוּבֵן:

5

The following laws apply with regard to a store-keeper who would give a house-owner anything he desires on credit, postponing payment until the entire amount reaches a substantial sum, at which time he would pay him.

The employer says: "Give my workers a sela..." or "... my creditor the maneh that I owe him and I will repay you." Afterwards, the storekeeper said: "I gave the money you instructed me to give," and the worker or the creditor says: "I did not receive it." The worker or the creditor must take an oath; he may then collect the debt owed him from the employer. Similarly, the store-keeper may take an oath and collect what he claims from the employer, for he told him to pay that money.

The worker must take the oath in the presence of the storekeeper, and the storekeeper must do so in the presence of the worker or the creditor, so that they will be embarrassed by each other. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

This oath is a Rabbinical ordinance, administered while the person holds a sacred article, because both claimants are coming to collect money. Therefore, if the storekeeper dies, the creditor may collect the debt without taking an oath. Similarly, if the worker or the creditor dies, the storekeeper may collect the claim he makes without taking an oath. The rationale is that in such a situation the employer is not losing anything and is making payment only once.

ה

חֶנְוָנִי שֶׁהָיָה נוֹתֵן לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת מִן הַחֲנוּת כָּל מַה שֶּׁיִּרְצֶה בְּתוֹרַת הַלְוָאָה וּמַקִּיפוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּתְקַבֵּץ הַכּל וּפוֹרֵעַ לוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ בַּעַל הַבַּיִת תֵּן לַפּוֹעֲלִים סֶלַע אוֹ לְבַעַל חוֹבִי מָנֶה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ אֶצְלִי וַאֲנִי אֶתֵּן לְךָ וַהֲרֵי הַחֶנְוָנִי אוֹמֵר נָתַתִּי וְהַפּוֹעֵל אוֹ בַּעַל חוֹבוֹ אוֹמֵר לֹא לָקַחְתִּי הֲרֵי הַפּוֹעֵל אוֹ בַּעַל חוֹב נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל מִבַּעַל הַבַּיִת חוֹבוֹ וְכֵן הַחֶנְוָנִי נִשְׁבָּע וְנוֹטֵל מִבַּעַל הַבַּיִת מַה שֶּׁטָּעַן שֶׁנָּתַן שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אָמַר לוֹ לִתֵּן. וְהַפּוֹעֵל נִשְׁבָּע בְּמַעֲמַד הַחֶנְוָנִי וְכֵן הַחֶנְוָנִי בְּמַעֲמַד הַפּוֹעֵל אוֹ בַּעַל חוֹב כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּכָּלְמוּ זֶה מִזֶּה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וּשְׁבוּעָה זוֹ תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים הִיא בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבָּאִין שְׁנֵיהֶן לִטּל. לְפִיכָךְ אִם מֵת הַחֶנְוָנִי נוֹטֵל בַּעַל חוֹב בְּלֹא שְׁבוּעָה וְכֵן אִם מֵת פּוֹעֵל אוֹ בַּעַל חוֹב הַחֶנְוָנִי נוֹטֵל בְּלֹא שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין בַּעַל הַבַּיִת מַפְסִיד כְּלוּם וְאֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם אֶלָּא תַּשְׁלוּם אֶחָד:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.

6

When the store-keeper says: "You told me to give this person a maneh," or "You commanded me and told me, 'If so-and-so comes, give him,'" and the employer claims: "I did not tell you," the employer must take a sh'vuat hesset to support his claim. He is then freed of responsibility. The store-keeper should then lodge a suit against the person he claims to have paid.

Similarly, if a storekeeper tells an employer with whom he has a credit arrangement: "It is written in my account book that you owe me a maneh" and the employer says: "I don't know," the employer must take a sh'vuat hesset that he does not know. He is then freed of responsibility, as is the law with regard to any situation where one person lodges a claim against another. There is no Rabbinical ordinance governing such a situation.

ו

הַחֶנְוָנִי אוֹמֵר אַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ לִתֵּן לָזֶה מָנֶה אוֹ צִוִּיתָ וְאָמַרְתָּ לִי אִם יָבוֹא פְּלוֹנִי תֵּן לוֹ וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת אוֹמֵר לֹא אָמַרְתִּי לְךָ הֲרֵי בַּעַל הַבַּיִת נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת וְנִפְטָר וְהַחֶנְוָנִי עוֹשֶׂה דִּין עִם זֶה שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ. וְכֵן אִם אָמַר הַחֶנְוָנִי לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת הַמַּקִּיפוֹ כָּתוּב בְּפִנְקָסִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי אֶצְלְךָ מָנֶה וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ נִשְׁבָּע בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הֶסֵּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ וְנִפְטָר כְּדִין כָּל טוֹעֵן עַל חֲבֵרוֹ לְכָל דָּבָר וְאֵין בָּזֶה תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים:

7

When Reuven produces a promissory note that states that Shimon owes a debt to Levi, and claims that Shimon gave it to him by signing a deed acknowledging the transfer and giving it to him, but that the deed of transfer was lost, or he claims that Levi transferred the promissory note to him via the acquisition of land, he may collect the debt from Shimon. The rationale is that Reuven is in possession of the promissory note.

If Shimon claims that he paid Levi and demands that an oath be taken, Levi must take an oath to Shimon. Afterwards, Reuven may collect the debt. If Levi admits that Shimon paid him, Levi must pay Reuven. If Levi claims that he neither sold nor gave the promissory note to Reuven, Levi is required to take a sh'vuat hesset and is then freed of responsibility.

ז

רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהוֹצִיא שְׁטַר חוֹב שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְלֵוִי עַל שִׁמְעוֹן וְטָעַן שֶׁלֵּוִי נְתָנוֹ לוֹ בִּכְתִיבָה וּמְסִירָה וְאָבַד הַשְּׁטָר שֶׁהִקְנָהוּ בּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁטָּעַן שֶׁהִקְנָהוּ לוֹ עַל גַּב הַקַּרְקַע הֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹבֶה אוֹתוֹ מִשִּׁמְעוֹן הוֹאִיל וְיוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ. טָעַן שִׁמְעוֹן שֶׁפָּרַע לְלֵוִי וְאָמַר יִשָּׁבַע לִי יִשָּׁבַע לֵוִי לְשִׁמְעוֹן וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִגְבֶּה רְאוּבֵן. הוֹדָה לוֹ שֶׁפָּרַע יְשַׁלֵּם לֵוִי לִרְאוּבֵן. טָעַן לֵוִי שֶׁלֹּא מָכַר וְלֹא נָתַן שְׁטָר זֶה נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת וְנִפְטָר:

8

When a promissory note is in the hands of a third party, and he produces it in a court of law and says: "It has been paid," his word is accepted. This applies even if the authenticity of the note has been verified. The rationale is that if he had desired, he could have burned it or torn it.

Similarly, if the third party died, and a note is found in his possession stating that the promissory note entrusted to him has been paid, we consider it paid. This applies even though the note stating the debt was paid is not signed by witnesses.

When, by contrast, a note is found in the creditor's possession that a particular promissory note has been paid, even if the note stating that the debt was paid is in the creditor's handwriting, it is considered to be merely facetious.

ח

שְׁטָר שֶׁהָיָה בְּיַד שָׁלִישׁ וְהוֹצִיא מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ בְּבֵית דִּין וְאָמַר פָּרוּעַ הוּא נֶאֱמָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַשְּׁטָר מְקֻיָּם שֶׁאִלּוּ רָצָה הָיָה שׂוֹרְפוֹ אוֹ קוֹרְעוֹ. וְכֵן אִם מֵת הַשָּׁלִישׁ וְנִמְצָא כְּתָב יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יְדֵי שָׁלִישׁ שֶׁשְּׁטָר זֶה הַמֻּנָּח אֶצְלוֹ פָּרוּעַ הוּא הֲרֵי זֶה פָּרוּעַ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עֵדִים עַל הַכְּתָב. אֲבָל כְּתָב שֶׁיָּצָא מִתַּחַת יְדֵי מַלְוֶה שֶׁשְּׁטָר פְּלוֹנִי פָּרוּעַ אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה בִּכְתַב יְדֵי הַמַּלְוֶה אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא כְּמִשְׂחָק:

9

If witnesses signed the note discovered in the creditor's possession, when their signatures have been verified, the note is considered paid. If their signatures have not been verified, the witnesses who signed the receipt should be interrogated. If they do not know of the matter or if they are not present to be asked, the receipt is ignored, because it was found in the possession of the lender or his heirs.

ט

הָיוּ עֵדִים עַל הַכְּתָב אִם הָיוּ מְקֻיָּמִין הֲרֵי הַשְּׁטָר פָּרוּעַ. וְאִם אֵין עָלָיו קִיּוּם יִשְׁאֲלוּ הָעֵדִים הַחֲתוּמִין עַל זֶה הַשּׁוֹבֵר. אִם לֹא יָדְעוּ אוֹ שֶׁאֵין הָעֵדִים מְצוּיִין הוֹאִיל וּמִתַּחַת יְדֵי הַמַּלְוֶה אוֹ מִתַּחַת יְדֵי יוֹרְשָׁיו יָצָא אֵין הַשּׁוֹבֵר כְּלוּם:

10

If the promissory note mentioned in the note that was discovered was found among the promissory notes belonging to the lender that have been paid, we assume that it was paid, even if the note that was found was not signed by witnesses.

Similarly, if it is written on the promissory note itself - whether on its front or back, or even on only a portion of it - that this promissory note or a portion of it was paid, we follow those statements. This applies even though witnesses did not sign the statement, and the promissory note is in the possession of the lender. For if the promissory note had not been paid, he would not have written on the note itself.

י

נִמְצָא הַשְּׁטָר בֵּין שְׁטָרוֹת פְּרוּעִין הֲרֵי זֶה פָּרוּעַ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עֵדִים עַל הַכְּתָב הַנִּמְצָא. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצָא כָּתוּב בְּגוּפוֹ שֶׁל שְׁטָר בֵּין מִפָּנָיו בֵּין מֵאֲחוֹרָיו וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּמִקְצָתוֹ שְׁטָר זֶה פָּרוּעַ אוֹ נִפְרָע מִמֶּנּוּ כָּךְ וְכָךְ עוֹשִׂין עַל פִּי הַכְּתָב וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עַל הַכְּתָב עֵדִים וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיָּצָא מִתַּחַת יְדֵי הַמַּלְוֶה שֶׁאִלּוּ לֹא נִפְרָע לֹא הָיָה כּוֹתֵב עַל הַשְּׁטָר:

11

When a person finds a promissory note among his other legal documents and he does not know its status, it should remain in his possession until Eliyahu comes.

יא

הַמּוֹצֵא שְׁטָר בֵּין שִׁטְרוֹתָיו וְאֵין יוֹדֵעַ מַה טִּיבוֹ יִהְיֶה מֻנָּח עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ:

12

When a person tells his sons: "One of the promissory notes among my promissory notes has been paid and I don't know which one it is," all of the promissory notes are considered paid. If there are two promissory notes from one person, the greater one is considered paid and the lesser one is considered unpaid.

If a person tells a colleague: "One of your promissory notes in my possession has been paid," the greater one is considered to be paid and the lesser one is considered to be unpaid. If he tells him: "The debt you owe me has been paid," all of the promissory notes he has against him are considered paid.

יב

הָאוֹמֵר לְבָנָיו שְׁטָר בֵּין שִׁטְרוֹתַי פָּרוּעַ וְאֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ אֵיזֶה הוּא שִׁטְרוֹתָיו כֻּלָּן פְּרוּעִין. נִמְצָא לְאֶחָד שָׁם שְׁנֵי שְׁטָרוֹת הַגָּדוֹל פָּרוּעַ וְהַקָּטָן אֵינוֹ פָּרוּעַ. אָמַר לַחֲבֵרוֹ שְׁטָר לְךָ בְּיָדִי פָּרוּעַ הַגָּדוֹל פָּרוּעַ וְהַקָּטָן אֵינוֹ פָּרוּעַ. חוֹב לְךָ בְּיָדִי פָּרוּעַ כָּל שְׁטָרוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ עָלָיו כֻּלָּן פְּרוּעִין: