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: