The following rules apply when brothers or partners come to divide a field, with each taking a portion. If the field was all of equal value, without one place being better and another worse, but instead it was all the same, the field is divided by measure. If one of the partners said: "Give me my portion on this side so that it will be close to another field which I own, so that they will be one large field," his request is heeded, and we compel the other partner to grant him this privilege. For holding back in such a situation would be a reflection of the traits of Sodom.

If, however, one portion was of a higher quality than the other, closer to a river or to a path, and the two portions were evaluated, the good being made equivalent to the bad, and one of the partners asked that he be granted a portion on a particular side, we do not heed his request. Instead, they receive their portions by lot.

If one said to them: "Give me only half the measure of the entire property although I am being given from the lower quality portion without the field being evaluated, and you can receive the half of higher quality, so that my portion will be closer to my field," some Geonim ruled that his request is heeded. My conception also leans toward this conclusion. It is appropriate to rule in this manner.


הָאַחִין אוֹ הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁבָּאוּ לַחֲלֹק אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה וְלִטּל כָּל אֶחָד חֶלְקוֹ. אִם הָיְתָה כֻּלָּהּ שָׁוָה וְאֵין שָׁם מָקוֹם טוֹב וּמָקוֹם רַע אֶלָּא הַכּל אֶחָד חוֹלְקִין לְפִי הַמִּדָּה בִּלְבַד. וְאִם אָמַר אֶחָד מֵהֶם תְּנוּ לִי חֶלְקִי מִצַּד זֶה כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא סָמוּךְ לְשָׂדֶה אַחֵר שֶׁלִּי וְיִהְיֶה הַכּל שָׂדֶה אַחַת שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ וְכוֹפֶה אוֹתוֹ עַל זֶה שֶׁעִכּוּב בְּדָבָר זֶה מִדַּת סְדוֹם הִיא. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה חֵלֶק אֶחָד מִמֶּנָּה טוֹב אוֹ קָרוֹב לַנָּהָר יוֹתֵר אוֹ קָרוֹב לַדֶּרֶךְ וְשָׁמוּ אוֹתָהּ הַיָּפֶה כְּנֶגֶד הָרַע וְאָמַר תְּנוּ לִי בְּשׁוּמָא שֶׁלִּי מִצַּד זֶה אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ אֶלָּא נוֹטֵל בְּגוֹרָל. אָמַר לָהֶם תְּנוּ לִי (בְּשׁוּמָא שֶׁלִּי מִצַּד זֶה) חֲצִי מִדָּתָהּ מִן הַצַּד הָרַע בְּלֹא שׁוּמָא וְטל אַתָּה מִן הַצַּד הַטּוֹב כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה חֶלְקִי סָמוּךְ לַשָּׂדֶה שֶׁלִּי. הוֹרוּ מִקְצָת הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁשּׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. וְלָזֶה דַּעְתִּי נוֹטָה וְכֵן רָאוּי לָדוּן:


When a firstborn participates in the division of a property, he is granted both his shares together. When, however, a yevam divides his father's estate together with his brothers, he is allotted both his portion and his brother's portion by lottery. If he is allotted both of these portions together, this is his allotment. And if he is allotted them in separate places, that is his allotment.


הַבְּכוֹר שֶׁחָלַק נוֹטֵל שְׁנֵי חֲלָקִים שֶׁלּוֹ כְּאֶחָד. אֲבָל הַיָּבָם שֶׁחָלַק עִם אֶחָיו בְּנִכְסֵי הָאָב נוֹטֵל חֶלְקוֹ וְחֵלֶק אֶחָיו בְּגוֹרָל. אִם עָלוּ בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד עָלוּ וְאִם עָלוּ בִּשְׁתֵּי מְקוֹמוֹת עָלוּ:


When a property is surrounded by a river on its east and north sides and by a path on its south and west sides, it is divided on a diagonal. In this way, each person receives access to a river and a path. If one of the partners requested: "Give me my portion on this side, because it is next to my field, his request is heeded. The general principle is: Whenever there is a matter which provides benefit to one party, but does not cause a colleague a loss at all, we compel the colleague to comply.


אֶרֶץ מְרֻבַּעַת שֶׁהָיָה הַנָּהָר מַקִּיף לָהּ מִזְרָח וְצָפוֹן וְהַדֶּרֶךְ דָּרוֹם וּמַעֲרָב חוֹלְקִין אוֹתָהּ בַּאֲלַכְסוֹן כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לָזֶה נָהָר וְדֶרֶךְ וְלָזֶה נָהָר וְדֶרֶךְ. וְאִם אָמַר תְּנוּ לִי הַחֵצִי שֶׁמִּצַּד זֶה שֶׁהוּא בְּצַד שָׂדִי שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁהוּא טוֹב לָזֶה וְאֵין עַל חֲבֵרוֹ הֶפְסֵד כְּלָל כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת:


When one of a group of brothers or partners sells his portion to another individual, the other brothers or partners may remove that individual from his purchase. They must pay him the price he paid, but he must depart. This privilege was granted to prevent a foreign party from entering among them.


אֶחָד מִן הָאַחִין אוֹ מִן הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁמָּכַר חֶלְקוֹ לְאַחֵר מְסַלְּקִין אֶת הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְנוֹתְנִין לוֹ שְׁאָר הָאַחִין אוֹ שְׁאָר הַשֻּׁתָּפִין דָּמִים שֶׁנָּתַן וְהוֹלֵךְ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִכָּנֵס זָר בֵּינֵיהֶן:


This is not the limit of this principle. Even when a person sells property which he owns to another person, his colleague, the owner of the property neighboring his, has the right to pay the purchase price to the buyer and remove him from his purchase. The purchaser who comes from afar is considered as the agent of the neighbor.

This applies whether the original owner's agent conducted the sale, or whether the property was sold by the court, the privilege of a neighbor is granted. Even if the purchaser was a Torah scholar, a non-immediate neighbor, and a relative of the seller, while the neighbor was an unlearned person with no family connections to the seller, the neighbor receives priority and may remove the purchaser.

This practice stems from the charge Deuteronomy 6:18: "And you shall do what is just and good." Our Sages said: "Since the sale is fundamentally the same, it is 'just and good,' that the property should be acquired by the neighbor, instead of the person living further away."

If there are many neighbors, all have a right to acquire the property which was sold. It is divided among them equally, according to their number, and they all must reimburse the buyer for the purchase price.

This applies provided they all come at the same time. If, however, one comes and purchases the property from the buyer, he alone acquires it, for he is a neighbor. Similarly, if some of the neighbors come and purchase it and others are in a distant country, those who are present are entitled to purchase it and it becomes theirs.

Similarly, if a person sells a property to one neighbor or one of his business partners, even if he is not a partner in the ownership of landed property, that person acquires it. The other partners or neighbors do not have the right to acquire it together with him.


וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא הַמּוֹכֵר קַרְקַע שֶׁלּוֹ לְאַחֵר יֵשׁ לַחֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁהוּא בְּצַד הַמֵּצַר שֶׁלּוֹ לִתֵּן דָּמִים לַלּוֹקֵחַ וּלְסַלֵּק אוֹתוֹ וְזֶה הַלּוֹקֵחַ הָרָחוֹק כְּאִלּוּ הוּא שָׁלִיחַ שֶׁל בֶּן הַמֵּצַר. בֵּין שֶׁמָּכַר הוּא בֵּין שֶׁמָּכַר שְׁלוּחוֹ בֵּין שֶׁמָּכְרוּ בֵּית דִּין יֵשׁ בּוֹ דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ תַּלְמִיד חָכָם וְשָׁכֵן וְקָרוֹב לַמּוֹכֵר וּבֶן הַמֵּצַר עַם הָאָרֶץ רָחוֹק בֶּן הַמֵּצַר קוֹדֵם וּמְסַלֵּק אֶת הַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְדָבָר זֶה מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ו יח) "וְעָשִׂיתָ הַיָּשָׁר וְהַטּוֹב" אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הוֹאִיל וְהַמֶּכֶר אֶחָד הוּא טוֹב וְיָשָׁר הוּא שֶׁיִּקְנֶה מָקוֹם זֶה בֶּן הַמֵּצַר יוֹתֵר מִן הָרָחוֹק. הָיוּ בְּנֵי הַמֵּצַר רַבִּים כֻּלָּם זוֹכִים בְּזוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה הַנִּמְכֶּרֶת וְהִיא בֵּינֵיהֶם לְפִי מִנְיָנָם וְנוֹתְנִין מִן הַדָּמִים לַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְהוּא שֶׁבָּאוּ כֻּלָּם בְּפַעַם אַחַת. אֲבָל אִם קָדַם אֶחָד מֵהֶן וְסִלֵּק אֶת הַלּוֹקֵחַ זָכָה בָּהּ לְבַדּוֹ הוֹאִיל וְהוּא בֶּן הַמֵּצַר. וְכֵן אִם בָּאוּ מִקְצָתָן וּמִקְצָתָן בִּמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת מְסַלְּקִין אוֹתוֹ אֵלּוּ הָעוֹמְדִים כָּאן בִּלְבַד וְהִיא לָהֶן. וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר לְאֶחָד מִבְּנֵי הַמֵּצַר אוֹ לְאֶחָד מִן הַשֻּׁתָּפִין שֶׁלּוֹ בְּמַשָּׂא וּמַתָּן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֻׁתָּפוֹ בַּקַּרְקַע זָכָה בָּהּ. וְאֵין שְׁאָר הַשֻּׁתָּפִין אוֹ שְׁאָר בְּנֵי הַמֵּצַר נוֹטְלִין עִמּוֹ:

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.


When a person sells all his properties to one person, a person whose property borders on one of the fields that were sold does not have the right to displace the purchaser from that field, for he purchased it and the other fields at once.

Similarly, when a person sells a field to its original owners, or when one purchases it from a gentile, the neighbor is not given the right to purchase it.


הַמּוֹכֵר כָּל נְכָסָיו לְאֶחָד אֵין בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר שֶׁל שָׂדֶה אַחַת מְסַלֵּק אֶת הַלּוֹקֵחַ מֵאוֹתָהּ הַשָּׂדֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא וְהָאַחֶרֶת קָנָה כְּאֶחָד. וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר לַבְּעָלִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים אוֹ הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵין בּוֹ דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר:


When a person sells property to a gentile, the seller is placed under a ban of ostracism until he accepts responsibility for any loss that the gentile might cause his neighbors and the gentile agrees to conduct himself in relation to his neighbors according to Jewish law in all matters. If the gentile compels a neighbor to accept a loss for which he would not be responsible according to Jewish law, the seller is compelled to make restitution.


הַמּוֹכֵר לָעַכּוּ''ם מְשַׁמְּתִין אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל עָלָיו כָּל אֹנֶס שֶׁיָּבוֹא מִן הָעַכּוּ''ם עַד שֶׁיִּנְהֹג הָעַכּוּ''ם עִם בֶּן הַמֵּצַר שֶׁלּוֹ בְּדִינֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּכּל. וְאִם אֲנָסוֹ שֶׁלֹּא כְּדִין יִשְׂרָאֵל מְשַׁלֵּם הַמּוֹכֵר:


The rights of a neighbor do not apply with regard to the rental of property.


הַשְּׂכִירוּת אֵין בָּהּ מִשּׁוּם דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר:


When a person designates a property as security, and afterwards sells it to the person to whom he had designated it as security, the neighbors are not given the right to displace the purchaser.

Similarly, the neighbors are not given the right to displace the purchaser when a person sells a property because it is located far from him in order to purchase another that is located closer, when the seller sold a less valuable property in order to use the proceeds of the sale to purchase a more valuable one, when he sold a property to pay his taxes to the king, or when a property was sold to pay for burial expenses or the support of the owner's widow or daughters. Instead, the purchaser acquires the property.


הַמְמַשְׁכֵּן מָקוֹם וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְכָרוֹ לָזֶה שֶׁהוּא מְמֻשְׁכָּן בְּיָדוֹ אֵין בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר. וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר מָקוֹם רָחוֹק כְּדֵי לִגְאל מָקוֹם קָרוֹב. אוֹ שֶׁמָּכַר רַע כְּדֵי לִגְאל יָפֶה בְּדָמָיו. אוֹ שֶׁמָּכַר כְּדֵי לִתֵּן מְנַת הַמֶּלֶךְ. אוֹ שֶׁמָּכַר לִקְבוּרָה אוֹ לִמְזוֹן הָאִשָּׁה אוֹ הַבָּנוֹת אֵין בְּאֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר אֶלָּא זָכָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ.


Why are the neighbors not given the right to displace the purchaser? For in all these situations, the seller is very anxious to sell the property, and he is selling it because of a dire need. If the neighbors were given the right to displace the purchaser, no one would ever be willing to purchase property. For the purchaser will say; "Why should I trouble myself to purchase this property? So that the neighbor will come and displace me? " And the seller will not be able to wait until the neighbor brings money and purchases it.


(י) וְלָמָּה אֵין בָּהֶן דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר. שֶׁכָּל אֵלּוּ טְרוּדִין הֵן לִמְכֹּר וּמִשּׁוּם צֹרֶךְ גָּדוֹל מוֹכְרִין וְאִם תֹּאמַר יֵשׁ בָּהֶן דִּין בֶּן הַמֵּצַר לֹא יִמְצְאוּ לוֹקֵחַ שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר לָמָּה אֶטְרַח וְאֶקַּח כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבוֹא זֶה וִיסַלֵּק אוֹתִי וְאֵין הַבְּעָלִים יְכוֹלִין לְהַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר מָעוֹת וְיִקְנֶה:


The following rules apply when the purchaser claims that the seller sold the property to him because he was pressed for funds to pay a tax or the like, and the neighbor claims that he is lying and fabricating a story in order to nullify his right. The neighbor is responsible for proving his claim. Only then can he expropriate the property from the purchaser. If the neighbor does not prove his claim, the purchaser must support his claim with a sh'vuat hesset.


הֲרֵי שֶׁטָּעַן הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאָמַר מִפְּנֵי הַמַּס וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ מָכַר לוֹ הַמּוֹכֵר וּבַעַל הַמֵּצַר אוֹמֵר שֶׁקֶר אַתָּה טוֹעֵן לְבַטֵּל זְכוּתִי. עַל בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יוֹצִיא מִיַּד הַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה יִשָּׁבַע הַלּוֹקֵחַ הֶסֵּת:


Even if the purchaser does not have a definite claim concerning the matter, the purchaser cannot be compelled to relinquish his purchase unless the neighbor brings clear-cut proof. Therefore, if the purchaser claims "You have stolen the field that you claim to be your own," "You are merely a sharecropper," "a renter," or "received it as security," the neighbor must prove that he is a neighbor and that he has established his claim to the property he alleges to own. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם בַּדָּבָר סָפֵק אֵין הַלּוֹקֵחַ מִסְתַּלֵּק אֶלָּא בִּרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה שֶׁהֵבִיא בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם טָעַן הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאָמַר גַּזְלָן אַתָּה לְשָׂדֶה זוֹ אָרִיס אַתָּה לְשָׂדֶה זוֹ אוֹ שׂוֹכֵר אוֹ מְמַשְׁכֵּן צָרִיךְ בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר וְשֶׁהַקַּרְקַע זוֹ בְּחֶזְקָתוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


When a person sells property to orphans below the age of majority, the neighbor is not given the right to displace the purchaser. For "goodness and justice" is to act generously toward such individuals more than a neighbor.


הַמּוֹכֵר לִיתוֹמִים קְטַנִּים אֵין בּוֹ דִּין בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר. הַטּוֹב וְהַיָּשָׁר שֶׁעוֹשִׂין חֶסֶד עִם אֵלּוּ יָתֵר מִבַּעַל הַמֵּצַר:


Similarly, when a person sells property to a woman, the neighbor is not given the right to displace the purchaser. The rationale is that it is not customary for women to trouble themselves frequently to purchase property. Hence, since a woman did make such an effort, and purchased property, it is an act of kindness to allow her to retain ownership of it.


וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר לְאִשָּׁה אֵין בּוֹ דִּין בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכָּהּ לִטְרֹחַ תָּמִיד וְלִקְנוֹת הוֹאִיל וְלָקְחָה חֶסֶד הוּא שֶׁתַּעֲמֹד הַקַּרְקַע בְּיָדָהּ:


If property was sold to a tumtum and an androgynous, a neighbor is given the right to displace them, because there is a doubt [regarding their halachic status. Possibly, they may be considered as] a woman.


מָכַר לְטֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס בַּעַל הַמֵּצַר יָכוֹל לְסַלְּקָן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן סָפֵק אִשָּׁה:


The following laws apply when the land of a property is owned by one individual and the building or the trees situated upon it is owned by another. If the owner of the building or the trees has privileges with regard to the land, each of them is considered to be the other's neighbor. Therefore, if either of them sold his portion, his colleague has the right to displace the purchaser.

Different rules apply when, by contrast, the owner of the trees or the building does not have any right to the land, and whenever he desires the owner of the land may tell the owner of the trees or the building: "Uproot your trees," or "Destroy your building." If the owner of the field sells his property, the purchaser acquires his purchase. Neither the owner of the trees nor the owner of the building has the right to displace him. If the owner of the trees or the owner of the building sells his possession, the owner of the land has the right to displace him.


הָיְתָה הַקַּרְקַע שֶׁל אֶחָד מֵהֶן וְהַבִּנְיָן אוֹ הָאִילָנוֹת שֶׁל אֶחָד אִם יֵשׁ לְבַעַל הַבִּנְיָן אוֹ לְבַעַל הָאִילָנוֹת זְכוּת בַּקַּרְקַע כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן בֶּן הַמֵּצַר שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם מָכַר אֶחָד מֵהֶן חֶלְקוֹ חֲבֵרוֹ מְסַלֵּק הַלּוֹקֵחַ. אֲבָל אִם אֵין לְבַעַל הָאִילָנוֹת אוֹ לְבַעַל הַבִּנְיָן זְכוּת בַּקַּרְקַע אֶלָּא כָּל זְמַן שֶׁיִּרְצֶה אוֹמֵר לוֹ עֲקֹר אִילָנְךָ אוֹ הֲרֹס בִּנְיָנְךָ וּמָכַר בַּעַל הַשָּׂדֶה זָכָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאֵין בַּעַל הָאִילָנוֹת אוֹ בַּעַל הַבִּנְיָן מְסַלֵּק אוֹתוֹ. וְאִם מָכַר בַּעַל הַבִּנְיָן אוֹ בַּעַל הָאִילָן הֲרֵי בַּעַל הַקַּרְקַע מְסַלֵּק אוֹתוֹ:


The following rules serve as guidelines when a row of date palms, a tall and sturdy building, a ditch, or the like separate between a person's property and the property border of a colleague: We see if it is possible to plant even one row of produce within the intervening entity, so that the two fields would be joined. If so, he is considered a neighbor, and he has the right to displace the purchaser. If not, he may not displace the purchaser.


הָיָה מַפְסִיק בֵּינוֹ וּבֵין מֵצַר שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ רְכַב דְּקָלִים אוֹ בִּנְיָן גָּבוֹהַּ וְחָזָק אוֹ גּוּמָא וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן רוֹאִין אִם יָכוֹל לְהַכְנִיס אֲפִלּוּ תֶּלֶם אֶחָד בְּתוֹךְ הַדָּבָר הַמַּפְסִיק עַד שֶׁיִּתְעָרְבוּ שְׁתֵּי הַשָּׂדוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה בֶּן מֵצַר שֶׁלּוֹ וּמְסַלֵּק הַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְאִם לָאו אֵינוֹ מְסַלֵּק הַלּוֹקֵחַ: