In the name of the Lord, the God of the world.
The beginning of wisdom [is to] acquire wisdom, and with all your possession acquire understanding.

The twelfth book which is The Book of of Acquisition

It contains five sets of Halachot and this is their order:

The Laws of Mechirah
The Laws of Zechiyah UMatanah
The Laws of Sh'chenim
The Laws of Sh'luchin V'Shutafin
The Laws of Avadim

Introduction to Hilchos Mechirah

These laws contain five mitzvot: one positive mitzvah and four negative mitzvot. They are:

1) The laws of buying and selling;
2) Not to cheat when buying and selling;
3) Not to cause discomfort through words;
4) Not to cheat a convert financially;
5) Not to cause a convert discomfort through words.

These mitzvot are explained in the chapters that follow.

בְּשֵׁם יי אֵל עוֹלָם (בראשית כא לג)
רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה קְנֵה חָכְמָה, וּבְכָל קִנְיָנְךָ קְנֵה בִינָה (משלי ד ז)

ספר שנים עשר והוא ספר קנין

הלכותיו חמש, וזה הוא סידורן:

מכירה
הלכות זכייה ומתנה
הלכות שכנים
הלכות שלוחין ושותפין
הלכות עבדים הלכות מכירה - הקדמה הלכות מכירה יש בכללן חמש מצות אחת מצות עשה וארבע מצות לא תעשה וזה הוא פרטן: א) דין מקח וממכר.
ב) שלא יונה במקח וממכר.
ג) שלא יונה בדברים.
ד) שלא יונה גר צדק בממונו.
ה) שלא יונהו בדברים. וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

An article is not acquired merely through a verbal agreement. This applies even when witnesses testify that the principals have reached an agreement.

What is implied? A person says: "I am selling you this house," "I am selling you this wine," or "I am selling you this servant," and a price is fixed. The purchaser agrees and says: "I have purchased it," the seller says: "I have sold it," and they tell witnesses: "Serve as witnesses that so and so has sold and so and so has purchased", their words are of no consequence. It is as if they had never spoken to each other at all. The same applies with regard to a person who gives a gift and its recipient.

א

הַמִּקָח אֵינוֹ נִקְנֶה בִּדְבָרִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ הֵעִידוּ עֲלֵיהֶם עֵדִים. כֵּיצַד. בַּיִת זֶה אֲנִי מוֹכֵר לְךָ. יַיִן זֶה אֲנִי מוֹכֵר לְךָ. עֶבֶד זֶה אֲנִי מוֹכֵר לְךָ. וּפָסְקוּ הַדָּמִים וְרָצָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאָמַר קָנִיתִי. וְרָצָה הַמּוֹכֵר וְאָמַר מָכַרְתִּי. וְאָמְרוּ לָעֵדִים הֱווּ עָלֵינוּ עֵדִים שֶׁמָּכַר זֶה וְשֶׁלָּקַח זֶה. הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ כְּלוּם וּכְאִלּוּ לֹא הָיוּ בֵּינֵיהֶם דְּבָרִים מֵעוֹלָם. וְכֵן בְּנוֹתֵן מַתָּנָה וּמְקַבְּלָהּ:

2

If, however, the purchase is completed through one of the media by which property is transferred, the purchaser acquires the object. There is no need for witnesses; neither the seller or the purchaser may retract.

ב

אֲבָל אִם נִקְנָה הַמִּקָּח בְּאֶחָד מֵהַדְּבָרִים שֶׁהוּא נִקְנֶה בָּהֶם קָנָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאֵינָן צְרִיכִין לְעֵדִים כְּלָל וְאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶן יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ:

3

How is an acquisition made? Landed property can be acquired in one of three ways: a) through the transfer of money, b) through the transfer of a deed of sale, or c) through chazakah (manifesting one's ownership).

ג

וּבְמָה יִקָּנֶה הַמִּקָּח. הַקַּרְקָעוֹת בְּאֶחָד מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה דְּבָרִים. בְּכֶסֶף. אוֹ בִּשְׁטָר. אוֹ בַּחֲזָקָה:

4

How is property acquired through the transfer of money? If one person sold another person a house or a field, and the purchaser gave him the money agreed upon, he acquires it. When does the above apply? In a place where it is not customary to write a deed of sale. In a place where it is customary to write a deed of sale, however, the purchaser does not acquire the property until a deed is composed.

Landed property cannot be acquired for less than a p'rutah's worth.

ד

כֵּיצַד בְּכֶסֶף. מָכַר לוֹ בַּיִת מָכַר לוֹ שָׂדֶה וְנָתַן לוֹ הַדָּמִים קָנָה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין כּוֹתְבִין אֶת הַשְּׁטָר. אֲבָל בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁדַּרְכָּן לִכְתֹּב שְׁטַר מֶכֶר לֹא קָנָה עַד שֶׁיִּכְתֹּב אֶת הַשְּׁטָר. וְאֵין קַרְקַע נִקְנֵית בְּפָחוֹת מִשְּׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה:

5

If the purchaser makes the following stipulation: "If I desire, I will acquire it through the transfer of money, or if I desire I will acquire it through the transfer of a deed of sale," and gives money on the basis of this stipulation, it is established as a binding condition. Once the money has been paid, the seller cannot retract, because of the stipulation. The purchaser can, however, retract until the deed of sale is written.

Similar laws apply if the seller makes such a condition.

ה

הִתְנָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאָמַר אִם רָצִיתִי אֶקְנֶה בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ אֶקְנֶה בִּשְׁטָר. וְנָתַן הַכֶּסֶף עַל תְּנַאי זֶה. הֲרֵי זֶה קַיָּם וְאֵין הַמּוֹכֵר יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַתְּנַאי. וְהַלּוֹקֵחַ יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּכְתֹּב אֶת הַשְּׁטָר. וְכֵן אִם הִתְנָה הַמּוֹכֵר כָּזֶה:

6

When a person tells a colleague: "Give so and so a maneh and you will acquire my house," once the colleague makes the payment, he acquires the house. This is an extension of the laws applying to a guarantor.

ו

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ תֵּן מָנֶה לִפְלוֹנִי וְיִקָּנֶה בֵּיתִי לְךָ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּתַן קָנָה הַבַּיִת מִדִּין עָרֵב:

7

How is property acquired through the transfer of a deed of sale? The seller writes for the purchaser on a piece of paper, on a shard or on a leaf. "My field is given to you," or "My field is sold to you." Once the deed reaches the purchaser's hand, he acquires the field, even though there are no witnesses at all, and despite the fact that the document itself is of no financial value. When does the above apply? When a person sells his field because it is undesirable. With regard to other landed property, by contrast, even though the deed of sale reaches the purchaser's hand and is signed by witnesses, the purchaser does not acquire the property until he pays its price.

ז

כֵּיצַד בִּשְׁטָר. כָּתַב לוֹ עַל הַנְּיָר אוֹ עַל הַחֶרֶס אוֹ עַל הֶעָלֶה שָׂדִי נְתוּנָה לְךָ שָׂדִי מְכוּרָה לְךָ כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ הַשְּׁטָר לְיָדוֹ קָנָה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם עֵדִים כְּלָל. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין הַשְּׁטָר שָׁוֶה כְּלוּם. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּמוֹכֵר שָׂדֶה מִפְּנֵי רָעָתָהּ. אֲבָל בִּשְׁאָר קַרְקָעוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִגִּיעַ שְׁטָר שֶׁל מֶכֶר לְיָדוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ בּוֹ עֵדִים לֹא קָנָה עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן אֶת הַדָּמִים:

8

How is property acquired through the manifestation of ownership? If a person sold a colleague a house or a field or gave him such properties as a gift, the purchaser or the recipient acquires the property when he locks the entrance to the property, encloses the property with even the slightest portion of a fence or breaks through even the slightest portion of one of the walls surrounding the property, provided his deeds bring him benefit.

When does the above apply? When the person manifests his ownership in the presence of the seller or the one who gives the gift. If, however, he does so outside the presence of the seller or the one who gives the gift, the seller or the giver must tell him: "Go, manifest possession over it and acquire it." If this statement is made, and afterwards the purchaser or the recipient manifests possession, he acquires the property even if he acts outside the presence of the previous owner.

ח

כֵּיצַד בַּחֲזָקָה. מָכַר לוֹ בַּיִת מָכַר לוֹ שָׂדֶה אוֹ שֶׁנָּתַן אוֹתָהּ בְּמַתָּנָה כֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּעַל אוֹ גָּדַר אוֹ פָּרַץ כָּל שֶׁהוּא וְהוּא שֶׁיּוֹעִיל בְּמַעֲשָׂיו הֲרֵי זֶה קָנָה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהֶחֱזִיק בִּפְנֵי הַמּוֹכֵר אוֹ הַנּוֹתֵן. אֲבָל שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַמּוֹכֵר אוֹ הַנּוֹתֵן צָרִיךְ שֶׁיֹּאמַר לוֹ לֵךְ חַזֵּק וּקְנֵה וְאַחַר כָּךְ אִם הֶחֱזִיק קָנָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ בִּפְנֵי הַבְּעָלִים:

9

When a person sells a house to a colleague and gives him the key, it is as if he told him: "Go, manifest possession over it and acquire it." Similarly, if a person sells a colleague a cistern, once he gives him its bucket it is as if he told him: "Go, manifest possession over it and acquire it." When he manifests his possession, he acquires it.

ט

הַמּוֹכֵר בַּיִת לַחֲבֵרוֹ וּמָסַר לוֹ אֶת הַמַּפְתֵּחַ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ לֵךְ חַזֵּק וּקְנֵה. וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר אֶת הַבּוֹר כֵּיוָן שֶׁמָּסַר לוֹ דִּלְיוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ לֵךְ חַזֵּק וּקְנֵה, וּכְשֶׁהֶחֱזִיק יִקְנֶה:

10

What is meant by saying that one who locks a property acquires it? For example, when a person sells a house or a courtyard whose entrance was open, and the purchaser locked the entrance and then opened it; the purchaser is considered to have acquired it, for he used it in a way that brings benefit.'

י

כֵּיצַד הַמַּחֲזִיק בִּנְעִילָה קָנָה. כְּגוֹן שֶׁמָּכַר בַּיִת אוֹ חָצֵר וְהָיָה הַפֶּתַח פָּתוּחַ וְנָעַל הַלּוֹקֵחַ אֶת הַפֶּתַח וְחָזַר וּפְתָחוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה הֶחֱזִיק וְקָנָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי נִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהּ שִׁמּוּשׁ הַמּוֹעִיל:

11

What is meant by saying that one who encloses the property with even the slightest portion of a fence acquires it? For example, there was a fence that people could climb over easily, and the purchaser added a small portion to its height, making it ten handbreadths high thus causing it to be difficult to climb over. His deeds are of benefit and he acquires the property.

Similarly, if there was an opening in the fence that allowed people to enter only with difficulty, and the purchaser widened it even slightly, allowing people to enter easily, his deeds are of benefit and he acquires the property.

יא

כֵּיצַד הַמַּחֲזִיק בִּגְדִירָה כָּל שֶׁהוּא קָנָה. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיָה שָׁם גָּדֵר וְהָיוּ עוֹלִין בְּנַחַת. וְהוֹסִיף עָלָיו כָּל שֶׁהוּא וְהִשְׁלִימוֹ לַעֲשָׂרָה וְנִמְצָא שֶׁאֵין עוֹלִין אֶלָּא בְּדֹחַק. הֲרֵי זֶה הוֹעִיל וְקָנָה. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה שָׁם פִּרְצָה וְהָיוּ נִכְנָסִים בָּהּ בְּדֹחַק וְהִרְחִיב הוּא בָּהּ כָּל שֶׁהוּא עַד שֶׁנִּמְצָא נִכְנַס בְּרֶוַח. הֲרֵי הוֹעִיל וְקָנָה:

12

If the purchaser placed down a rock in a way that causes benefit - e.g., he completed an irrigation channel that brought water to the field - or he removed a rock in a way that causes benefit - e.g., he opened a dammed irrigation ditch and let water flow into the field - he acquires it. The same applies in all analogous situations.

יב

נָתַן צְרוֹר וְהוֹעִיל. כְּגוֹן שֶׁחִבֵּר בּוֹ הַמַּיִם לַשָּׂדֶה. אוֹ נָטַל צְרוֹר וְהוֹעִיל כְּגוֹן שֶׁפָּתַח בִּנְטִילָתוֹ הַמַּיִם לַשָּׂדֶה. הֲרֵי זֶה קָנָה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

13

The following rules apply when a person sells a colleague a field that is located next to one of that colleague's fields, or gives him such a field as a gift. Once the colleague breaks down the partition that separates the two fields from each other and makes them one large field, he acquires it.

If, however, he merely walks the length and breadth of the new property, this walking serves no benefit and it therefore does not serve as a manifestation of his ownership. When he sells him a path for vineyards, however, the purchaser does acquire it by walking, for that is its purpose.

יג

הַמּוֹכֵר שָׂדֶה לַחֲבֵרוֹ בְּצַד שָׂדֵהוּ. אוֹ שֶׁנְּתָנָהּ לוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה. כֵּיוָן שֶׁדָּשׁ אֶת הַמֵּצַר שֶׁבֵּין שְׁתֵּי הַשָּׂדוֹת וְנַעֲשׂוּ שְׁתֵּיהֶן כְּשָׂדֶה אַחַת קָנָה. אֲבָל אִם הָלַךְ בָּהּ לְאָרְכָּהּ וּלְרָחְבָּהּ אֵין הִלּוּךְ זֶה מוֹעִיל כְּלוּם. וְאִם שְׁבִיל שֶׁל כְּרָמִים מָכַר לוֹ הוֹאִיל וְנַעֲשָׂה לְהִלּוּךְ קָנָה בְּהִלּוּךְ:

14

How wide is the path that a person acquires by walking? If it is defined by barriers, he acquires an area at least large enough to enable him to lift one foot up and place the other next to it. If it is not defined by barriers, he acquires a width sufficient to allow him to walk carrying a package of twigs on his head and turn around with it.

יד

וְכַמָּה שִׁעוּר רֹחַב הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁיִּקְנֶה בְּהִלּוּכוֹ. אִם הָיָה מְסֻיָּם בִּמְחִצּוֹת קָנָה כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּגְבִּיהַּ רֶגֶל וְיַנִּיחַ רֶגֶל בְּצִדָּהּ. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם מְחִצּוֹת קָנָה בָּרֹחַב כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה עַל רֹאשׁוֹ חֲבִילָה שֶׁל שָׂרִיגִים וְיָסֹב בָּהּ:

15

If the property being sold is a rocky patch that cannot be enclosed with a fence and an entrance, nor can it be sowed, the way in which a person manifests his ownership and acquires it is to spread produce upon it, to have an animal stand there, or to use it in another way.

טו

הָיְתָה הַקַּרְקַע צְחִיחַ סֶלַע שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ לֹא גָּדֵר וְלֹא פִּרְצָה. וְאֵינָהּ בַּת זְרִיעָה. הֲרֵי הַחֲזָקָה שֶׁקּוֹנָה אוֹתָהּ שְׁטִיחַת פֵּרוֹת אוֹ הַעֲמָדַת בְּהֵמָה שָׁם וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה מִשְּׁאָר הַתַּשְׁמִישׁ:

16

When a person sells a field to a colleague, and the colleague enters and sows it, plows it and leaves it fallow, collects its produce, prunes it or the like, he acquires it, for he has manifested his ownership. Neither of them may retract.

Similarly, if the seller collects a basket of produce and gives it to the purchaser, the purchaser acquires the field. This is considered manifestation of ownership, for the seller revealed his intent of transferring ownership of the field to the purchaser in an outright way, so that its produce would be his.

טז

הַמּוֹכֵר שָׂדֶה לַחֲבֵרוֹ וְנִכְנַס בָּהּ הַלּוֹקֵחַ וּזְרָעָהּ אוֹ נָרָהּ. אוֹ שֶׁאָסַף פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן אוֹ זְמָרוֹ וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה קָנָה שֶׁהֲרֵי הֶחֱזִיק. וְאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶן יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ. וְכֵן אִם אָסַף הַמּוֹכֵר סַל שֶׁל פֵּרוֹת וְנָתַן לַלּוֹקֵחַ. קָנָה לוֹקֵחַ מִיָּד בַּחֲזָקָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי גִּלָּה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁהִקְנָה לוֹ שָׂדֶה זוֹ קִנְיָן גָּמוּר וְנַעֲשׂוּ פֵּרוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁלּוֹ:

17

A gentile cannot acquire property by manifesting his ownership over it. He can acquire a property only through the transfer of a legal documentafter money has been paid. A Jew who comes on account of a gentile is considered like a gentile and can acquire property only through the transfer of a legal document.

Any entity that is attached to landed property is considered like landed property and can be acquired through the transfer of money, the transfer of a deed of sale or through chazakah.

If, however, the produce no longer needs the nurture of the land - e.g., grapes that are ready to be picked - it is considered movable property with regard to the laws of acquisition. And like movable property, the laws of deception apply with regard to their sale.

יז

הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵינוֹ קוֹנֶה בַּחֲזָקָה. אֶלָּא בִּשְׁטָר הוּא שֶׁקּוֹנֶה עִם נְתִינַת הַכֶּסֶף. וְיִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּא מֵחֲמַת הָעַכּוּ''ם הֲרֵי הוּא כְּעַכּוּ''ם וְאֵינוֹ קוֹנֶה אֶלָּא בִּשְׁטָר. כָּל הַמְחֻבָּר לַקַּרְקַע הֲרֵי הוּא כְּקַרְקַע. וְנִקְנֶה אוֹ בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ בִּשְׁטָר אוֹ בַּחֲזָקָה. וְאִם אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַקַּרְקַע כְּגוֹן עֲנָבִים הָעוֹמְדוֹת לִבָּצֵר הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִטַּלְטְלִין לְקִנְיָן וְיֵשׁ לָהֶן אוֹנָאָה:

18

Just as landed property itself is acquired through the transfer of money, the transfer of a deed of sale or chazakah, so too, the rental of land is finalized through the transfer of money alone, the transfer of a deed of sale alone, or chazakah, and neither party can retract.

יח

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהַקַּרְקַע נִקְנֶה בְּכֶסֶף בִּשְׁטָר וּבַחֲזָקָה. כָּךְ שְׂכִירוּת הַקַּרְקַע נִקְנֶה בְּכֶסֶף לְבַדּוֹ אוֹ בִּשְׁטָר לְבַדּוֹ אוֹ בַּחֲזָקָה. וְאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶן יָכוֹל לַחְזֹר בּוֹ:

19

When a person sells a colleague ten fields in ten different countries, the purchaser acquires them all by manifesting his ownership over one of them. Even if one of the fields was located on a high mountain and another in a valley - and thus the manner in which one is tilled differs from the other -nevertheless, by manifesting his ownership over one of them, the purchaser acquires them all.

יט

הַמּוֹכֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ עֶשֶׂר שָׂדוֹת בְּעֶשֶׂר מְדִינוֹת. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן קָנָה כֻּלָּן. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה אַחַת מֵהֶן הַר גָּבוֹהַּ וְהַשֵּׁנִית מְצוּלָה שֶׁהֲרֵי תַּשְׁמִישׁ שֶׁל זוֹ אֵינָהּ תַּשְׁמִישׁ שֶׁל זוֹ. אַף עַל פִּי כֵן כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן קָנָה הַשְּׁאָר:

20

When does the above apply? When he pays for all of them. If, however, he does not pay for all of them, he acquires only a measure of property equal to the money that he pays. Therefore, if all the fields were given as a gift, he acquires them all.

Similarly, with regard to the rental of landed property, if a person manifests ownership over one of the properties he is renting, he acquires them all for the entire duration of the rental period.'

If a person is purchasing some properties and renting others, once he manifests his ownership over one property, whether that property be purchased or rented, he acquires them all.

כ

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים. שֶׁנָּתַן דְּמֵי כֻּלָּן. אֲבָל אִם לֹא נָתַן דְּמֵי כֻּלָּן לֹא קָנָה אֶלָּא כְּנֶגֶד מְעוֹתָיו. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיוּ הַכּל בְּמַתָּנָה קָנָה כֻּלָּן. וְכֵן בִּשְׂכִירוּת כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן קָנָה כֻּלָּן כָּל זְמַן הַשְּׂכִירוּת. הָיוּ מִקְצָת הַקַּרְקָעוֹת בְּמֶכֶר וּמִקְצָתָן בִּשְׂכִירוּת. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחְזִיק בֵּין בִּמְכִירָה בֵּין בִּשְׂכִירוּת קָנָה הַכּל: