1

The following rules apply in the situation to be described. A person wanted to purchase an article from a colleague. The seller said: "I will sell it to you for 200 zuz,"but the purchaser said: "I will not purchase it for more than a maneh." They each returned home. Afterwards, they came together again and the purchaser took possession of the article by meshichah without making any further statements. If it was the seller who made the proposition to the purchaser and gave him the article, he is required to give him only a maneh. If, however, it was the purchaser who performed meshichah without making any further offers, he is required to pay 200 zuz.

א

הַמְבַקֵשׁ לִקְנוֹת מֵחֲבֵרוֹ מִקָּח. מוֹכֵר אוֹמֵר בְּמָאתַיִם אֲנִי מוֹכֵר לְךָ וְהַלּוֹקֵחַ אוֹמֵר אֵינִי קוֹנֶה אֶלָּא בְּמָנֶה. וְהָלַךְ זֶה לְבֵיתוֹ וְזֶה לְבֵיתוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִתְקַבְּצוּ וּמָשַׁךְ זֶה הַחֵפֶץ סְתָם. אִם הַמּוֹכֵר הוּא שֶׁתָּבַע הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְנָתַן לוֹ הַחֵפֶץ אֵינוֹ נוֹתֵן אֶלָּא מָנֶה. וְאִם הַלּוֹקֵחַ הוּא שֶׁבָּא וּמָשַׁךְ זֶה הַחֵפֶץ סְתָם חַיָּב לִתֵּן מָאתַיִם:

2

The following rule applies when a person purchases an article from one of five people, but is unsure of the identity of the seller, and each of the five claims that he was the seller. The purchaser should place the money for the item among them and depart. The money should remain in custody until the false claimants admit that it is not theirs or Elijah comes. If the purchaser is pious, he should pay each one of the claimants to fulfill a moral and spiritual obligation.

ב

הַלּוֹקֵחַ מֵאֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה בְּנֵי אָדָם וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן תּוֹבֵעַ אוֹתוֹ וְאוֹמֵר אֲנִי הוּא בַּעַל הַמִּקָּח. וְהוּא אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ מִמִּי מֵהֶם לָקַח. מַנִּיחַ דְּמֵי הַמִּקָּח בֵּינֵיהֶם וּמִסְתַּלֵּק וְיִהְיוּ הַדָּמִים מֻנָּחִין עַד שֶׁיּוֹדוּ אוֹ עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא אֵלִיָּהוּ. וְאִם הוּא חָסִיד נוֹתֵן דָּמִים לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד כְּדֵי לָצֵאת יְדֵי שָׁמַיִם:

3

Different rules apply when a person purchased an article from one of five people, did not pay at the time, denied taking the article by making a false oath and then repented and wanted to make restitution. If all five demanded payment from him, saying, "I am the one from whom you denied taking the article, and to whom you made a false oath," and he says, "I do not know," he is obligated to pay each of them, because he committed a transgression.

ג

לָקַח מִקָּח מֵאֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה בְּנֵי אָדָם וְכָפַר בּוֹ וְנִשְׁבַּע עַל שֶׁקֶר וְעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וַהֲרֵי הוּא רוֹצֶה לְשַׁלֵּם וְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד תּוֹבֵעַ אוֹתוֹ וְאוֹמֵר אֲנִי הוּא שֶׁכָּפַרְתָּ בִּי וְנִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לִי וְהוּא אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעָבַר עֲבֵרָה:

4

The seller's word is accepted when he says: "I sold the article to this one, and I did not sell the article to this one."When does this apply? When the article that he is selling is in his possession. If, however, the article is no longer in his possession, his statements are given no more credence than those of one witness, and the laws applying to him with regard to this testimony are no different from those applying to other people, for he is no longer involved in the matter concerning which he testified.

Therefore, if a seller took money from two people, one intentionally and one gave him money against the seller's will, and the seller does not know the identity of the person from whom he took money intentionally and that of the person who gave him money against his will, there is no testimony at all. Each of the persons must take an oath holding a sacred article, as dictated by our Sages. Each then receives half of the purchased article and half the money.

This applies whether the article is in the hands of the seller or both of the claimants are holding it.

ד

נֶאֱמָן בַּעַל הַמִּקָּח לוֹמַר לָזֶה מָכַרְתִּי וְלָזֶה לֹא מָכַרְתִּי. אֵימָתַי בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַמִּקָּח יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אֵין הַמִּקָּח יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא עֵד אֶחָד בִּלְבַד. וְדִינוֹ בְּעֵדוּת זוֹ כְּדִין כָּל אָדָם שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ נוֹגֵעַ בְּעֵדוּתוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נָטַל הַדָּמִים מִשְּׁנַיִם וְנָטַל מֵאֶחָד מִדַּעְתּוֹ וּמֵאֶחָד בַּעַל כָּרְחוֹ וְלֹא יָדַע מִמִּי נָטַל מִדַּעְתּוֹ וּמִמִּי נָטַל בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ. בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה הַמִּקָּח בְּיָדוֹ בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן תּוֹפְסִין בּוֹ אֵין כָּאן עֵדוּת כְּלָל. וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן נִשְׁבָּע בְּתַקָּנַת חֲכָמִים בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְנוֹטֵל חֲצִי הַמִּקָּח וַחֲצִי דָּמִים:

5

The principle, "When a person desires to expropriate property from a colleague, the burden of proof is upon him," is applied in all the following situations and in other similar ones:

The purchaser claims: "You sold the article to me," and the seller claims that he did not; The seller claims that he sold the article to the purchaser, and the purchaser did not pay for it; The purchaser claims that he paid the money, but did not perform meshichah; The purchaser claims that he performed meshichah without seeing a particular blemish, and the seller claimed to have appraised him of it beforehand; or One of them claimed that the transaction had been made conditional on a stipulation, and the other denied that.

ה

הֲרֵי שֶׁטָּעַן עַל חֲבֵרוֹ וְאָמַר מָכַרְתָּ לִי. וְזֶה אוֹמֵר לֹא מָכַרְתִּי. אוֹ מָכַרְתִּי וְלֹא נָתַתָּ לִי דָּמִים. אוֹ שֶׁטָּעַן הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְאָמַר שֶׁנָּתַן הַדָּמִים וַעֲדַיִן לֹא מָשַׁךְ. אוֹ מָשַׁכְתִּי וְלֹא רָאִיתִי מוּם זֶה. וְהַמּוֹכֵר אוֹמֵר לוֹ הוֹדַעְתִּיו לְךָ. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר אֶחָד מֵהֶם כָּךְ וְכָךְ תְּנַאי הָיָה בֵּינֵינוּ וְהָאֶחָד אוֹמֵר לֹא הָיָה שָׁם תְּנַאי כְּלָל. בְּכָל אֵלּוּ הַטְּעָנוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הַמּוֹצִיא מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עָלָיו הָרְאָיָה:

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

In the above instances, if the plaintiff does not prove his claim, the defendant who denies the claim must support his own claim with a sh'vuat hesset. If he admits a portion of the plaintiff's claim, or the plaintiffs claim is supported by one witness, the defendant must take an oath, as mandated by Scriptural Law, as applies with regard to all other claims.

ו

לֹא הָיְתָה שָׁם רְאָיָה. נִשְׁבַּע הַכּוֹפֵר שֶׁמְּבַקְּשִׁין לְהוֹצִיא מִיָּדוֹ שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת. וְאִם הוֹדָה בְּמִקְצָת הַטַּעֲנָה אוֹ שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלָיו עֵד אֶחָד נִשְׁבָּע שְׁבוּעַת הַתּוֹרָה כִּשְׁאָר הַטְּעָנוֹת כֻּלָּן:

7

The following rules apply when a person tells a storekeeper: "Give me a dinar's worth of produce," and the storekeeper gives it to him, and the produce is placed in the public domain. If the storekeeper demands payment of the dinar and the purchaser replies "I paid you the money, and you put it into your pocket," the purchaser is required to take an oath as ordained by our Sages, holding a sacred object. Afterwards, he may take the produce. The rationale is that the produce has already left the domain of the seller and was placed in the public domain.

If the produce was in the domain of the purchaser, he would be required to take only a sh'vuat hesset, and then he would be freed of responsibility. If the produce was in the domain of the storekeeper, the storekeeper would be required to take a sh'vuat hesset, and the produce would remain his.

ז

אָמַר לְחֶנְוָנִי תֵּן לִי בְּדִינָר פֵּרוֹת וְנָתַן לוֹ וַהֲרֵי הַפֵּרוֹת מֻנָּחִין בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. וְהַחֶנְוָנִי תּוֹבֵעַ אֶת הַדִּינָר וּבַעַל הַבַּיִת אוֹמֵר לוֹ נָתַתִּי לְךָ הַדָּמִים וְהִשְׁלַכְתָּ אוֹתָם לְתוֹךְ כִּיסְךָ. הֲרֵי הַלּוֹקֵחַ נִשְׁבָּע כְּתַקָּנַת חֲכָמִים בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְנוֹטֵל הַפֵּרוֹת הוֹאִיל וּכְבָר יָצְאוּ מֵרְשׁוּת הַמּוֹכֵר וַהֲרֵי הֵן בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. וְאִלּוּ הָיוּ בִּרְשׁוּת הַלּוֹקֵחַ הָיָה נִשְׁבָּע שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת וְנִפְטַר. וְאִלּוּ הָיוּ עֲדַיִן בִּרְשׁוּת הַחֶנְוָנִי הָיָה נִשְׁבָּע הֶסֵּת וְיִשָּׁאֲרוּ פֵּרוֹתָיו אֶצְלוֹ:

8

Different rules apply if a purchaser gives a dinar to a storekeeper to take produce that has been placed down in the public domain. If the storekeeper says: "The dinar that you just gave me is payment for produce that I previously gave you and that you took to your home. I never sold you this produce that is now placed in the public domain," the storekeeper must take an oath to support his claim while holding a sacred object. The produce is then returned to the storekeeper, for he never admitted selling it to the purchaser. And if the produce was located in his store, all that would be required of him would be a sh'vuat hesset, as explained in the previous halachah.

ח

נָתַן הַלּוֹקֵחַ דִּינָר לְחֶנְוָנִי וּבָא לִטּל פֵּרוֹת הַמֻּנָּחִין בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. וְאָמַר הַחֶנְוָנִי דִּינָר זֶה שֶׁנָּתַתָּ לִי עַכְשָׁו הוּא דְּמֵי פֵּרוֹת שֶׁכְּבָר נְתַתִּים לְךָ וְהוֹלַכְתָּם לְתוֹךְ בֵּיתְךָ אֲבָל פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ הַמֻּנָּחִין בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים לֹא מְכַרְתִּים לְךָ. הֲרֵי הַחֶנְוָנִי נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ שֶׁכָּךְ הָיָה הַדָּבָר וּמַחֲזִיר פֵּרוֹתָיו לָחֶנְוָנִי. שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא הוֹדָה לוֹ שֶׁמְּכָרָן לוֹ מֵעוֹלָם. וְאִלּוּ הָיוּ בַּחֲנוּתוֹ הָיָה נִשְׁבָּע שְׁבוּעַת הֶסֵּת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

9

Similar rules apply when a person gives a dinar to a money-changer to take coins when the coins are piled in the public domain. If the money-changer admits to having sold the coins and he has not taken the dinar, the purchaser must support his claim by taking an oath while holding a sacred object and may then take the coins. If, however, the money-changer does not admit to having sold the coins to the purchaser, even though he admits taking a dinar from the purchaser at this time, for he claims that the dinar is payment for coins that the purchaser already took home, the money-changer must support his claim by taking an oath while holding a sacred object. The coins are then returned to his store.

ט

וְכֵן הַדִּין בְּנוֹתֵן דִּינָר לְשֻׁלְחָנִי לִטּל מָעוֹת. בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַמָּעוֹת צְבוּרִין בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים. אִם הַשֻּׁלְחָנִי הוֹדָה שֶׁמְּכָרָן וַעֲדַיִן לֹא נָטַל הַדִּינָר נִשְׁבָּע הַלּוֹקֵחַ בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ שֶׁנָּתַן וְנוֹטֵל הַמָּעוֹת. וְאִם לֹא הוֹדָה שֶׁמְּכָרָן לוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמּוֹדֶה שֶׁלָּקַח מִמֶּנּוּ דִּינָר עַתָּה וְטוֹעֵן שֶׁדִּינָר זֶה דְּמֵי הַמָּעוֹת שֶׁכְּבָר הוֹלִיכָן הַלּוֹקֵחַ לְתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ. הֲרֵי הַשֻּׁלְחָנִי נִשְׁבָּע בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ וְיַחְזִיר מְעוֹתָיו לַחֲנוּתוֹ:

10

The following laws apply when a person exchanges a cow and a donkey, and the cow bears a calf, or one sells a maidservant and she gives birth. The seller claims: "She gave birth before I sold her." The purchaser claims: "She gave birth after I purchased her." The purchaser must bring proof of his claim to be granted possession.

This ruling applies even if the seller says: "I do not know when she gave birth." Indeed, even if the cow is located in a swamp or the maidservant in a corner of the public domain, they are considered to be in the possession of the seller until the purchaser brings proof of his claim.If the purchaser does not bring proof of his claim, the seller must take an oath while holding a sacred object to support his claim. This applies with regard to the offspring of a cow. With regard to the offspring of a maidservant, by contrast, he is required only to take a sh'vuat hesset. For an oath associated with a sacred object is never taken with regard to servants or landed property, as explained in Hilchot To'en V'Nit'an.

י

הַמַּחְלִיף פָּרָה בַּחֲמוֹר וְיָלְדָה וְכֵן הַמּוֹכֵר שִׁפְחָתוֹ וְיָלְדָה. זֶה אוֹמֵר עַד שֶׁלֹּא מָכַרְתִּי יָלְדָה וְזֶה אוֹמֵר מִשֶּׁלָּקַחְתִּי יָלְדָה. אֲפִלּוּ אָמַר הַמּוֹכֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ. עַל הַלּוֹקֵחַ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַפָּרָה עוֹמֶדֶת בַּאֲגַם וְהַשִּׁפְחָה עוֹמֶדֶת בְּסִמְטָא הֲרֵי הֵן בְּחֶזְקַת הַמּוֹכֵר עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא הַלּוֹקֵחַ רְאָיָה. לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה יִשָּׁבַע הַמּוֹכֵר בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ עַל וְלַד הַפָּרָה. אֲבָל עַל וְלַד הַשִּׁפְחָה אֵינוֹ נִשְׁבָּע אֶלָּא הֶסֵּת. שֶׁאֵין נִשְׁבָּעִין בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ עַל הָעֲבָדִים וְלֹא עַל הַקַּרְקָעוֹת. כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת טוֹעֵן וְנִטְעָן:

11

If one says: "I do not know when the offspring was born," and the other also does not know, and the offspring is located in a domain that does not belong to either of them, it should be divided.

If one says: "The offspring was born in my domain," and the other remains silent, the one who makes the claim is awarded the offspring.

יא

זֶה אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ וְאֵינָם בִּרְשׁוּת אֶחָד מֵהֶן יַחֲלֹקוּ. זֶה אוֹמֵר בִּרְשׁוּתִי יָלְדָה וְהָאַחֵר שׁוֹתֵק זָכָה הַטּוֹעֵן בַּוָּלָד:

12

The following rules apply when a dispute arises concerning a seller who owns two servants, one an adult and one a minor, or two fields, one large and one small. The purchaser claims: "I purchased the greater one," while the seller claims: "You purchased the smaller one." The burden of proof lies with the purchaser. If he does not substantiate his claim, the seller should take a sh'vuat hesset that it was the smaller one that he sold and he is allowed to keep the larger one.

יב

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי עֲבָדִים קָטָן וְגָדוֹל. אוֹ שְׁתֵּי שָׂדוֹת אַחַת גְּדוֹלָה וְאַחַת קְטַנָּה. הַלּוֹקֵחַ אוֹמֵר גְּדוֹלָה לָקַחְתִּי וְהַמּוֹכֵר אוֹמֵר קְטַנָּה הִיא שֶׁלָּקַחְתָּ. עַל הַלּוֹקֵחַ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה. אוֹ יִשָּׁבַע הַמּוֹכֵר הֶסֵּת שֶׁלֹּא מָכַר אֶלָּא קָטָן:

13

If the purchaser says: "I purchased the greater one," and the seller remains silent, the purchaser is awarded the greater one.

If the seller says: "I do not know," the burden of proof lies on the purchaser. If he does not substantiate his claim, the seller should take a sh'vuat hesset that he does not know which article was purchased,and the purchaser is awarded only the smaller one.

יג

אָמַר הַלּוֹקֵחַ גָּדוֹל לָקַחְתִּי וְהַמּוֹכֵר שׁוֹתֵק זָכָה הַלּוֹקֵחַ בַּגָּדוֹל. וְאִם אָמַר הַמּוֹכֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ עַל הַלּוֹקֵחַ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה. אוֹ נִשְׁבָּע הַמּוֹכֵר הֶסֵּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ וְאֵין לָזֶה אֶלָּא קָטָן:

14

Whenever a doubt over responsibility for an article arises the burden of proof lies on the person in whose domain the doubt arises.

What is implied? A person exchanges a cow for a donkey, and the owner of the donkey performs meshichah on the cow, but before the owner of the cow can perform meshichah on the donkey, the donkey dies. The burden of proof is on the owner of the donkey to verify that the donkey was alive at the time meshichah was performed on the cow. The same principle applies in all analogous situations.

יד

כָּל מִי שֶׁנּוֹלַד הַסָּפֵק בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ עָלָיו לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה. כֵּיצַד. הַמַּחְלִיף פָּרָה בַּחֲמוֹר וּמָשַׁךְ בַּעַל הַחֲמוֹר אֶת הַפָּרָה וְלֹא הִסְפִּיק בַּעַל הַפָּרָה לִמְשֹׁךְ זֶה הַחֲמוֹר עַד שֶׁמֵּת הַחֲמוֹר עַל בַּעַל הַחֲמוֹר לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁהָיָה חֲמוֹרוֹ קַיָּם בִּשְׁעַת מְשִׁיכַת הַפָּרָה. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

15

The following laws apply when someone sold an animal to a butcher before its slaughter, but the money had not yet changed hands, it was slaughtered, and afterwards, a needle was discovered in the animal's second stomach that had pierced it from side to side.'

If a drop of blood is found upon it, it is clear that it became trefah before its slaughter. If a scab had formed over the wound, it is clear that it became trefah three days before its slaughter. If a scab had not formed over the wound, there is a lack of clarity concerning the matter, and the butcher must bring proof that the disqualifying factor arose before the purchase. This decision is rendered because the cow was in his possession when the doubt arose. If he cannot bring proof to this effect, he must pay the money due to the seller, as explained above.

טו

מַחַט הַנִּמְצָא בָּעֳבִי בֵּית הַכּוֹסוֹת וְנִקְּבָה אוֹתוֹ נֶקֶב מְפֻלָּשׁ. אִם נִמְצָא עָלֶיהָ קֹרֶט דָּם בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁזּוֹ נִטְרְפָה קֹדֶם שְׁחִיטָה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הִגְלִיד פִּי הַמַּכָּה בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁזּוֹ נִטְרְפָה שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים קֹדֶם שְׁחִיטָה. לֹא הִגְלִיד פִּי הַמַּכָּה הֲרֵי הַדָּבָר סָפֵק וְעַל הַטַּבָּח לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁקֹּדֶם לְקִיחָתוֹ נִטְרְפָה. שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ נוֹלַד הַסָּפֵק. וְאִם לֹא הֵבִיא רְאָיָה יְשַׁלֵּם הַדָּמִים לַמּוֹכֵר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ: