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Steinsaltz

The Gemara relates: After Rav Naḥman exited the study hall, Ulla said to the remaining Sages in the study hall: In truth, this is what Rabbi Elazar said: A slave can be collected as payment even when collecting from the debtor’s orphans. Generally, when collecting a debt from the debtor’s orphans the creditor can collect only from the land that they inherited from their father, which is liened to the debt. Rabbi Elazar rules that a creditor can also collect from the slaves they inherited, as he holds that in this regard, the legal status of slaves is like that of land. Ulla did not reveal this fact to Rav Naḥman, as he knew that Rav Naḥman disagreed and held that the legal status of slaves is like that of movable property. When he heard of Ulla’s revelation, Rav Naḥman said: Ulla evaded me, as had he told me Rabbi Elazar’s full opinion, I would have brought proofs against his opinion.

The Gemara relates: There was an incident in Neharde’a, and the judges of Neharde’a collected, on behalf of a creditor, slaves that orphans had inherited from the debtor. There was an incident in Pumbedita, and Rav Ḥana bar Bizna collected slaves from orphans as repayment for a debt. Rav Naḥman said to those judges: Go and return those slaves to the orphans, and if you do not do so, we will collect the value of the slaves from the proceeds of your own mansions in order to compensate the orphans for their loss, as you have made a elementary mistake in your ruling and therefore you are responsible to rectify it.

Rava said to Rav Naḥman: There is Ulla, there is Rabbi Elazar, there are the judges of Neharde’a, and there is Rav Ḥana bar Bizna, all of whom ruled based on the assumption that the legal status of slaves is like that of land. In accordance with whose opinion does the Master, i.e., you, Rav Naḥman, hold?

Rav Naḥman said to him: I know a baraita that supports my opinion, as Avimi teaches: A document that prevents the Sabbatical Year from abrogating an outstanding debt [prosbol] takes effect upon a debt assumed by one who owns land, but a prosbol does not take effect upon a debt assumed by one who owns slaves of the debtor. And movable property is acquired together with the land one acquires through the act of acquisition performed on the land, but movable property cannot be acquired together with the slaves that one acquires. Both halakhot assume that in these cases the legal status of slaves is not like that of land.

The Gemara suggests: Let us say that this issue is the subject of a dispute between tanna’im in the following baraitot.

One baraita teaches: If one sold slaves and land to a buyer and the buyer took possession of the slaves alone, he does not thereby acquire the land. If he took possession of the land alone, he does not thereby acquire the slaves. If one sold land and movable property to a buyer and the buyer took possession of the land alone, he thereby also acquires the movable property. If he took possession of the movable property alone, he does not thereby acquire the land. If one sold slaves and movable property to a buyer and the buyer took possession of the slaves alone, he does not thereby acquire the movable property. If he took possession of the movable property alone, he does not thereby acquire the slaves.

But isn’t it taught in another baraita: If the buyer took possession of the slaves alone, he thereby also acquires the movable property? This directly contradicts the ruling in the parallel clause of the previous baraita.

What, is it not the case that it is about this that they disagree, that one Sage, the tanna of the second baraita, holds that the legal status of slaves is like that of land, and the other Sage, the tanna of the first baraita, holds that the legal status of slaves is like that of movable property?

The Gemara rejects this: Rav Ika, son of Rav Ami, said: According to everyone, the legal status of slaves is generally like that of land, and therefore, that which is taught in the second baraita, that by taking possession of the slaves he also acquires the movable property, is properly understood. And that which is taught in the first baraita, that in such a case he does not acquire the movable property, the reason for this ruling is that the tanna of that baraita holds that in order for movable property to be acquired together with land, we require that he acquire land similar to “fortified cities in Judea” (II Chronicles 21:3), which do not move around. Slaves, even if their legal status is generally like that of land, do not fulfill this requirement.

The reason behind the need for land to be like the “fortified cities in Judea” is that the halakha that one can acquire movable property together with land is derived from this verse, as we learned in a mishna (Kiddushin 26a): Property that does not serve as a guarantee, i.e., movable property, is acquired together with property that does serve as a guarantee, i.e., land, be it through the buyer giving money to the seller, by the seller giving the buyer a bill of sale, or by the buyer performing an act of taking possession. The Gemara asks: From where is this matter derived? Ḥizkiyya said: As the verse states: “And their father gave them great gifts, of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fortified cities in Judea” (II Chronicles 21:3). The verse indicates that the acquisition of the movable property was done together with that of the cities of Judea.

There are those who say that Rav Ika stated a different answer: Rav Ika, son of Rav Ami, said: According to everyone, the legal status of slaves is generally like that of movable property, and therefore, that which is taught in the first baraita, that by taking possession of the slaves he does not also acquire the movable property, is properly understood. And that which is taught in the second baraita, that in such a case he acquires the movable property, applies to a case in which at the moment the slave was acquired, the movable property was still upon him, e.g., the slave was holding it, and it could therefore be acquired together with the slave. This is because one’s slave is considered like one’s courtyard, and any item that is placed within it is acquired for its owner.

The Gemara asks: But even if the movable property was still upon him, what of it? Even if one claims a slave is like a courtyard, he is a mobile courtyard, and a mobile courtyard does not acquire items placed upon it. And if you would say that the case is one where the slave is standing at the time of the transaction, that is still insufficient, as didn’t Rava say: Anything that does not acquire when moving also does not acquire when it is standing or sitting. The fact that the slave can move gives him the status of a mobile courtyard, regardless if he is currently moving or not.

The Gemara concludes: And the halakha is that where a slave is bound up and is unable to walk, his status is like that of an immobile courtyard, and his master will acquire anything that is placed upon him at that time.

The Gemara presents another contradiction to the first baraita cited above, which explicitly states that one cannot acquire slaves by taking possession of land: But isn’t it taught in another baraita: If he took possession of the land alone, he thereby also acquires the slaves?

The Gemara resolves the contradiction: There, in the baraita just cited, the case is one where the slaves are standing within the borders of the land that was acquired.

The Gemara notes: By inference, the ruling of this first baraita, which states that he does not acquire the slaves, is stated with regard to a case where they are not standing within the borders of the land that was acquired.

This works out well according to that second formulation of that which Rav Ika, son of Rav Ami, said, that the legal status of slaves is like that of movable property. This is the reason that if the slaves are standing within the borders of the land, yes, they are acquired together with the land, but if not, no, they are not acquired. The Gemara assumes that movable property is acquired together with land only if at the time of the acquisition it is placed upon the land.

But according to that first formulation of that which Rav Ika, son of Rav Ami, said, that the legal status of slaves is like that of land, why do I need the slaves to be standing within the borders of the land? As doesn’t Shmuel say: If someone sold him ten fields, located in ten different countries, once he takes possession of one of them, he has acquired all of them? If the legal status of slaves is like that of land, then the same principle should apply to them, and it should be unnecessary for them to be standing within the land’s borders.

The Gemara reconsiders: But even according to your reasoning, one can ask: According to the second formulation of that which Rav Ika, son of Rav Ami, said, that the legal status of slaves is like that of movable property, why do I need the slaves to be standing within the borders of the land?

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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