The Babylonian Talmud in Selection, by Leo Auerbach, , at sacred-texts.com
p. 206 p. 207
THERE are four primary causes of damage: The ox, the pit, the despoiler and fire. The ox is not like the despoiler, and the despoiler is not like the ox. Nor is either of these two, in which there is life, as the fire in which there is no life; nor are these whose way is to go forth and create damage, as the pit, whose way is not to go forth and create damage. The only thing that they have in common is that they cause damage, and that it is the owner's duty to watch out for them and prevent their causing any damage. And if any of them has caused any damage, the man responsible for them must pay for it with the best of his estate.
WHEN we speak of primary causes, then there must also be secondary causes. Are these other classes of damage equal to the first or not? . . .
Rab Papa said: Some of the subdivisions are equal to the primary causes while others are not.
The Rabbis taught: There are three primary classes
of damage with regard to the ox. The Horn, the Tooth, and the Hoof. Whence do we know of the Horn? The Rabbis taught: (Exodus xxi, 28) If it will gore. There is no goring, but with a horn, as it was said: (1 Kings xxii, 11) And Zedekaiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou gore the Syrians, and it is further said: (Deut. xxxiii, 17) His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: With them he shall gore the people, etc.
For what purposes is the "further" quotation?—Because one may argue that the teaching of the Pentateuch cannot be deduced from the Prophets. Therefore it is stated: His glory is like, etc. But is this then a deduction? Is it not rather only an indication that by "goring" we are to understand that it means goring with a horn?—Indeed one could believe that the Almighty made the distinction between the harmless and the dangerous only as regards the severed horn, while if the horn is still attached to the animal it is always regarded as dangerous. Therefore it is said: His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, etc.
What are the subdivisions of Horn?—Collision, Biting, Falling and Kicking. Goring is surely considered a primary cause of damage, for it is written: (Exodus xxi, 35) If it will gore. Why should this not also apply to Collision, for it is written: (Ibid.) If it will collide—Here by collision we understand also goring. Indeed we were taught the passage begins with "collision" and ends with "goring"; this is to enlighten us that goring and colliding mean the same thing. Why is the word goring used with regard to humans, while with regard
to animals we use the term colliding?—Man who has the faculty, of judgment is, as a rule, injured through goring, but an animal, which possesses no such faculty, is, as a rule, injured through collision. . . .
What are the divisions of Pit? . . . It may refer to a stone, or a knife, or baggage that one left on a public thoroughfare, which has caused injury to someone. According to Samuel and Rab, if they were abandoned they would be in the same class as Pit, but if they were not abandoned, then, according to Samuel, who maintains that all such damages are included in the class of Pit, they would be classed as Pit, while according to Rab, who maintains that all such damages should be judged according to the rules which apply to the Ox, these would be put in the same class as the Ox.
FIVE are considered harmless, while five are considered dangerous. Cattle are not considered dangerous whether to gore, to push, to bite, to fall down, or to kick. The tooth of an animal is considered as a danger, for an animal will consume everything that is fit for it to eat; a leg is considered as a danger, for it will break or trample as it goes along; and so is an ox that has become unmanageable, an ox that causes damage to private property; and likewise a human being. The wolf, the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the serpent are all considered as a danger. Rabbi Eliezer says: if they have been tamed, they are not considered a danger, but the serpent is always considered a danger. What is the difference between the harmless and the dangerous? The harmless pays half damages of its own body while the
dangerous pays full damages out of the best of the estate.
FROM CHAPTER I
THE tooth of an animal is considered a danger in that it consumes everything that is fit to eat. A beast is considered a danger in so far as it will consume fruit and vegetables; but if it has consumed clothing or utensils, the owner pays only half damages. This applies only if the damage was done on the private property of the injured, but if it was caused in a public place, the owner is exempt from payment. If the beast derived a benefit from what it consumed, the owner pays to the extent of the benefit that the animal derived from it. In what instance does the owner pay for the benefit that the animal derived from it? If the animal consumed some food from the stalls in the midst of the market, the owner pays to the extent of the benefit that the animal derived from it; but if it consumed something from the back alleys of the market; he pays to the extent of the damage that it caused. If it consumed food from the entrance of a shop, he pays only to the extent of the benefit, but if from the inside of the shop, he must pay for the full damage that it caused.
THE Rabbis taught: The tooth is considered a danger in that it consumes everything that is fit to eat. How? If a beast enters the property of the injured, and eats food that was fit for it, and drinks liquids that were fit for it; the owner pays full damages. And this applies, also, to an animal that has entered the property of the injured and torn an animal to pieces and eaten its flesh;
the owner pays full damages. This applies, also, to a cow that has consumed barley, or an ass that has consumed beans, or a dog that has licked up some oil, or a pig that has devoured a piece of meat; for these, the owner pays full damages. Rab Papa said: Now also we say that foods which ordinarily are not considered food fit for the particular animal, but which under pressing circumstances they consume, must be considered fit food for the animal. In case a cat has eaten dates, or an ass has eaten fish, the owner must pay full damages.
It happened once that an ass consumed some bread and ruined the basket. Rab Yehuda ordered payment of full damages for the bread, but only half damages for the basket.—Why so? If it is usual for the ass to eat bread, is it not also usual for it to ruin the basket? First it consumed the bread, and then it ruined the basket. But can we say that bread is the usual food of an ass? I shall point out a contradiction. If an animal has consumed bread, meat, or a cooked dish, the payment is only for half damages. Does this apply to a domestic animal?—No, this applies to a wild animal. To a wild animal? Does not a wild animal usually eat meat?—No, the meat was roasted. But if you wish, I can say that this refers to a deer. If you wish, I can also say that it refers to a domestic animal when it has consumed the bread that was lying on a table.
A goat saw some turnips on top of a barrel. It climbed up and ate the turnips, and in doing so broke the barrel. Rab ordered full damages to be paid for the turnips and for the barrel. He explained that as it was usual for a goat to eat turnips, it was also usual for it to climb up for them.
RAB Hisda said to Rami ben Hama: Why weren't you at the academy last night? Some very interesting matters were discussed there.—"What were they?"—"Does a man who occupies another's premises, unknown to the owner, have to pay rent or not?"—Under what circumstances? If the premises were not for rent, and the man who occupied them was not in the habit of renting places, we cannot say then that the owner sustained a loss, or that the other derived a benefit. But if the premises were for rent, and the other is in the practice of renting places, then the owner sustained a loss and the other derived a benefit. Then there is the case, where the premises are not for rent, but the man who occupied them is in the habit of renting places; the owner may say you have derived a benefit; while the other may answer; you have sustained no loss. Rami ben Hama said to Rabbi Hisda: There is a Mishna that enlightens us on this problem.—Which Mishna?—If you will render me a service I shall tell you. Rabbi Hisda took his shawl and folded it carefully. Then Rami ben Hama told him: "If the animal derived a benefit the owner must pay damages to the extent of the benefit." Raba remarked: How little an opponent recognizes one's errors, if one is lucky! This case is not at all similar to the one in the Mishna, but Rab Hisda accepted it. In that case one derives a benefit and the other sustains a loss, but here one derives a benefit while the other sustains no loss. Rami ben Hama: How did he arrive at this conclusion? He was of the opinion that if one leaves produce in a public place, he probably gave up the title to it.
A HUMAN being is considered a danger at all times, whether he causes damage unwittingly or deliberately, whether awake or asleep. If a man has blinded his neighbor's eye, or ruined any utensils, he must pay full damages.
FROM CHAPTER II
IF A man pours out water into a public place and someone is injured by it, he is liable for damages. If a man hides thorns or glass, or has made his fence of thorns, or if the fence has fallen into a public street, and someone is injured by it, he is liable for damages.
If a man put his straw and his stubble into a public place in order to make manure of it, and someone is injured by it, he is liable for the damage; and whoever comes first may appropriate the straw. Rabbi Gamaliel said: Whoever clutters up a public place, and thereby causes damage to anyone, he is liable for it, and whoever comes first may appropriate what was left there. If a man has turned up manure in a public place, and someone was injured by it, he is liable for the damage.
MAY we infer that the Mishna is not in accord with the view of Rabbi Yehuda? For we learned that Rabbi Yehuda said that during the season when manure is prepared, a man may put out his dung into the public street, so that men and beasts will tread upon it, for with this understanding Joshua made the land available to the people.—But you may say that Rabbi Yehuda concurs in this, for he too maintains that if damage is caused, restitution must be made for the damage.
IF A man walked carrying a barrel and another came carrying a beam, and the barrel was broken by the beam, the man with the beam is not liable, for both have the right of way. If the man with the beam came first, and the man with the barrel came behind him, and the barrel was broken by the beam, he is not liable. But if the man with the beam stopped suddenly; he is liable, but if he warned the man with the barrel to stop, he is not liable. If the man with the barrel came first, and the man with the beam was behind him, and the barrel was broken by the beam; the man with the beam is liable, but if the man with the barrel stopped, he is not liable; but if the first man said to the beam carrier, Stop, the man with the beam is liable. This applies to one who comes carrying a candle, while another comes carrying flax.
If a man splits wood in private premises and injures someone in a public thoroughfare, or if he is doing it in a public thoroughfare and injures someone on private property, or if he is on private property and injures someone on another private property, he is liable.
There are instances when a man may be liable for the acts of his ox, but not liable for his own acts, and then there are instances when a man may be liable for his own acts, but not for those of his ox. If his ox caused indignity, he is not liable, but if the man himself caused indignity, he is liable. If a man's ox blinded the eye of his slave, or knocked out his tooth, he is not liable, but if he himself blinded the eye of his slave or knocked out his tooth, he is liable. If an ox injured his father or his mother, he is liable, but if he himself injured his father or his mother, he is not liable. If an ox set fire to a stack of corn on the Sabbath, he is liable; but if the
man himself set fire to a stack of corn on the Sabbath, he is not liable for damages, for in those cases he is subject to capital punishment.
If one ox was running after another ox, and either was found to be injured, and one owner says: Your ox injured my ox, and the other says: No, it was injured by a stone, the burden of proof rests with the one who wants to exact the payment.
SAID Rabbi Hiya ben Abba. Here the colleagues of Symachus disagreed with him, for he maintained that money the ownership of which could not be ascertained should be equally divided between the two contestants. Said Rabbi Abba ben Memel to Rabbi Hiya ben Abba: Did Symachus express the same opinion in a case where both contestants claimed that they were positive of the ownership of the money involved? Yes, he answered. Symachus adhered to this opinion even where both contestants claimed to be certain to whom the money ought to go. But how do you know that the Mishna is treating here of a case where both contestants are positive of the claim?—Because it states: One says your ox caused the injury, while the other says, no.
FROM CHAPTER IV
IF A potter brings his pots into the courtyard of a householder without the permission of the owner, and the householder's beast breaks them, the householder is not liable. If the beast is injured by the pots, the potter is liable; but if he brings in the pots by permission, then the householder is liable. If he brings his produce into the courtyard of the householder without permission, and
the householder's cattle eat it, the householder is exempt from payment, and if the cattle are harmed by it, the owner of the produce is liable. But if he brings it in by permission, then the owner of the courtyard is liable.
If a man brings his ox into the courtyard of a householder without permission, and an ox belonging to the householder gores it, or his dog bites it, the householder is exempt from paying for the damage. But if it gores an ox belonging to the householder, then the man who brought in the ox is liable. If the ox falls into the householder's well and pollutes its water, the owner of the ox is liable. If the father or the son of the householder is in the well, and is killed by the ox, the owner must pay the ransom price. But if he brings in the ox with the permission of the householder, then the owner of the courtyard is liable. Rabbi says: The householder is never liable unless he agrees to watch over the property that is brought in.
THE Rabbis taught: If the householder says: Bring in your ox and watch it, and if the ox causes damage, the owner of the ox would be liable. But should the ox be injured, the owner of the yard would not be liable. If, however, the householder said: Bring in your ox and I will watch it, then if the ox should be injured the householder is liable, but should the ox cause any damage, its owner would be exempt from paying for the damage.
There is here a contradiction: At first you argue: If the owner said: Bring in your ox and watch it, and if the ox should cause damage, the owner would be liable, but should the ox be injured the householder would not be liable. The reason for this is that he plainly says to
the owner of the ox: watch it. Thus the owner of the ox is liable, and the householder is exempt. From this we may infer that if no mention was made of watching the ox, the owner of the yard would be liable, and the owner of the ox exempt. In other words by keeping silent the householder indicates that he will watch the ox. Now the following text reads: If he said: Bring in your ox and I will watch it, then should the ox be injured, the householder would be liable, but should it cause damage the owner of it would be exempt. The reason is that the householder plainly said: "I will watch it." From this we infer, if the householder kept silent, the owner of the ox would be liable and the householder would be exempt. For in this case there is no indication that the householder will watch the ox. This is in accord with Rabbi who said, that there is no liability on the part of the householder unless he agreed to watch over the ox. Is then the first clause according to the Rabbis and the concluding one according to Rabbi? Rabbi Eleazar said: The contradiction is quite obvious: whoever taught the first, did not teach the second. Raba however explained: The entire text can be taken as in accord with the Rabbis: since in the first part we learn: "watch it" in the second part we learn: "I will watch it." Rab Papa explained: The whole text is in accord with Rabbi, for he concurred here with the opinion of Rabbi Tarfon who said: For the damages caused by "Horn" on private ground, the owner of the ox is liable for full damages. It therefore indicates, that where he plainly says: "watch it" he did not transfer to him any rights to any part of the property, so that it comes under the rule of a Horn causing damage on private property, and thus the
liability is for full damage. Where, however, he did not plainly say: "watch it" he, it is assumed, granted him the right to some place on his property, so that this would come under the ruling of the "Horn" causing damage on property of joint ownership, and the liability, here, is of payment for half damages.
IF A man digs a pit on public property and an ox or an ass fall into it, he is liable for the damage caused. . . .
If a pit belonged to two partners and one passed over it and did not cover it, and the second partner did not cover it either, the second is held liable. If the first one covered it, but the second found it open and did not cover it, the second is liable. If he covered it properly, and an ox or an ass fell into it, he is exempt, but if he did not cover it properly, and an ox or an ass fell into it and was killed, he is liable.
FROM CHAPTER V
IF A man left his cattle in the sun, or he entrusted them to the care of a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor, and they came out and caused damage, he is liable. If he entrusted his flock to a shepherd, the shepherd takes the place of the owner. If the flock got into a garden and derived a benefit from it, the owner of the flock pays for the amount of benefit that it derived. If they went by it in the usual way and caused damage, he pays for the damage. How does he pay for the damage? They estimate how much a seah's space of ground in the field was worth before, and how much it is worth now. Rabbi Simon says: If the cattle ate ripe fruit, he must pay for
ripe fruit. If they damaged one seah the owner of the flock shall pay one seah, if two, he shall pay two.
RABBI Joshua said: There are four things for which a man who commits them is exempt from the judgment of men, but is guilty before the judgment of Heaven: And these are the following: He that knocks down a fence in front of his neighbor's cattle; he that bends his neighbor's stacks of corn towards a fire; he that hires false witnesses, and he that knows of testimony favorable to his neighbor, and does not testify.
IF A man caused a fire through a deaf-mute, an imbecile, or a minor, he is not liable under the laws of man, but he is guilty under the laws of Heaven, but if he caused a fire through a person of sound judgment, that person is liable. If one brought the fire, and then another brought the wood, the one who brought the wood is liable. If one brought the wood, then another brought the fire, the one who brought the fire is liable. If a third person came and fanned the flames, he is liable, but if the wind fanned the flame, all are exempt.
SAID Rabbi Simon ben Lakish in the name of Hezekiah: This interpretation refers only to the man who handed to one of these a coal, and that one fanned it; but if he handed one a blazing flame, he is liable. What is the reason? It was his action that caused the fire. But Rabbi Yohanan said: Even if he handed one a blazing
flame, he is not liable. What is the reason? The reason is that the actions of the deaf-mute caused the fire. He is not liable unless he supplied him with wood, shavings, and a light, for in that case it is a certainty that it was his deed that caused the fire.
RABBI Ammi and Rabbi Assi were sitting before Rabbi Isaac the smith. One asked him to give them a talk on some legal point while the other asked for a homiletic exposition. When he wanted to discourse on something homiletic, the first would not let him; and when he tried to talk about some legal point, the other would not let him. He said to them: I will tell you a parable. To what can this be likened? To a man who had two wives, one young and one old; the young would pull out his white hair, while the old would pull out his black hair, so that he finally became entirely bald. Whereupon he said to them: I shall tell you something that will be of interest to both of you: (Exodus xxii, 6) If a fire breaks out, and catch thorns, (breaks out means "of itself") he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I ought to make restitution for the fire that I had kindled in Zion, for it was said: (Lament. iv, 11) And hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof, and some day I shall rebuild it with fire, for it was said: (Zechariah ii, 5) For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. The legal viewpoint: The verse begins with damages caused by a chattel and concludes with damage caused by a person. This is to enlighten us that fire means also a human agency.
A man once kicked another man's money-box Into the river. The owner came and said: I had such-and-such valuables in it. Rabbi Ashi sat and pondered the problem. How should lie decide in a case of this kind? Whereupon Rabina said to Rabbi Aha ben Raba, or as some say, it was Rabbi Aha ben Raba who said it to Rabbi Ashi: Is not this the same as what we learned in the Mishna? There we learned: "The Sages agree with Rabbi Yehuda, that when a man sets fire to a house, he must make restitution for everything that was in it, for it is customary for people to keep their property in their homes." He replied: If he had asked for money that he kept there, it would have come under the same ruling. However, in this case, the man contends that he had jewels in the box. How shall I decide? Do people keep jewels in their money boxes or not?—This remained without decision.
FROM CHAPTER VI
THERE are more cases of two-fold payments than payments of four-fold and five-fold. For two-fold payments apply to things that are alive and to those that have no life in them, while four-fold and five-fold payments apply only to an ox or a sheep, for it was said: (Exodus xxii, 1) If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. If one steals from a thief he does not have to make two-fold restitution, and if one slaughters or sells what he steals from a thief, he does not have to make four-fold or five-fold payments.
Small cattle must not be raised in the Land of Israel, but one may raise them in Syria and in the deserts that
are in the Land of Israel. One must not breed fowls in Jerusalem because of the Holy Places, but priests must not do so anywhere in the land, because of uncleanliness. Pigs must not be bred anywhere. A man must not raise a dog unless he keeps him on a chain. One must not place traps for pigeons within thirty ris from an inhabited place.
THE Rabbis taught: If a shepherd repents, he must not be compelled to sell all at once, but he shall sell a few at a time. The same applies to a proselyte who inherited dogs and pigs, he must not be compelled to sell them all at once, but sell them a few at a time. The same is with a man who has vowed to buy a house, or marry a wife in the Land of Israel, he does not have to act upon his vow at once, but he may wait till he finds what suits him. There was a case of a woman whose son was annoying her. In exasperation she vowed: Whoever will offer to marry me, I shall not refuse him. Men who were not suitable presented themselves to her with an offer of marriage. The matter was laid before the Sages. They declared: This woman, surely, did not intend to marry anyone that was not suitable for her.
RAB, and Samuel, and Rabbi Assi once went to a circumcision and some say it was a birthday celebration. Rab would not enter before Samuel, and Samuel would not enter before Rabbi Assi, and Rabbi Assi would not enter before Rab, and so they stood there arguing who should enter last. It was finally decided that Samuel should wait, while Rab and Rabbi Assi should go in. Rab yielded his precedence out of deference to Samuel to whom he wanted to show honor, because of that sad
occasion, when he had once uttered a curse against him. In the meantime a cat came by and bit the hand of a child. Whereupon Rab in his lecture declared: "It is permitted to kill a cat, and one must not keep it. And furthermore the laws of theft, or the return of a lost object to its owner do not apply to it. . . ."
Rabbi Simon ben Eleazar said: One may keep village dogs, cats, monkeys, and porcupines, because they help to keep the house clean. There is no contradiction here. One refers to a black cat, while the other refers to a white cat. But was not the biting in Rab's case caused by a black cat?—Yes, it was a black cat, but it was the offspring of a white one. Is not this the case of which Rabina raised a question? For Rabina asked: What should be the ruling in case of a black cat that was an offspring of a white one?—The question asked by Rabina was in reference to a black cat that was the offspring of a white one which in turn was an offspring of a black one. The case of which Rab spoke was that of a black cat which was the offspring of a white one which in turn was an offspring of another white cat.
THE Rabbis taught: Joshua the son of Nun made ten stipulations: The cattle may graze in the woods; wood may be gathered in anybody's field, grasses may also be gathered in any place, except in the field of planted clover; shoots may be cut in all places, except the stump of the olive; a spring that has opened for the first time may be used by all the inhabitants of a town; anyone may fish in the sea of Tiberias, provided he does not spread a sail, for this would hamper the boats; one may relieve himself against any fence, even a fence that encloses
a field of saffron; anyone may use the paths in a private field, till the time of the second rains; anyone is permitted to use the sides of the road because of obstructions on the main road; if one is lost in a vineyard, he may cut his way through when going up or down; and a corpse that is found acquires the right to be buried on the spot.
Ezra has enacted ten acts: That the Torah be read on the Sabbath at the afternoon services, that on Mondays and Thursdays the Torah should also be read, that court be held on Mondays and Thursdays, that washing should be done on Thursdays, that garlic should be eaten on Sabbath eve, that housewives rise early and bake, that a woman should wear a sinar, that a woman should comb her hair before she enters the public bath, that peddlers of spices may travel through the towns; and he also enacted that those who were polluted be required to cleanse themselves.
FROM CHAPTER VII
IF A man injures his fellow he is liable to him for five things: for damage, for pain, for medical treatment, for loss of time, and for indignity. How, for damage?—If he blinded him or cut off his hand, or broke his leg, the injured is looked upon as if he were a slave, that is being sold in the market. How much was he worth before, and how much is he worth now? How, for pain?—If he burned him with a spit or a nail, even though it were only on his fingernails, where it does not cause a wound; it is estimated how much money a man of equal standing would be willing to take to suffer that much. How, for medical treatment? If he struck him
he must pay for the medical treatment, if ulcers developed, if it is a result of the inflicted wound, he is liable, but if not, he is exempt. If it opened and was healed and then reopened again, he must pay for the treatments, but if it was once healed completely, he does not become liable again. Loss of time?—He is looked upon as if he were a watchman of a field of cucumbers, for he has already been paid the value of his hand or his leg. Indignity?—All depends on the standing of the man who inflicted the indignity, and the person who suffered the indignity. If a man inflicted indignity on a naked person, on a blind person, or on a sleeping one, he is liable. But if the man was asleep while doing it, he is exempt. If a man fell from a roof and thereby injured and inflicted indignity upon someone, he is liable for the injury, but not for the indignity. A man is not liable for indignity unless he inflicted it with intention.
HOW then? It is written: (Exodus xxi, 24) Eye for an eye. Does not the All-Merciful actually mean the eye? Let this enter your mind. For we learned: One would believe, that if one blinded a fellow's eye, the offender's eye would be blinded, or if he cut off his arm, the offender's arm would be cut off, or if he broke his leg, the offender's leg would be broken. Therefore it was stated: (Leviticus xxiv, 17, 18) And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. Just as for the smiting of a beast a money payment is made, so also in case he smiteth a man, money should be paid for the damage. But if you would wish to contend otherwise:—why it was said: (Numbers xxxv, 31) Moreover ye shall
take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death. This means that for the life of a murderer payment may not be accepted, but for a limb that cannot grow back, we may accept payment.
THE law, here, is more severe for man than for the ox. A man must pay for injury, pain, medical treatment, loss of time, indignity and the value of the unborn child, but in the case of an ox there is no payment but only for damage caused, and there is also exemption for the value of the unborn child.
If a man strikes his fellow, he must pay him a selah. Rabbi Yehuda says, in the name of Rabbi Yosi the Galilean, that he pays him a maneh. If he slaps his face, he pays two hundred zuz; if he slaps his face with the back of his hand, he pays him four hundred zuz.
If he tore his ear, or pulled his hair, or he spit at him and the saliva reached him, if he removed his clothing from him, if he uncovered a woman's head in the market place: he pays four hundred zuz. This is the general rule; it all depends upon the standing of the person injured. Rabbi Akiba said: Even the poorest in Israel are looked upon as free men who have lost their fortunes, for they are the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
It once happened that a man uncovered the head of a woman in the market place. She came before Rabbi Akiba, who ordered the offender to pay her four hundred zuz. The man asked for time in which to make the payment, and Rabbi Akiba granted him time. The man then watched the woman until he saw her standing at the entrance of her yard. Before her eyes he broke a
jar containing an isar of oil. She uncovered her head, scooped up the oil in her hand and put it to her head. He then brought witnesses to this affair, and came before Rabbi Akiba and asked: To such a woman must I pay four hundred zuz? Rabbi Akiba answered: You have made no point. If a man should wound himself, though he has no right to do so, he is exempt, but if another person wounds him, that other is liable.
Though a person pays for the injury, he is not forgiven, till he begs forgiveness from the injured person.
If a man says: Blind my eye, or cut off my arm, or break my leg, the man that does it is guilty. Even if the man said: I agree that you won't be liable, the other is still guilty. If he says: Tear my garments, or break my jar, the other man is liable; and if he said to him: I agree that you won't be liable, he is still liable, whether he injured the person or his property.
FROM CHAPTER VIII
IF ONE steals wood and makes articles of it, or he steals wool and makes garments of it, he pays for them according to their value at time of the theft. If one stole a cow that was pregnant, and it gave birth, or a sheep with wool, and he sheared it, he pays the value of a cow about to give birth, or the value of a sheep ready to be sheared. If he stole a cow which became pregnant in his possession and then gave birth, or a sheep which grew its wool while in his possession, and then sheared it, he pays according to the value at the time of the theft. This is the rule: All robbers pay in accordance with the value of the property at the time of the robbery.
THE Rabbis taught: If robbers or usurers are willing to return property, one does not accept it from them, and if he does, he does it against the wishes of the Sages. Rabbi Yohanan said: This doctrine was inaugurated at the time of Rabbi. Once a certain man wanted to repent and return stolen property, whereupon his wife said to him: You fool! If you begin to make restitution, even the girdle that you are wearing belongs to another, so he stopped and did not repent. It was then inaugurated that if robbers and usurers are ready to repent and return property, it is not proper to accept it from them; and whoever accepts it, does so against the wishes of the Sages.
Come and hear: Robbers and usurers, even if they have already collected the money, must make restitution.—What has a robber to collect? They either robbed, or they did not rob—Rather read: Robbers, that is to say usurers, even if they have already collected the money, must make restitution. I will tell you, they must make restitution, but one does not accept it from them. Then why must they make restitution?—So as to fulfill their duty before Heaven.
Come and hear: For shepherds, tax collectors, and revenue contractors it is very hard to repent but still they must make restitution to those they know that they have robbed.
FROM CHAPTER IX
IF A man stole things and fed them to his children, or left it to them upon his death, they are exempt from making restitution. But if it is mortgagable property, they must make restitution.
RAB said: The law is that a document of indebtedness can be attested even though the defendant is not present, or even if he is present and proclaims aloud that it is a forgery. But if he pleads for time to bring witnesses and disprove the document, he must be given the necessary time. If he appears, well and good, but if he does not appear, then we wait till Monday, and Thursday and another Monday. If he still does not appear, we issue a warrant against him returnable in ninety days. For the first thirty days we don't take possession of his property for we take it that he is trying to borrow the money; for the next thirty days we do not take his property—we think he might not have been able to raise a loan and is now trying to sell the property, for the last thirty days we still do not seize his property for we take it that the buyer is now busy raising the purchase money. It is after he has not appeared all this time that we issue an order of execution for the seizure of the property. This procedure takes place only if he pleaded for time, but if he said: "I will not appear", an order for the seizure of the property is issued at once. An order of seizure can be issued only on real estate, but not on movable property, because the creditor can take away the movable property and dispose of it, and should the defendant later appear with witnesses to prove the document faulty, he would find naught which he could recover.
ONE does not take change from the box of a tax-gatherer or the purse of a tax collector, nor may one accept charity from them; but one may accept it in their own homes or in the market place.
If tax-gatherers took a man's ass and gave him another ass, or if robbers took his cloak and gave him another cloak, he may keep them, because the original owner has given up all hope of recovery.
One must not buy from shepherds wool or milk or kids, nor fruits or wood from gardeners, but in Judea one may buy woolen articles from women, and in Galilee one may buy flax, and in Sharon one may buy calves. But if a person sell any of these on condition that it be kept hidden, it is forbidden to buy. Eggs and chickens may be bought anywhere.
THE Rabbis taught: From shepherds one must not buy goats or kids or fleece, nor shreds of wool; but one may buy from them sewn garments, as these are surely their own. In the desert one may buy from them milk and cheese, but not in inhabited places. It is further permissible to buy from them four or five sheep, or four or five fleeces, but one must not buy two sheep or two fleeces. Rabbi Yehuda says: Domestic animals one may buy from them, but undomesticated one must not buy. This is the rule: All things that a shepherd sells that would be noticed by his master are permissible; but those that might not be noticed by his master are forbidden.
One may buy fruit from the gardeners if they are offering it for sale while seated before their baskets with their scales in front of them, but under no circumstances should one buy if one is told to hide it. One may also buy fruit from them in front of the garden, but not in back of it.
FROM CHAPTER X