Sacred Texts  Judaism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. A wife is acquired in three ways, and may recover her liberty 1 in two ways. She is acquired by money, by a marriage contract, or through carnal connection [with her]. 2 What sum of money is required [for the mentioned purpose]? According to Beth Shammai, "It must not be less than a denarius [‏דינר‎] or its value;" 3 but according to Beth Hillel, "It is sufficient if it be a ‏פרוטה‎, or the value

p. 307

thereof." What is the value of a ‏פרוטה‎? The eighth part of an Italian asser [‏איסר איטליקי‎]. 4 She regains her liberty by a Get [letter of divorce], and the death of her husband. A woman whose husband died without issue, and who is left to a brother-in-law to be married by him according to the laws of Yeboom, is fully acquired by the brother-in-law as a wife by carnal connection with her. She regains her liberty either by performing the ceremony of Chalitzah, or by the death of her brother-in-law.

§ 2. A Hebrew slave becomes his master's property by money paid for his purchase, or by virtue of a contract, and recovers his liberty by [the termination of his] years [of servitude], by the Jubilee, and by the decrease in the value of his original purchase money through his servitude5 A Hebrew bondwoman's rights are more extensive than those of the Hebrew bondman, inasmuch as she regains her liberty when she produces the signs [of puberty]. A slave, who after six years of service wishes to remain with his master, is acquired by the latter through the act of piercing the slave's ear [Exod. xxi. 6], and recovers his liberty by the Jubilee, or the death of his master.

§ 3. A Canaanite slave is acquired by money paid for his purchase, a contract, or by any act of the slave indicative of his subjection, 6 and can, according to R. Meir, recover his liberty by his purchase money being repaid to his master by other people, and by a deed of manumission which he himself receives. But the sages say, "Also when the purchase money is repaid by himself, or the deed of his manumission was received by others; but the money must be given to him for that purpose by other people." 7

§ 4. Large cattle are acquired by the delivery [of the animal from the seller to the buyer], and small cattle by raising them. Such is the dictum of R. Meir and R. Eleazar; but the sages decide, "That

p. 308

the legal acquisition of small cattle is by their being driven away [by or for the buyer]."

§ 5. [Immoveable] property on which a lender has a retrogressive or permanent right, 8 is acquired by purchase money, deed of sale, or taking possession. [Moveable] property which does not afford that security to a lender, is acquired by being removed by the purchaser. Property of the description last mentioned is acquired along with other property which does afford permanent security, through the payment of the purchase money, by a deed of sale, or taking possession. Yet, property which does not afford that security, can cause its owner to take an oath on account of the mentioned immoveable property. 9

§ 6. In all things the value of which must be reduced into money, 10 as soon as one person has taken possession of the property he has received in barter, the other party acquires a property in that for which he exchanged it, as for instance: If a person bartered [with anc. her] an ox for a cow, or an ass for an ox, as soon as one party has taken possession of the article bartered, the other becomes possessed of the thing received in exchange, and is liable to any risk appertaining thereto. The right of property is secured to the Sanctuary as soon as the purchase money [for the article bought] is paid; but that of private persons, only when they have taken actual possession. A promise of property to the Sanctuary 11 is equivalent to the delivery to a private person. 12

§ 7. All duties which it is incumbent on a father to do for his son, 13 are incumbent on males only, but not on females; but the obligation of all duties from a son to his father 14 is incumbent on both sexes. The observance of all affirmative precepts of the law, the

p. 309

performance of which is limited to a certain time, are incumbent on males, and not on females; and all affirmative precepts, the performance of which is not limited to a certain time, are obligatory on both sexes. All negative precepts, whether their performance does or does not depend on time, are obligatory on both sexes, except the precepts not to destroy [the beard] (Lev. ix. 27), not to cut round the corners of the hair (ibid.), and against contamination from a dead body [which, either do not apply to, or are not obligatory on, females].

8. The imposition of hands [on animals about to be sacrificed], the wavings [of offerings], the bringing [meat-offerings] to the altar, the taking of the handful of flour thereof, the burning of incense, the wringing or pinching off the heads of birds [brought as sacrifices], the sprinklings and receiving of the blood [of sacrifices] are obligatory on males only, and not on females, 15 except the meat-offering of a suspected adultress and of a woman who had taken the vow of a Nazarite, which these women must wave [personally].

§ 9. Every precept which especially applies to the soil of the land of Israel 16 is obligatory only within the land of Israel, but those which do not especially apply to that land 17 are obligatory in and out of Palestine, except the precept of "Orlah" 18 and "Kilaim." 19 R. Eleazar saith, "Also the prohibition to eat of the new corn." 20

§ 10. Whoever duly observes the commandment of the law will receive happiness from heaven; his days will be prolonged, and he shall hereafter inherit felicity in the land of eternal bliss. But he who does not perform any commandment will not receive happiness from heaven, his days will not be prolonged, nor shall he hereafter inherit felicity in the land of eternal bliss. Whoever is versed in the law, in the Mishna [oral law], and the usages of civilized society will not easily fall into sin, as it is written, "A threefold cord is not easily broken" [Eccl. iv. 12]; and those who are ignorant of the written and oral law, and also of good morals, are unfit for human society.


306:1 To dispose of herself, and marry again.

306:2 That is, when he says, "Behold thou art wedded to me with this connection," &c. Although such a marriage is a legal one, and cannot be dissolved, except by a Get or the death of the parties, yet the man who thus marries, is, as a transgressor against morality and decency, punishable by the Tribunal with the infliction of ‏מכת מרדות‎, or, "stripes for rebellion."

306:3 This is calculated to be equal to ninety grains of pure silver.

307:4 Bartenora explains in chap. iv. of ‏עדויות‎, and in chap. vii. of ‏כלים‎, that this is Italian Greece, now called Calabria, which was anciently colonised by the Greeks, and called by them Megala Hellas, or Magna Græcia [Great Greece]. The value of a ‏פרוטה‎ is only half a grain of pure silver.

307:5 A Hebrew bondwoman or slave has a right to redeem herself at any time, by refunding to her master the proportion of the original purchase money due for services not yet performed; ex. gr. If sixty pieces were paid for six years' servitude, the slave may after three years repurchase his liberty for thirty pieces.

307:6 That is, personal services to the master, such as tying or untying his shoes, &c.

307:7 Because, otherwise it becomes the master's property.

308:8 Which confers on the lender of a mortgage an inalienable right as far as he is concerned, and until he is paid; for should the borrower sell the property, the lender has a right to take it from the buyer, and thus it always retrogresses to the lender.

308:9 Although no oath is taken for immoveable property only.

308:10 Namely, all things that are exchanged for others, except coin.

308:11 When a man says, "This ox, or sheep, &c. I consecrate to the Sanctuary."

308:12 Which completes the bargain, and the seller is no longer at liberty to repent of his bargain.

308:13 They are:—1, to circumcise him;—2, to redeem him, if a firstborn;—3, to instruct him, or have him instructed in the Holy Law;—4, to teach him [or have him instructed] in a trade or handicraft;—5, to marry him at a proper age;—and 6, to have him taught the art of swimming.

308:14 Viz. to honour and fear him.

309:15 Because the Scripture mentions these commands in the masculine gender, ‏וסמך ידו וקמץ והגיש‎ &c.

309:16 Such as the obligation of tithe heave, the agrarian rest during the Sabbatical year, &c.

309:17 As the observance of the Sabbath, ‏תפילין‎, circumcision, &c.

309:18 Vide Leviticus xix. and Treatise Orlah.

309:19 Ibid. and Treatise Kilaim.

309:20 Before it was offered in the temple.

Next: Chapter II