[bm35: We begin at the very top of the page.]

When he (a debtor, voluntarily - not by order of the court) transfers property to a creditor in lieu of a debt,and later offers cash payment to redeem it), Rav Acha and Ravina disagree; one says that the property must be returned, and one says it need not be returned.

The one that says that it need not be returned holds that it is a legitimate sale, entered into voluntarily. And the one who says that it must be returned holds that it is not alegitimate sale, and the fact that he transferred the property voluntarily and did not go to court was due to embarrassment.

And when can the creditor eat the produce [of the seized property]? Rabba said: from when the document reaches him. [Rashi: If payment is not made within 90 days, the court issues a document authorizing the seizure.] Abbaye said: The signatures of the wit nesses (when the court issues the document, establish the creditor's right even if the document has not yet reached the creditor.) Rava said: At the end of the time of the public announcement. [Rashi: After the document authorizing seizure is issued, the creditor must find the debtor's property. Once the property is located, the court announces a public auction. It is only then -- after the auction takes place -- that the creditor acquires the rights to the "fruits."]

[We are now at the next the mishna. The previous mishna dealt with one case in which a custodian can profit; if he pays rather than swearing, and thus gains the rights to the penalty payment when the thief is apprehended. The mishna we are about to begin discusses yet another case in which the custodian can profit from the transaction. Recalling some of our earlier comments, one who rents an animal is not liable if the animal dies of natural causes, but a borrower _is_.]

Mishna: If a person rents a cow from a fellow Jew, and then lends it to someone else, and it dies of natural causes, the renter swears that it died of natural causes [so that the renter is thus not liable], and the borrower pays the renter. R. Yosei said: How can this one (the renter) make a profit (literally, "do business") with his fellow Jew's cow [i.e., why should the _renter_ get the payment for the _owner's_ cow]? Instead, (the value of) the cow should be returned to the owner.

Gemara: [All of the discussion below is a logical analysis of the opinion expressed by the First Tanna. If - as will eventually be determined - halakhah is decided according to R. Yosei, it has no practical consequences].

Rav Idi bar Avin said to Abbaye: How did the renter acquire the cow [so that he has a right to the payment]? By taking the oath (that the cow died of natural causes while in the borrower's care). In that case, let the owner tell the renter "Eliminate your self and eliminate your oath, and I'll deal legally with the borrower." [Rav Idi bar Avin's suggestion is that the owner has the right to relieve the renter from any liability, and collect from the borrower.]

Abbaye said: Do you believe that the renter acquires the cow with the oath? He acquires it from the time of the animal's death! And the oath is only to mollify the owner. [Abbaye says that there is nothing the owner can do to stop the transfer of rights t o the renter.]

R. Zeira said: There are times that the owner will have to pay (the value of) several cows to the renter. How so? If a person rents a cow for 100 days, and the owner borrows it back for 90 days (within the 100 day rental period), and then the renter again rents the cow for 80 days, and then the owner borrows the cow for 70 days (of the 80 day second rental period), and the cow dies during that [70-day] borrowing period, for each episode of borrowing, the owner must pay (the value of) one cow (to the rente r). [The basic rule is that the renter is not liable, and that the borrower _is_. And this is true even if the borrower is the original owner. Furthermore, each transaction creates a separate and distinct liability, so that multiple borrowing (even of the same cow) creates multiple liabilities.]

Rav Acha of Difti told Ravina: There was only one cow, and it changed status from rented to borrowed, and it [then] changed status from borrowed to rented. [Rav Acha of Difti holds that, since there was only one cow, there can be only one liability for pa yment, regardless of the number of transactions.]

[Ravina] said [to Rav Acha]: Does the cow still exist, so that the owner could make such an argument?

Mar bar Rav Ashi said [in support of Rav Acha]: He [the renter] can only claim [the value of] two cows: One for the borrowing, and one for the (remaining days of) the rental, for all the borrowing episodes are evaluated as one, and all the renting episode s are evaluated as one. The borrowing (by the owner, and death of the cow during this period) transfers the full value (of the cow to the lender), and the rental transfers rights (to the renter) for the rental period, after which the cow returns to its or iginal owner. [This means that, in addition to the value of the dead cow, the owner/borrower has to reimburse the renter/lender for the days in which the cow should have been working for him.]

Return to the Talmud page.