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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma

Folio 109a


GEMARA. R. Joseph said: [He must pay3  the amount due for the robbery] even to the charity4  box.5  R. Papa added: He must however say, This is due for having robbed my father. But why should he not remit the liability to himself?6  Have we not learnt: Where the plaintiff released him from payment of the principal though he did not release him from payment of the Fifth [etc.],7  thus proving that this liability is subject to be remitted? — Said R. Johanan: This is no difficulty as that was the view of R. Jose the Galilean, whereas the ruling [here]6  presents the view of R. Akiba, as indeed taught: But if the man have no kinsman to restore the trespass unto,8  how could there be a man in Israel who had no kinsmen?9  Scripture must therefore be speaking of restitution to a proselyte.10  Suppose a man robbed a proselyte and when charged denied it on oath and as he then heard that the proselyte had died he accordingly took the amount of money [due] and the trespass offering to Jerusalem, but there [as it happened] came across that proselyte who then converted the sum [due to him] into a loan, if the proselyte were subsequently to die the robber would acquire title to the amount in his possession; these are the words of R. Jose the Galilean. R. Akiba, however, said: There is no remedy for him [to obtain atonement] unless he should divest himself of the amount stolen.11  Thus according to R. Jose the Galilean, whether to himself or to others, the plaintiff may12  remit the liability,13  whereas according to R. Akiba no matter whether to others or to himself, he cannot remit it. Again, according to R. Jose the Galilean, the same law14  would apply even where the proselyte did not convert the amount due into a loan, and the reason why it says, 'who then converted the sum [due to him] into a loan' is to let you know how far R. Akiba is prepared to go, since he maintains that even if the proselyte converted the sum due into a loan there is no remedy for the robber [to obtain atonement] unless he divests himself of the proceeds of the robbery. R. Shesheth demurred to this: If so [he said] why did not R. Jose the Galilean tell us his view in a case where the claimant [remits it] to himself, the rule then applying a fortiori to where he remits it to others? And again why did not R. Akiba tell his view that it is impossible to remit, to others, then arguing a fortiori that he cannot remit it to himself? R. Shesheth therefore said that the one ruling as well as the other is in accordance with R. Jose the Galilean, for the statement made by R. Jose the Galilean that it is possible to remit such a liability applies only where others get the benefit,15  whereas where he himself would benefit it would not be possible to remit it. Raba, however, said: The one ruling as well as the other [here,] is in accordance with R. Akiba, for when R. Akiba says that it is impossible to remit the liability, he means to himself, whereas to others15  it is possible for him to remit it.

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. [J.: 'both during my life and after my death.']
  2. As in this case it was the estate as such, and not as belonging to his father, which was declared forbidden; Ned. V, 3.
  3. Where no other heir could be traced to his father except himself.
  4. Lit., 'Arnaki', [G]; v. K. Krauss, Lehnworter, II, 133.
  5. Cf. supra p. 204 and p. 540.
  6. V. p. 635, n. 1.
  7. Supra Mishnah 103a.
  8. Num. V, 8.
  9. Cf.Kid. 21a and Sanh. 68b; for if he has no issue the inheritance will revert to ancestors and their descendants; v. B.B. VIII, 2.
  10. Who has no kinsman in law except the children born to him after he became a proselyte; cf. Sheb. X, 9 and Kid. 17b.
  11. Tosef. B.K. X.
  12. In all cases.
  13. The Mishnah on 103a will accordingly agree with R. Jose.
  14. Stated by him in the case of the proselyte.
  15. V. p. 636. n. 2.
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Baba Kamma 109b

This would imply that R. Jose the Galilean maintained that even to himself1  he could remit it. Now, if that is so, how could a case ever arise that restitution for robbery committed upon a proselyte2  should be made to the priests3  as ordained in the Divine Law? — Said Raba: We are dealing here with a case where one robbed a proselyte and [falsely] denied to him on oath [that he had done so], and the proselyte having died the robber confessed subsequently, on the proselyte's death,4  so that at the time he made confession God5  acquired title to it6  and granted it to the priests.7

Rabina asked: What would be the law where a proselytess was robbed? Shall we say that when the Divine Law says 'man'7  it does not include 'woman' or perhaps this is only the Scriptural manner of speaking? — Said R. Aaron to Rabina: Come and hear: It was taught: '[The] man';7  this tells me only that the law applies to a man; whence do I know that it applies also to a woman? When it is further stated 'That the trespass be restored'7  we have two cases mentioned.8  But if so, why was 'man' specifically mentioned? To show that only in the case of [a person who has reached] manhood9  is it necessary to investigate whether he had kinsmen10  or not, but in the case of a minor it is not necessary, since it is pretty certain that he could have no 'redeemers'.11

Our Rabbis taught: Unto the Lord even to the priest12  means that the Lord acquired title to it13  and granted it to the priest14  of that [particular] division. You say 'to the priest of that [particular] division', but perhaps it is not so, but to any priest whom the robber prefers? — Since it is further stated, Beside the ram of atonement whereby he shall make an atonement for him,12  it proves that Scripture referred to the priest of that [particular] division.

Our Rabbis taught: In the case where the robber was a priest, how do we know that he is not entitled to say: Since the payment would [in any case] have to go to the priests, now that it is in my possession it should surely remain mine? Cannot he argue that if he has a title to payment which is in the possession of others,15  all the more should he have a title to payment which he has in his own possession? R. Nathan put the argument in a different form: Seeing that a thing in which he had no share until it actually entered his possession cannot be taken from him once it has entered his possession,16  does it not stand to reason that a thing17  in which he had a share18  even before it came into his possession cannot be taken from him once it has come into his possession?19  This, however, is not so: for while this may be true20  of a thing in which he had no share, since in that case just as he had no share in it, so has nobody else any share in it, it is not necessarily true20  of the proceeds of robbery where just as he has a share in it, so also have others a share in it.21  The [payment for] robbery must therefore be taken away from his possession and shared out to all his bretheren the priests. But is it not written: And every man's hallowed things shall be his?22  — We are dealing here with a priest who was [levitically] defiled.23  But if the priest was defiled, could there be anything in which he should have a share?24  — [The fact is that] the ruling25  is derived by the analogy of the term, 'To the priest'26  to a similar term 'To the priest' occurring in the case of a field of [Permanent] possession,27  as taught:28  What is the point of the words the [permanent] possession thereof?27  [The point is this:] How can we know that if a field which would [in due course] have to fall to the priests in the jubilee27  but was redeemed by one of the priests, he should not have the right to say, 'Since the field is destined to fall to the priests in the jubilee and as it is already in my possession it should remain mine, as is indeed only reasonable to argue, for since I have a title to a field in the possession of others, should this not be the more so when the field is in my own possession?' The text therefore significantly says. As a field devoted, the [permanent] possession thereof shall be the priest's, to indicate that a field of [permanent] possession29  remains with him, whereas this [field]30  will not remain with him.31  What then is to be done with it? It is taken from him and shared out to all his brethren the priests.

Our Rabbis taught: Whence can we learn that a priest is entitled to come and sacrifice his offerings at any time and on any occasion he prefers? It is significantly stated, And come with all the desire of his mind … and shall minister.32  But whence can we learn that the fee for the sacrificial operation33  and the skin of the animal will belong to him? It is stated: And every man's hallowed thing shall be his,34  so that if he was blemished,35  he has to give the offering to a priest of that particular division, while the fee for the operation and the skin will belong to him,

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. V. p. 635. n. I.
  2. Who subsequently died without legal issue.
  3. For since the proselyte died without leaving legal issue, why should the robber not acquire title to the payment due for the robbery which is in his possession.
  4. For if the confession was made prior to his death the amount to be paid would have become a liability as a debt upon the robber and would thus become remitted through the subsequent death of the proselyte; cf. supra p. 283.
  5. Lit., 'the Name'.
  6. V. Men. 45b.
  7. V. p. 636, n. 3.
  8. Either because the term expressing 'recompense' or because the term expressing 'trespass' occurs there twice in the text (Rashi). — This solves the question propounded by R. Aaron.
  9. I.e., a proselyte who died after having already come of age.
  10. I.e., descendants, for his ancestors and collateral relatives are not entitled to inherit him; v. Kid. 17b.
  11. V. also Sanh. 68a-69b.
  12. V. p. 636, n. 3.
  13. V. p. 637, n. 7.
  14. On duty at the time of restoration. The priests were divided into twenty-four panels; v. I. Chron. XXIV, 1-18.
  15. [For as soon as the robbery of a proselyte is placed in the charge of a particular division, all priests of that division share a title to it.]
  16. [A priest may come and offer his own sacrifice at any time and retain the flesh and skin for himself without sharing it with the priests of the division on duty. Once he however gave it to another priest who hitherto had no title to it, he cannot reclaim it of him.]
  17. Such as payment for a robbery committed upon a proselyte.
  18. As soon as it was restored to anyone of the division.
  19. As in the case where the priest himself was the robber.
  20. That a priest may retain for himself the priestly portions in his possession.
  21. V. p. 638, n. 8.
  22. Num. V, 10. So that the right to sacrifice the trespass offering would be his. The flesh therefore consequently belongs to him, in which case the payment for the robbery should similarly remain with him.
  23. And as he is thus unable himself to sacrifice the trespass offering he cannot retain the payment.
  24. V. Zeb. XII, 1; how then comes it to be stated in the text that he would be entitled to a share as soon as it was restored to any one of the division?
  25. That a priest may not retain for himself the payment for a robbery he committed upon a proselyte, though he himself had a right to the sacrifice and the whole of the flesh.
  26. V. p. 636, n. 3.
  27. Cf. Lev. XXVII, 21.
  28. 'Ar. 25b.
  29. Which belonged as such to his father and was inherited by him; cf. Rashi' Ar. 25b.
  30. Which he redeemed from the Temple treasury.
  31. After the arrival of the jubilee.
  32. Deut. XVIII, 6-7.
  33. Lit., 'the reward of the service thereof'. I.e., the priestly portions thereof.
  34. Num. V. 10.
  35. And thus himself unable to sacrifice but able to partake of the portions in accordance with Lev. XXI, 17-22.
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