If you hire someone to fix something and they break it, they are responsible to pay you the value of it. Rav Asi holds that if you give someone wood to build you a closet and he builds it but breaks it before he gives it to you, he is not responsible for the broken item because the object is considered in his possession and he is like a seller who sells it back to you. THere is a long debate about whether Rav Asi’s statement is agreed upon by everyone or if there is room for another opinion. In attempting to see if tannaim debated this issue, an argument between Rabbi Meir and the Rabbis is brought regarding a woman who says to a smith to make her jewels with her own materials and she will be betrothed to him with those jewels. The gemara suggest 4 different options as to what the principles are that stand behind their argument.
More discussions on the effects of currency changes on outstanding loans – distinctions are made between the percentage of change. Raba brings 4 halachot where indirect damage is concerned and rules in all 4 cases that the one who caused the damage is exempt. Different important halachic principles are discussed such as garmei and davar hagorem lemamon – an item that can have monetary significance even if the item is not worth anything at the time.
The mishna distinguishes between noticeable changes and those that aren’t noticeable. The robber acquires only through a noticeable change. There is a debate in the mishna regarding slaves – whether they are treated like land in which the robber does not acquire the slave or is it like movable property and it is acquired by the robber. Rav paskens like Rabbi Meir that the slaves are like land. This psak is questionedby the gemara from a number of different directions. Can usage of a stolen slave who isn’t working be compared to usage of an uninhabited house – where one who uses another’s house since he isn’t causing a loss for the owner, he does not need to pay? What if one uses another’s boat without permission, what does he need to pay the owner? The mishna distunguishes between coins that are ruined physically and those that are removed from currency. The rabbis debate what exactly is the case of removed from currency – cannot be used in that country but can be used in another or cannot be used anywhere? The gemara gets into a case of one who takes a loan valued at an old currency and when he goes to pay back the loan, the currency is no longer in use. Rav and Shmuel debate the case and Shmuel’s opinion is questioned especially in light of how Rav Nachman understand’s Shmuel’s psak.
Shmuel lists 3 people who can demand land that they are owed – even if it’s valued higher now because its value increased – and then need to return the value of the increase to the other. A contradictory statement of Shmuel is brought and it is reconciled. When one steals and item and it increases in value while in his possession, the increase goes to him and even to those who he sells it to or to his inheritors. Rava asks a question based on this regarding a non Jew. Cases are brought where some sort of change happens to the item and the gemara determines whether this is a significant change that would enable the robber to acquire the item or not. Based on the mishna, the gemara concludes that if one steals oxen and uses them to work his field and then returns them as they were when he stole them, he is not obligated to compensate the owner for the use of the animal as he fulfilled his obligation to return them. However in an exceptional case where someone is consistently doing this and abusing the system, he would be obligated.
Abaye brings halachot of 5 different tannaim and claims that all of them agree that changing an item doesn’t change ownership over it. Rava disagrees and explains why each case is unique and can’t teach a general principle. Rabbi Yochanan holds that one has to return the stolen item as is and not the value of it as discussed previously. The gemara questions his opinion from another source but then explains that when Rabbi Yochanan made his statement, it was a case where the change was reversible. But if it was an irreversible change, he would only be required to pay the value at the time of the theft. Robbers and usurers who want to return from their bad ways should return the items they stole/collected but the ones they stole/collected from should not accept it from them in order to encourage them to repent. The gemara brings various sources that seem to contradict this halacha and reconciles them.
Rava and Raba bar Meri continue to derive sources from the Torah for various values statements. The gemara then brings two different reasons for the distinction the mishna makes between a case where one exempts amonther for inflicting upon him bodily damage to a case where one exempts another for destroying his possessions. A contradiction between our mishna and a braita relating to laws of shomrim (where one is exempt if someone gave him an item to destroy) and two different answers are given. One who is in charge of charity funds is not responsible if something happens to the money. However an exception to this rule is brought. The ninth chapter begins with a discussion of a thief and his ultimate ownership over the item he stole in the event that the item changes or he changes it. Various mishnayot and braitot are brought which seem to contradict the mishna and each other and various possibilities are brought to reconcile them.