Bava Batra 37

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Feb 282017
 

If one profits from only 10 out of 30 trees (that are growing in a field of 3 beit seah) each year (and each year a different 10), one can still create a chazaka on the whole field, both according to the rabbis and Rabbi Yishmael.  However there are two limitations to this halacha.  If one sold all one’s property to two people – to one the trees and to the other, the land,  does the one who purchased the trees also acquire the land under/around the trees.  How does that differ from one who sold the rights to the trees in one’s own property?  Or if one sold the land but kept the trees?  How does that case relate to the argument of Rabbi Akiva and the rabbis regarding one who sold a field but kept a pit or cistern for him/herself – did one leave oneself a path to get there or does one need to buy a path from the buyer in order to get there.

Bava Batra 36

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Feb 272017
 

One who buys from a non Jew who bought originally from a Jew needs to prove that the non Jew bought it from the Jew – either by providing the document or by claiming he/she saw the original sale (in the event that he/she had also lived on the land for 3 years).  But proof that the non Jew lived there for three years without the owner protesting doesn’t help as there is an assumption that one may not protest against a non Jew out of fear.  A number of other assumptions about human behavior are made on this daf.  One generally doesn’t bring tools and harvest in a field that is not one’s own.  One wouldn’t protest land that is unlikely to grow crops or unprotected land whose produce will likely be eaten by the animals, or produce that is forbidden to sell by law (orla, shmita, kelaim).  There is a big debate regarding whether or not plowing would be considered an act of chazaka if the owner did not protest.

Feb 262017
 

Two people claimed ownership over a boat, the law of “may the stronger one prevail” kicks in.  If one of them asks the court to seize the property to prevent that law from kicking in to buy time in which he/she can find evidence to support his/her claim, can they?  And if the court does seize it, can they release it in the event that no further proof is found.  If two claim ownership to land but neither can prove it, Rav Nachman says: “the stronger one prevails.”  There are many interpretations explaining the logic behind this law (which seems more like anarchy than a law).  The gemara then compares it to various other cases of doubtful situations where either the law is that it gets split 50/50 or the judges can decide which side gets the item in question.  The gemara now reverts back to the first mishna regarding how long it takes for one to have a chazaka on the land.  It brings an example where one can have a chazaka immediately.  Rav Zevid limits this case and his explanation is questioned by Rav Ashi.  In the end it seems clear that if one had a sharecropper or sold one rights to the fruits of the property, one must make sure that before three years pass, one must state a protest or explain that the person has rights only to the fruits.  Otherwise, the other can claim ownership.  The same is true for land used for collateral where the fruits the lender eats are used to pay back the loan (mashkanta d’sura)

Feb 242017
 

More cases are over doubts about land are brought.  One who was living on property that others claimed belonged to orphans.  Another involved a disagreement about inheritors – who was the closest inheritor.  Since neither had proof, one went to live on the land and when he later admitted he was not the closer relative, there was a debate whether he needed to return all the produce he had eaten or did he just have to return the land from the point of his admission.  If one brings one witness to support his claim that he ate for 3 years, can we turn that witness against him and say that he now needs to pay for the produce that he ate, based on the law that one witness requires him to swear and in this case since he cannot swear (because he already said he ate the produce), he needs to pay?

Bava Batra 32

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Feb 232017
 

Rav Nachman was not concerned that overturning a ruling of the court based on new testimony would cause a lack fo respect in the future for the courts.  He relied on Rabbi Elazar and Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel’s ruling in a case of a kohen about whom concern was raised that he was the son of a kohen and a divorcee.  The details of the exact case are clarified and lead to the fact that all agree that one can overturn a ruling – the debate was over a different issue – can 2 individual witnesses testify each separately and it can be considered one testimony?  Other cases are brought where one brings a document and the other side accuses him for bringing a false document.  Then the one who brought the document says that the document is a forgery but there was a real document that got lot.  Is the claim valid as a “ma li leshaker” – since he could have lied and said it was a valid docuemnt.  The commentaries disagree as to the exact details of the case – was it really a forged document or was it a shtar amana?  How do we rule in cases like this?

Bava Batra 31

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Feb 222017
 

More cases are brought concerning claims on property.  Within the discussion of the cases, various issues come up – is one’s claim believed if he could have made a better claim (ma li lshaker)?  That works as long as there aren’t witnesses against him.  If part of the testimony in court is cancelled out because contradictory testimony is brought against it, do we throw out the entire claim or do we leave the part that wasn’t contradicted?  If new evidence is brought which contradicts the evidence upon which the court ruled in favor of one side, should the court reverse its decision and take the land away or should they stick with the original decision because if they don’t, it will that cause people to lose respect for the courts?

Bava Batra 29

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Feb 202017
 

Rava gives a third interpretation of why one can claim ownership over land one has been living in for three years.  After a few comments by Abaye, Rava clarifies his statement and gives a conclusive explanation.  Rav Huna says that the three years need to be consecutive.  Various comments are made on this statement including questions, qualifying statements, etc.   The gemara begins to brings actual cases that happened and discuss what the halacha is in the various cases.

Bava Batra 28

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Feb 192017
 

If one is living on a property for a period of time and the original owner does not protest, if the one living on the property cannot produce documentation of ownership, but claims that he/she bought the land or was given it as a gift, that is enough to prove ownership as one cannot be expected to save documentation for a long period of time.  How much time is generally 3 years however it depends on what type of property and what signs of ownership.  Rabbi Yishmael holds that it is sufficient to have 3 harvests of different types of fruits, that would be sufficient.  Also how to calculate 3 years depends of the type of land – three full years or parts of the first and last year with a whole year in the middle.  The gemara then attempts to derive the source for 3 years/harvests. Two answers are brought – one a comparison to a shor muad and another learned out from a verse in Yirmiyahu where he tells the people to buy land and write documents and save them as they will only be in the land for two years – assumption: if it were 3, there would be no need for documentation.  The gemara questions the first interpretation however brings answers – although in the end, the comparison only works for Rabbi Yishmael’s opnion.  The Yirmiyahu proof is rejected as it is said that it can be viewed as good advice only and not as halacha.

Bava Batra 26

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Feb 172017
 

How much does one need to distance his tree from another’s property?  One reason for the distance is to leave room for the neighbor to plow.  If one’s roots grow into a neighboring field, one can cut them to a certain distance depending on why one is cutting them (what one needs the space for).  Various cases are brought discussing these halachot.  The mishna says that when one is allowed to cut the roots of a neighbor’s tree, the wood from the roots goes to “him.”  The gemara tries to figure out whether the “him” refers to the owner of the tree or the owner of the neighboring field.  Ulla says that since roots of a tree will get nourishment from a neighboring field if it is within 16 cubits, one does not bring Bikurim from such a tree.  The gemara tries to bring sources to see where he gets to that number from.