If a property is left to siblings and they disagree about whether to keep the property, rent it out or sell, can one force the other to implement his position? If there are two people with the same name, can they collect loans from others, can others collect loans from them and can they collect a loan one loaned to the other. There is a three-way debate regarding these issues between our mishna and 2 other braitot. The logic behind each of the opinions is discussed.
If one pays back part of a loan, what should be done? Three opinions are brought and discussed. The connection between whether or not one can write a receipt and whether or not one can post date a contract is discussed.
A braita is brought regarding one who comes to court claiming one has proof of ownership of the land both in the form of a shtar and a chazaka (lived on the land for 3 years without the owner protesting). There is a debate between Rebbi and Rashbag about whether one needs to bring the shtar or the chazaka as proof (or either or). The gemara brings 5 explanations as to what the case is and therefore what is at the root of the debate. If one pays back half of a loan – what is do
In a case of a lost document, can one write up a new document to replace the old one? In which cases is this ok? And in which cases are we worried one may pull out the old document at a later time and claim land that doesn’t belong to him/her? Two very basic disagreements are discussed – is a guarantee a basic part of any sale – meaning that if it isn’t written in the document does one assume that it was sold with a guarantee? And does passing on a shtar (deed of sale) to another affect a kinyan – is the item acquired by the receiver, even though the name on the deed is the one who gave it to him/her?
The gemara discusses why in particular cases one side needs to pay for the document to be written or why the mishna needed to specify that they needed to pay – isn’t is obvious? A classic case of asmachta is brought – where one pays back part of one’s loan and both sides agree to give the document to a third party (instead of writing a receipt that part was paid). If the borrower declares, “I will pay by a particular date and if not, you can return the document to the creditor,” there is a debate about whether or not the creditor can claim the whole amount (in the event that the loan is not paid back on time). The gemara concludes that asmachta is not a valid transaction and one would not need to pay in this case. What does one do if the document is erased or torn?
How can one tell whether dinarim is referring to gold or silver? In which types of discrepancies between the top part of the document and the bottom part do we hold by the bottom and in which cases by the top? If an amount is given but not the type of coin, how do we determine which coin was meant? Abaye teaches halachot regarding how to avoid forgeries and then several cases ar brought where people tried to defraud him or others but was brought before him and he detected the forgery. The mishna teaches what types of documents can be written by one side without the knowledge of the other and which ones need to be written with the knowledge of both sides? Who pays for the document to be written? Also the scribe needs to know the people involved to prevent the person from giving the document to someone else with the same name.
Rashbag’s opinion in the mishna is discussed – what was he referring to when he said, “it goes by the local minhag?” In what case does he disagree with Tanna Kamma? Why does the mishna need to specify that one witness in a get pashut is invalid – isn’t that obvious? Two answers are brought. According to one answer, the case is where there is one witness on the document and one who is not signed on the document but testifies about what is written in the document. There is a debate about whether or not this case is valid. One opinion brings as his proof a story relating to Rabbi Yirmiya and how he was allowed to reenter the Beit Midrash after being kicked out. There are four versions about what case the story related to. The mishna discusses cases where there is a contradiction in the amount of money mentioned in the document. Depending on the situation, there are different ways of deciding which amount is “correct.”
Additional laws relating to preventing forged documents are discussed – particularly as relates to documents that were erased and text was written above them. On a tied document (get mekushar) the dating system was different than on the regular document. Based on that, Rabbi Chanina ben Gamliel’s opinion in the mishna is questioned as he said that a tied docuemnt can be turned into a straight one and if the dating system is different, that could lead to problems? The gemara diverges into a conversation about lashon hara.
When the braita said that two spaces are not allowed but one is, did they mean 2 lines plus space between the lines? If so, how many lines of space? Rav and Rabbi Yochanan have a disagreement if one also needs to leave a space between the signatures of the witnesses and the ratification of the courts. One says lots of space can be left and the other says no space at all can be left. The gemara discusses according to each interpretation why there would or would not be a concern for forgeries in each situation.
In what other ways can we ensure that documents are not forged? How much space can be left between the wording and the signatures?