a deed may be written for the seller though the buyer is not with him. [In this case,] as soon as [the buyer] takes possession of the ground he acquires [also] the deed, irrespective of the place in which it is kept. And this accords with what we have learnt [that] movable property may be acquired with landed property by means of money. deed and possession.1 Cattle are called property; for we learnt: If a person consecrated his property2 which contained cattle suitable [as sacrifices] for the altar; males are to be sold3 for4 burnt offerings, and females are to be sold for5 peace offerings.6 Birds are called property; for we learnt: If a person consecrated his property which contained things suitable [for sacrifices] for the altar, [such as] wines, oils and birds [etc.].7 Phylacteries are called property; for we learnt: If a person consecrated his property, [his] phylacteries [also] are taken away8 from him.9
The question was raised: What [is the law in the case of] a scroll of the Law; is [it] not [regarded as] property, since It is unsalable because it is prohibited to sell it, or, perhaps. since it may be sold in order to study Torah or to take a wife,10 it is [regarded as] property? — This is undecided.
(Mnemonic:11 Zutra, the mother of Amram of two sisters, R. Tobi and R. Dimi and R. Joseph.)
The mother of R. Zutra b. Tobia gave her property in writing. to R. Zutra b. Tobiah, because she intended to marry R. Zebid.12 She [duly] married, but was [subsequently] divorced. She [thereupon] appeared before R. Bibi b. Abaye.13 He said: [She made a gift of her property] because she desired to marry14 and, behold she married.15 R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said unto him, 'Because you are [yourselves] frail [beings] you speak frail words'.16 Even according to him who said [that a gift given by] a woman who wished to keep it away from her future husband is acquired [by the recipient], this law is only applicable17 [to a case] where [the woman] did not declare her reason. Here, however, she has [specifically] declared that [she made the gift] because she [wished] to marry. and, surely. [though] she married, she was [now] divorced.18
The mother19 of Rami b. Hama gave her property in writing to Rami b. Hama, in the evening; [but] in the morning she gave them in writing to R. 'Ukba b. Hama. Rami b. Hama came before R. Shesheth who confirmed him in the possession of the property. R. 'Ukba b. Hama, [however]. went to R. Nahman who [similarly] confirmed him in the possession of the property. R. Shesheth [thereupon] appeared before R. Nahman [and] said unto him, 'what is the reason [that] the Master has confirmed R. 'Ukba b. Hama in possession? Is it because she retracted? Surely she died'!20 He21 replied unto him: Thus said Samuel, 'Wherever a person may retract if he recovered,22 he may [also] withdraw his gift'.23 May it be suggested24 that Samuel said [this25 in the case only where the withdrawal was] for himself; did he, [however], say [this25 in the case where the withdrawal was in favour] of another person?26 He27 replied unto him: Samuel distinctly stated, 'whether for himself or for another'.
The mother of R. Amram the pious had a case28 of notes [of indebtedness]. While she was dying she said, 'Let it be [given] to my son Amram'. His brothers appeared before R. Nahman [and] said to him, 'Surely he29 did not pull30 [the case of documents]'! He replied unto them: The instructions of a dying person [are regarded legally] as written and delivered.31
The sister of R. Tobi b. R. Mattenah gave her possessions, in writing. to R. Tobi b. R. Mattenah in the morning. In the evening, Ahadboi son of R. Mattenah came [and] wept before her, saying: Now [people will] say [that] one32 is a scholar33 and the other is no scholar. [So] she gave them in writing to him. He [subsequently] appeared before R. Nahman, [who] said unto him: Thus said Samuel, 'Wherever a person may retract if he recovers, he may [also] withdraw his gift'.34
The sister of R. Dimi b. Joseph had a piece of an orchard. Whenever she fell ill she transferred the ownership of it to him,
Baba Bathra 151b
but as [soon as] she recovered she withdrew. On one occasion she fell ill and sent [word] to him, 'Come [and] take possession'. He replied,1 'I have no desire'. [Thereupon] she [again] sent [word] to him, 'Come [and] take possession in whatever manner you desire'.2 [Then] he went, left for her [some portion of the intended gift]3 and [symbolic] acquisition from her was [also] arranged.4 As she [again] recovered she retracted [and] came before R. Nahman.5 He sent for him.6 He, [however,] did not come, saying, 'Why should I come? Surely, [some portion of the estate] was left to her and [symbolic] acquisition from her [also] took place.'7 [Thereupon] he sent to him, [the following message]: 'If you do not come I will chastise you with a thorn that causes no blood to flow'.8 He9 asked the witnesses how the incident had occurred, [and] they told him [that when she sent for her brother] she exclaimed thus: 'Alas that I am dying'.10 He said unto them: If so, the disposal11 [of her estate was] due to [her expectation of] death, and he that gives instructions owing to [his expectation of] death, may retract.
It was stated: [In the case where] a dying man presented a part12 [of his estate], Raba13 said in the name of R. Nahman: It is like the gift of a man in good health and requires [symbolic] acquisition. The Rabbis reported the following,14 in the presence of Raba, in the name of Mar Zutra, son of R. Nahman, who reported in the name of R. Nahman: It is like the gift of a man in good health; and it is like the gift of a man who is dying. 'It is like the gift of a man in good health', in that if he recovered he [can] not retract; and 'it is like the gift of a man who is dying', in that no [symbolic] acquisition is required.15 Raba said unto them: Did I not tell you [that] you shall not hang empty jars on R. Nahman?16 Thus said R. Nahman: It is like the gift of a man in good health and requires [symbolic] acquisition.
Raba raised an objection against R. Nahman: [IF] HE LEFT [FOR HIMSELF] ANY LAND WHATSOEVER, HIS GIFT IS VALID.17 Does not [this refer to the case] where no [symbolic] acquisition from him took place?18 — No; where symbolic acquisition did take place. If so.explain the second clause: [IF. HOWEVER] HE DID NOT LEAVE [FOR HIMSELF] ANY LAND WHATSOEVER, HIS GIFT IS INVALID!17 Now if, [as you assert, our Mishnah refers to the case] where symbolic acquisition took place.18 why is his gift invalid? — He replied unto him: Thus said Samuel, 'If a dying man gave all his property, in writing, to strangers, although [symbolic] acquisition took place,19 he may retract if he recovered, because it is known that he disposed20 [of his estate] only on account of [his expectation of] death.
R. Mesharsheya raised an objection against Raba: The mother of the sons of Rokel once fell ill and she said, 'Let my brooch21 be given to my daughter', and it was worth twelve maneh,' and when she died they fulfilled her words?22 — There [it was a case] of an Instruction [clearly] given owing to [the expectation of] death.23
Rabina raised an objection against Raba: If a person said, 'Give this bill of divorce to my wife', or, '[Give] this writ of emancipation to my slave', and he died, it must not be delivered after [his] death.24 [If. however, he said.] 'Give a maneh to X, and he died, it is to be given [to X] after [the testator's] death!25 — And what reason is there to assume that no symbolic acquisition took place?26 — [Because it27 is obviously] similar to a bill of divorce;28 as a bill of divorce is not an object for [symbolic] acquisition.29 so this27 also [was not attended by] a symbolic acquisition!30 — There31 also [it is a case] of one giving instructions [clearly] on account [of his expectation] of death. R. Huna the son of R. Joshua replied: Elsewhere, an Instruction [given] owing to [the expectation of] death requires [symbolic] acquisition. but the Mishnayoth mentioned refer [to the case]32 of one who distributed all his estate,33 for in such a case it was given the same legal force as34 the gift of a dying man.35
And the law is [that where] a dying man presented a part [of his estate].36 [symbolic] acquisition is required although he [subsequently] died. [If. however] his instructions [concerning the gift] were due to [his expectation of] death, no [symbolic] acquisition is required. This, however, [only] when he died; [if] he recovered he [may] retract even though [symbolic] acquisition from him took place.37
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