— Whose opinion is this? It is the opinion of R. Meir, who holds that when a man says a thing he must mean something by it1 That this view is probably correct is shown by the succeeding clause: Similarly if a man sanctifies himself he maintains himself from his own labour, since he has sanctified only his money value. Now if you say that this follows R. Meir, there is no difficulty.2 But if you say it follows the Rabbis,3 we can indeed understand [the rule] in reference to the slave, because he has a purchase price, but has the man himself a purchase price?4
May we say that the same difference5 is found between Tannaim [in the following passage]:6 If a man sanctifies his slave, then making use of him does not constitute me'ilah [trespass].7 Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says: Use of his hair constitutes trespass.8 Now is not the point at issue between the two authorities this, that one holds that the slave is sanctified and the other that he is not? — Do you really think so? Why then the expressions, 'constitutes trespass' and 'does not constitute trespass'? It should be, 'he is sanctified' and 'he is not sanctified'? No. Both hold that he is sanctified,9 and the point at issue here is that the one puts him in the same class with fixed property and the other with movable property.10 If that is so, while they differ with regard to his hair should they not differ with regard to his whole body? — The truth is, both hold that a slave is in the same category as fixed property, and they differ here in respect of his hair which is ready for cutting, the one holding that such hair is regarded as already cut, and the other that it is not.
Shall we say that the difference between these Tannaim11 is the same as the difference between these other Tannaim, as we have learnt: R. Meir says, There are certain things which both are and are not in the same category as fixed property,12 but the Sages do not agree with him. For instance, if a man says, I entrusted to you ten vines laden with fruit, and the other says, There were only five, R. Meir requires him to take an oath,13 but the Sages say that anything attached to the soil is in the same category as the soil.14 And [commenting on this] R. Jose son of R. Haninah said that the practical difference between them arose in the case of grapes which were ripe for gathering, R. Meir holding that they were regarded as already gathered and the Rabbis that they were not so regarded? — You may even say that R. Meir [does not differ in the case of the hair]. For R. Meir would apply this principle15 only to the case of grapes which would spoil by being left, but not to hair which improves the longer it is left.
When R. Hiyya b. Joseph went up [to Palestine], he reported this dictum16 of Rab to R. Johanan. Said the latter: Did Rab really say that? But did not R. Johanan himself say the same?17 Has not 'Ulla said in the name of R. Johanan: If a man declares his slave common property, he becomes a free man, but he requires a deed of emancipation? — What R. Johanan meant was, Did Rab really take the same view as I [take]? Others report that [R. Hiyya] did not give him the whole of Rab's statement,18 and he said to him, And did not Rab say that he requires a deed of emancipation? In this R. Johanan would be consistent, since 'Ulla said in the name of R. Johanan, If a man declares his slave common property, he becomes a free man, but he requires a deed of emancipation.
The text above [stated]: 'Ulla said in the name of R. Johanan: If a man declares his slave common property, he becomes a free man, but requires a deed of emancipation.' R. Abba raised the following objection against 'Ulla: 'If a proselyte dies [without heirs] and Israelites seize19 his property,20 if there are slaves included in it, whether grown up or not grown up, they become their own masters as free men. Abba Saul. however, says that the grown-ups become their own masters as free men21 but the minors become the property of whoever first seizes them.'22 Now who has written a deed of emancipation for these?23 — 'Ulla replied: This Rabbi seems to imagine that people do not study the law. But what after all is the reason [why the slaves require no deed of emancipation]? — R. Nahman replied: 'Ulla was of opinion that the slave of a proselyte comes under the same rule as his wife. Just as his wife is liberated24 [after his death] without a Get, so his slave is liberated without a deed of emancipation. But if that is so, the same rule25 should apply to an Israelite? — Scripture says, And ye shall make them (Canaanitish slaves) an inheritance for your children after you to hold for a possession.26 If that is the case, then if a man declares his slave common property and then dies, the slave should also [not require a deed of emancipation].27 How is it then that Amemar has said that if a man declares his slave common property and then dies, nothing can be done for the slave?28 — [This saying] of Amemar is indeed a difficulty.
R. Jacob b. Idi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: The halachah follows Abba Saul.29 R. Zera asked R. Jacob b. Idi:
Did you actually hear this [from R. Joshua], or do you infer it [from something he said]? — Infer it from what? [he replied]. — From the following statement of R. Joshua b. Levi: 'They put the following question to Rabbi: If a man says, I give up hope of recovering my slave So-and-so,1 what [is the status of the latter]? Rabbi said to them, In my view he has no remedy2 save through a deed [of emancipation].' Referring to this R. Johanan said: What was Rabbi's reason? He laid stress on the occurrence of the word 'to her' [in the Scripture] in connection both with a slave and a wife,3 and drew the lesson that just as a woman requires a document [a Get] [to enable her to marry],4 so does a slave [who has been declared public property]. Now, [continued R. Zera] I assume that you draw [from Rabbi's statement the inference that] just as the woman [is released (by the deed) from] a ritual prohibition5 and not a monetary obligation, so the slave [is one who is released from] a ritual prohibition and not [from] a monetary obligation.6 [R. Jacob replied:] Suppose I have only made an inference, what [difference does it make]? — He replied: On the contrary, you can draw just the opposite inference: Just as the woman can be either a grown-up or a child, so the slave7 can be either a grown-up or a child. [R. Jacob then] said to him: I heard it distinctly [from R. Joshua b. Levi].
R. Hiyya b. Abba, however, said in the name of R. Johanan that the halachah does not follow Abba Saul. Said R. Zera to R. Hiyya b. Abba: Did you actually hear this [from R. Johanan], or do you infer it [from something you heard]? — Infer it from what? [he said.] — From the following statement of R. Joshua b. Levi: 'The following question was put to Rabbi: If a man says, I give up hope of recovering my slave So-and-so, what [is the status of the latter]? Rabbi said to them: In my view he has no remedy save through a deed of emancipation. Referring to this R. Johanan said: What was Rabbi's reason? He laid stress on the occurrence in the Scripture of the words 'to her' in connection [both with a slave] and with a wife, drawing the lesson that just as a [divorced] wife requires a document [to enable her to marry], so does a slave [who has been declared public property].' Now [continued R. Zera], I assume that you draw from Rabbi's statement the inference that just as the wife may be either grown-up or not grown-up, so the slave may be either grown-up or not grown-up. [R. Hiyya replied:] Suppose I have only made an inference, what [difference does it make]? — He replied: On the contrary, you can draw just the opposite inference: just as the woman is [released from] a ritual prohibition and not a monetary obligation, so the slave is one who is [released from] a ritual prohibition and not a monetary obligation. R. Hiyya then said: I heard it distinctly [from R. Johanan].
The Master said: '[Rabbi] said to them, In my view he has no remedy save through a deed of emancipation.' But has it not been taught: 'Rabbi says, The slave can also offer his own purchase price and so liberate himself, because the treasurer [of the sanctuary] as it were sells him to himself'?8 — What he meant was this: [A liberated slave can become enabled to marry] either by ransoming himself or by obtaining a deed of emancipation; and in this case9 the ownership has ceased.10 Rabbi thus rejects the view of the following Tanna. It has been taught, namely: R. Simeon says in the name of R. Akiba, May we presume that money payment completes her emancipation in the same way as a deed completes her emancipation?11 [This cannot be,] since it says, and she be not at all redeemed.12 The keywords of the whole section13 are because she was not free.14 This shows that a document completes her emancipation, but not a money payment.15
Rami b. Hama said in the name of R. Nahman that the halachah [in this matter] follows R. Simeon, and R. Joseph b. Hama said in the name of R. Johanan that the halachah does not follow R. Simeon. R. Nahman b. Isaac once came across Raba b. She'ilta as he was standing at the entrance of the synagogue, and said to him, Does the halachah follow R. Simeon or does it not? — He replied, I say that it does not, but the Rabbis who have come from Mahuza report that R. Zera said in the name of R. Nahman that it does. When I was in Sura I came across R. Hiyya b. Abin and said to him, Tell me now what were the essential facts of the case.16 He said to me: There was a certain female slave whose master was at the point of death. So she came crying to him and saying, How long am I to go on being a slave? He thereupon took his cap and threw it to her saying, Go and acquire this and acquire yourself with it.17 The case was brought before R. Nahman and he said, His action was null and void. Those who were present thought that R. Nahman's reason for his decision was that the halachah follows R. Simeon,18 but this is not correct; his reason was that the man used an article belonging to the transferor.19
R. Samuel b. Ahithai said in the name of R. Hamnuna the Elder, who said it in the name of R. Isaac b. Ashian who said it in the name of R. Huna who said it in the name of R. Hamnuna: The halachah follows R. Simeon. This, however, is not correct; the halachah does not follow R. Simeon.
R. Zera said in the name of R. Hanina who said it in the name of R. Ashi;20 Rabbi said, If a slave marries a free woman in the presence of his master,
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