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Bava Metzia, 48
1) THE STATUS OF "KINYAN KESEF"
QUESTIONS: The Gemara teaches that even if Kesef is not a valid Kinyan mid'Oraisa,
the Chachamim instituted that a person who wants to retract from a purchase for which
he has already paid must receive the curse of "Mi she'Para," effectively preventing a
person from retracting from a purchase that was made with Kinyan Kesef.
2) MAKING A "KINYAN" THROUGH THE FORGIVING OF A LOAN
RASHI (DH Kai) asks that according to this, what is the difference whether Kinyan
Kesef is mid'Oraisa or not? Even if Kesef is not Koneh mid'Oraisa, a person may not
retract from a purchase that was done with Kinyan Kesef! (Rashi might be following
his opinion expressed elsewhere. Rashi always defines "Kinyan" to mean that a person
may no longer retract from the agreement. See Gemara on 45b, and see Rashi on 45a.)
Rashi answers that the practical difference between whether or not Kesef is Koneh
mid'Oraisa is with regard to Isurim. For example, "if a person used it to be Mekadesh
a woman," then according to Rebbi Yochanan (who says that Kinyan Kesef is valid
mid'Oraisa) the Kidushin is valid, and according to Reish Lakish, the Kidushin is not
There are a number of important questions that may be asked on Rashi's explanation.
(a) Rashi implies that it is difficult to find a practical difference between the
views of Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish. There seem, however, to be a number of
obvious differences which Rashi could have mentioned which are discussed openly in
1. The Gemara mentions several times that in unusual circumstances, Kesef is still
Koneh according to Rebbi Yochanan, since the Chachamim did not annul the Kinyan in
such circumstances. For this reason, according to Rebbi Yochanan, a Kinyan Kesef
takes effect when a person is Koneh a cow with the "price," or value, of an ox (46b),
meaning the money that he owes for an ox, and a Kinyan Kesef takes effect when a
person purchases an object with a lump sum of money and does not show concern about
the exact amount (47a). In addition, the Gemara (49b) teaches that when the
merchandise purchased with Kesef is in the buyer's attic which is rented to the
seller, the sale is valid since the buyer will protect the merchandise there, since
it is in his property (and there is no need to enact that Kinyan Kesef will not work
in order to encourage the seller to save the merchandise). In all of these cases, the
Kinyan is not valid according to Reish Lakish, but it is valid according to Rebbi
anan. (PNEI YEHOSHUA, MAHARAM SHIF; the RITVA indeed suggests that these are the
practical differences between the views of Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish.)
(b) Why should the Kidushin be valid according to Rebbi Yochanan? If the Chachamim
annulled Kinyan Kesef, then the rule of "Hefker Beis Din Hefker" should be applied to
teach that the object does not belong to the buyer even though he made a Kinyan
Kesef. If he uses it to be Mekadesh a woman, it should not be valid, since the
Chachamim removed it from his possession! (RITVA)
2. The Gemara later teaches that when a person pays money of Hekdesh to purchase
food, according to Rebbi Yochanan he is Chayav Me'ilah since the Kinyan takes effect
mid'Oraisa, while according to Reish Lakish he is not Chayav Me'ilah. (PNEI
3. Rashi earlier (47b, DH Kach Tiknu) writes that if the buyer sees a fire
approaching the merchandise for which he paid but which he did not yet take, he is
able to retract from the purchase. Rashi's words imply that he agrees with the view
of the BA'AL HA'ME'OR who rules that after the merchandise is destroyed, it is too
late for the buyer to back out of the deal, according to Rebbi Yochanan. The loss
must be suffered by him since he was already Koneh the merchandise with Kinyan Kesef.
Although the Chachamim said that a Meshichah must be done in order to finalize the
purchase, they did not revoke the Kinyan Kesef. Rather, they instituted that even
after the Kinyan Kesef, the buyer may retract while the merchandise is still in
existence, as long as he did not do Meshichah. (See Insights to 47b.)
Accordingly, there is an important practical difference between Rebbi Yochanan and
Reish Lakish. When the merchandise is destroyed before the Meshichah is done,
according to Reish Lakish the loss is suffered by the seller, since the buyer never
made a Kinyan on it. According to Rebbi Yochanan, the loss is suffered by the buyer,
since he did make a Kinyan and did not take advantage of the Takanah d'Rabanan that
allowed him to retract from the Kinyan. (MAHARAM SHIF)
4. Another practical difference is the type of Kinyan that a *Nochri* may use to
acquire an object. The Gemara in Bechoros (13a) teaches that whatever Kinyan the
Torah prescribes for Jews, the opposite type of Kinyan must be used by a Nochri.
Therefore, according to Rebbi Yochanan a Nochri can be Koneh only with Meshichah.
According to Reish Lakish, a Nochri can be Koneh only with Kesef (the Chachamim did
not change the Kinyan of a Nochri).
(a) Perhaps Rashi does not mention these other practical differences between the
views of Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish for the following reasons:
1. Rashi does not mention the cases which are not common, because he is looking for a
*common* practical difference. Perhaps the case in which the attic belongs to the
buyer and is rented to the seller is also not common enough for Rashi to mention it.
(b) There are a number of reasons suggested by the Acharonim for why Rashi does not
apply the rule of "Hefker Beis Din Hefker" with regard to a purchase made with Kinyan
Another possibility is that Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish (on 47b) are arguing
about the statement of the Mishnah (44a), "Keitzad... Nasan Lo Ma'os...." Since the
Mishnah states that the Kinyan is *not* valid, it obviously is not discussing any of
the cases in which Rebbi Yochanan maintains that the Kinyan Kesef *is* valid.
2. Rashi *does* mean to include Me'ilah as one of the practical differences between
Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish. This is what he means when he writes that the
difference between them is with regard "to Isurim." He is just citing one example of
an Isur when he mentions Kidushin, which can be derived from the Gemara's statement
that the Isur of Me'ilah is a practical difference. (Rashi prefers Kidushin to
Me'ilah as a practical difference, because it applies even today, while objects
subject to Me'ilah today are rare.)
3. Rashi is looking for a practical difference in which Reish Lakish will say that
the Kinyan is not valid and "Mi she'Para" will not apply, as we mentioned in the
question. When Rashi writes that the buyer may retract when he sees a fire
approaching the merchandise, he means that the buyer is not even bound by "Mi
she'Para" to continue with the deal, as TOSFOS says (47b, DH Iy). Since the buyer
will suffer a significant loss by not retracting from the purchase, "Mi she'Para"
does not apply. Perhaps Rashi maintains that after the merchandise is destroyed, "Mi
she'Para" *would* apply, since the buyer -- by retracting -- will cause the seller a
significant loss. It is only while the fire is approaching that he is permitted to
retract, in order to prompt the seller -- who becomes the owner when the buyer
retracts -- to do whatever he can to prevent the fire from harming the merchandise.
4. The PNEI YEHOSHUA writes that Rashi indeed could have mentioned the difference of
whether a Nochri is Koneh with Meshichah or with Kesef.
Alternatively, Rashi might accept the opinion of RABEINU CHAIM HA'KOHEN (cited by
Tosfos on 48b) who suggests that according to some Amora'im Kesef is Koneh for both a
Jew and a Nochri.
Third, our suggestion earlier (in 1 above) that Rashi is looking for a difference
which applies to the case written in the Mishnah (44a) will also answer why Rashi
does not mention the practical difference of how a Nochri is Koneh.
1. The AVNEI MILU'IM (28:33) writes that according to Rashi, a Kinyan instituted by
the Chachamim is not recognized on the d'Oraisa level. Consequently, with regard to
Kidushin (which involves the creation of an Isur d'Oraisa), we are concerned only
with who owns the object from a d'Oraisa point of view. Even though the Chachamim
enacted that the buyer can back out of the purchase through "Hefker Beis Din Hefker,"
they cannot actually remove the object from the owner's possession. This means that
through "Hefker Beis Din Hefker" the Chachamim do not actually transfer the ownership
of the object, but rather they instituted that we treat it as though another person
A question on this approach may be asked from the fact that Rashi does not mention as
a practical difference a case in which the buyer did Meshichah and did *not* pay
money. According to the Avnei Milu'im, in such a case Rebbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish
would argue, and according to Rebbi Yochanan the Kidushin will not be valid. (See
TESHUVOS MAHARIL DISKIN #5.) The answer might be that Rebbi Yochanan will agree that
Kidushin will take effect *mid'Rabanan*.
2. The MACHANEH EFRAIM (Kinyan Ma'os #11) and REBBI AKIVA EIGER explain that Rashi
does not mean that the buyer can be Mekadesh a woman with the merchandise according
to Rebbi Yochanan. Rather, he means that the seller can be Mekadesh a woman with the
money that he receives, according to Rebbi Yochanan. This is the way the TUR (CM 198)
records this practical difference of Kidushin. Even though the text of Rashi in our
edition says that he "used it" for Kidushin, implying that the buyer used the
*merchandise*, the RITVA cites Rashi as saying that he "used *them*" for Kidushin
(i.e. the money), and he explains like Rebbi Akiva Eiger that the *seller* used the
*money* for Kidushin in the case Rashi mentions.
Rashi might hold that the Chachamim indeed removed the merchandise from the buyer
through "Hefker Beis Din Hefker." However, they did not remove the *money* which the
seller received through "Hefker Beis Din Hefker," and they left it in his possession.
Such an opinion is cited by TOSFOS (43a, DH Mai).
The Avnei Milu'im also mentions this possibility. (He does not accept this to be the
opinion of Rashi, because the words of Rashi imply otherwise. Others, however,
understand the words of Rashi differently and say that this is the opinion of
3. We wrote above (a:3) that Rashi maintains that the Chachamim did not revoke the
Kinyan that takes effect with Kinyan Kesef. They instituted only that the buyer has
the ability to revoke the Kinyan if he wants. According to this opinion, it is clear
that the Chachamim did not apply "Hefker Beis Din Hefker" to a Kinyan Kesef, and
therefore the Kidushin will be valid.
It seems that proof for this approach can be inferred from what the Gemara writes
regarding Me'ilah. The Gemara teaches that when a person pays money of Hekdesh to
purchase food, according to Rebbi Yochanan he is Chayav Me'ilah since the Kinyan
takes effect mid'Oraisa, while according to Reish Lakish he is not Chayav Me'ilah. If
the Chachamim instituted that "Hefker Beis Din Hefker" removes the money from the
possession of the seller, then the buyer should not transgress the Isur of Me'ilah by
giving the money to the seller, since the Chachamim did not let the seller acquire
the money. (PNEI YEHOSHUA)
In fact, Tosfos in Avodah Zarah (63a, cited by MAHARAM here) indeed suggests that
according to Rebbi Yochanan the buyer will not be Chayav Me'ilah for this reason,
according to the Gemara's conclusion.
In defense of those Rishonim who maintain that the seller does not retain ownership
of the money (see beginning of Tosfos on 43a), we must explain that the Chachamim
were Mafkir the money only *after* the seller took possession of it. They could not
be Mafkir it in a way that would prevent the seller from taking possession of it in
the first place. (A similar concept can be found in Tosfos 12a, DH Im Amart.)
Therefore, the buyer transgresses the Isur of Me'ilah according to Rebbi Yochanan
because of the short moment at which the seller does own the money.
QUESTION: Rava cites proof for the opinion of Reish Lakish from the verse regarding
Shevu'as ha'Pikadon. The omission of the words "Tesumes Yad" implies that even when
the borrower designates an object towards the repayment of the loan, if the lender
does not do Meshichah on that object, then the borrower will not be Chayav to make a
Shevu'as ha'Pikadon for denying the loan. The reason for this is because one is
Chayav for Shevu'as ha'Pikadon only for denying a specific object. Since Kesef is not
Koneh, the object that was designated for the lender does not become the property of
the lender until he does Meshichah.
3) "ME'ILAH" WITH MONEY PAID FOR A SERVICE
It is clear from the Gemara that according to Rebbi Yochanan, the lender would
acquire the object that was designated in place of the money that the borrower no
longer needs to pay.
How can the lender acquire an object with Kinyan Kesef in such a manner? As we
mentioned earlier (46b), the Gemara teaches that a person cannot make a Kinyan Kesef
through forgiving a loan ("Mechilas Milveh"). Rather, he must actually hand over
Kesef. Since we are discussing a case in which the borrower owes money to the lender,
the lender should not be able to acquire with Kinyan Kesef what the borrower
designates for him if he forgives the loan. (RAMBAN and Rishonim)
(According to the RAMBAM, cited in Insights to 46b, who writes that Halachically a
Kinyan Kesef can be made with Mechilas Milveh, our Gemara is easily understood.
However, according to the other Rishonim that we cited there, who hold that a Kinyan
Kesef cannot be made with a Mechilas Milveh, our Gemara is difficult to
ANSWER: The Rishonim answer that the verse implies that a Shevu'as ha'Pikadon is not
made even when the borrower designates an object at the time that he receives the
loan. At that time, a Kinyan Kesef *can* be made since the money is being handed over
to him at the same time that he is giving the object to the lender in return for the
QUESTION: The second proof that Rava cites for the opinion of Reish Lakish is from a
Mishnah in Me'ilah (20a). The Mishnah teaches that when a person gives money of
Hekdesh to a bathhouse attendant in order to use the bathhouse, he is Chayav for
Me'ilah. This implies that when he gives money to purchase any other object he will
not be Chayav for Me'ilah, since Kesef is not Koneh mid'Oraisa. It is only when he
gives the money to a bathhouse attendant that the money is able to be Koneh. This is
cited as proof for Reish Lakish who maintains that the Torah authorizes only
Meshichah as a valid Kinyan for Metaltelin, but not the giving of Kesef.
If, mid'Oraisa, Kesef is not Koneh according to Reish Lakish, then why is a person
Chayav for Me'ilah when he gives money to a bathhouse attendant! Even in such a case,
Kesef should not accomplish a Kinyan!
(a) TOSFOS (DH Balan) explains that the money is given to the bathhouse attendant in
order to rent the use of the bathhouse. Since the bathhouse is attached (Mechubar) to
the ground, it is treated like land, which *can* be acquired (or rented) mid'Oraisa
with Kesef, even according to Reish Lakish.
RASHI (DH l'Balan), however, writes that the money is paid to the attendant in order
to hire the attendant to wash him. Rashi clearly does not accept Tosfos'
understanding that the money is being paid for the use of land.
(b) The RITVA explains that according to Rashi the money is being paid for hiring the
attendant *after* the bathing was finished. The Halachah is that money for hiring a
worker must be paid only after the job is completed. At that time, the hired worker
is certainly Koneh the money for the service that he rendered.
However, RASHI (DH Davka) writes that the money paid to the attendant is paid
*before* the attendant does any work and it prevents him from retracting from the
deal. The MACHANEH EFRAIM (Sechirus Po'alim #3) writes that it is evident from Rashi
that even though the wages of a hired worker only need to be paid when the worker is
finished, nevertheless if the worker is paid before the work is done, the money
accomplishes a Kinyan and the worker cannot retract. (Even though a worker, a Po'el,
who is hired for a specific amount of time can retract at any time, a *Kablan*, who
is hired for a specific task, cannot retract.)
It is not clear according to the Machaneh Efraim how Kesef can accomplish a Kinyan
according to Reish Lakish if there is no Kinyan Kesef mid'Oraisa for Metaltelin.
Perhaps he means that a hired worker has the status of an Eved, and Rashi maintains
that even an Eved Ivri is comparable to Karka and can be acquired with Kesef. This is
the opinion of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Mechirah 13:15). This seems to be the opinion of
Rashi in Kidushin (28b; see Insights to Kidushin 28:1).
(c) The MORDECHAI (#301) cites the RI M'VIENNA (the OR ZARU'A) who learns from this
Gemara that even Reish Lakish agrees that Kesef is Koneh mid'Oraisa in a situation in
which Meshichah cannot be done (since there is nothing to pull). When a person hires
a worker who has tools, he can do Meshichah on the tools in order to make a Kinyan.
When he hires a bathhouse attendant who works without tools, then Kesef is Koneh.
This seems to be the intention of Rashi (DH Davka). This is also the opinion of
TOSFOS in Bechoros (13b, DH Devar Torah), who writes that for this reason Reish
Lakish holds that Kinyan Kesef is effective with regard to Hekdesh. Meshichah cannot
be done to take an object away from Hekdesh, because wherever it is, it is in the
domain of Hekdesh. That is why the Torah allows Kinyan Kesef to be used to redeem
Hekdesh. (See PRI YITZCHAK 1:47.)
Similarly, the Ri m'Vienna learns from here that according to Rebbi Yochanan,
Meshichah *is* a valid form of Kinyan mid'Oraisa when it is not possible to be Koneh
with Kesef, such as an object of Hefker, or a gift (in which case no money is given).
This is also the opinion of TOSFOS in Bechoros (13a, DH Mi'yad). (However, the RAMBAN
here argues and writes that even a gift or Hefker cannot be acquired through
Meshichah according to Rebbi Yochanan, but must be acquired through Kinyan
4) A SECURITY FOR THE PURCHASE OF A FIELD
QUESTION: Rebbi Yosi teaches in a Beraisa that when a person gives a security
("Eravon") to a seller for the purchase of a field, saying, "If I retract from the
purchase, you can keep the security, and if you retract, then you will have to pay me
twice its value," the conditions must be kept (because "Asmachta Kanya"). Rebbi
Yehudah argues and says that the security can only acquire an amount of the field
that corresponds to the value of the security.
Rebbi Shimon ben Gamliel says that this Machlokes applies only when the buyer says,
"Ervoni Yakun" -- "let my security acquire." When, however, a person submits a
partial payment for the purchase of a field, everyone agrees that he is Koneh the
It is clear from the words of Rebbi Shimon ben Gamliel that the security mentioned in
the first part of the Beraisa does not refer to an object given as a down payment for
the field, and that is why it acquires only a corresponding value of the field. For
what, then, was it given? RASHI (DH b'Zman) explains that it was given not as a
partial payment, but as a symbolic act of Kinyan which was intended to consummate the
Kinyan on the entire field. Since the Torah does not consider such an act to be a
Kinyan, it is not Koneh the field.
If the security was not given in a manner of Kinyan, then why does it acquire even an
amount of the field equal to the value of the security? It should not acquire *any*
of the field! (This question is included in the question of TOSFOS DH Echpol.)
(a) RASHI (DH Daiyo) implies that in fact a security is not Koneh anything for the
buyer. Rather, the part of the condition that the buyer made which is not an
"Asmachta" must be honored. Therefore, if either the buyer or seller retracts, then
the other party may take an amount equivalent to the value of the security from
either the field (if the seller retracts) or from the security (if the buyer
Other Rishonim do not accept this explanation, because Rebbi Yehudah says that the
security is Koneh, which implies that it consummates the sale (of the amount of land
that corresponds to the value of the security). Perhaps Rashi was not bothered by the
usage of the word "Koneh," since Rashi always translates the word "Koneh" to mean
that neither party may retract from the deal (see beginning of Insights 48:1, above),
and in the case of the security neither party may retract (for doing so will not save
him from buying or selling at least the amount equal to the value of the security).
(b) The RITVA explains that "Ervoni Yakun" means that the security does not cause any
Kinyan to take effect now, but rather that it should make a Kinyan take effect if one
of the parties retracts. Since the buyer does not specify that he wants to make a
Kinyan now, the security is not Koneh the field for him.
The Ritva asks why the security should be Koneh even part of the field, and he
answers that even though the buyer does not specify that he wants any Kinyan to take
effect now, we may assume that he wants to be Koneh now at least an amount equal to
the value of the security, in order to prevent either one from retracting from the
sale of that amount. (This is not similar to a down payment, because here it is
assumed that the buyer specifically wanted to acquire only part of the field, and not
the entire field.)
(c) TOSFOS (DH Echpol, DH b'Zman) explains that "Ervoni Yakun" means that the buyer
does want the security to acquire for him part of the field now. The security does
not acquire for him the entire field, because the words "Ervoni Yakun" imply that he
wants to acquire part of the field that is worth *twice* the value of the security;
he is saying that he wants "the security to acquire an amount equivalent to the value
of the security, plus an amount equivalent to the value of the security." According
to Rebbi Yehudah, since an "Asmachta" is not Koneh, the security can acquire only an
amount equivalent to its value, but not more. (This is not similar to a down payment,
because here the buyer specifically wants to acquire only part of the field, and not
the entire field.)
We see from the words of Rashi here (and on 45b, DH Matbe'a) that Kinyan Kesef can
only be done with funds that are transferred for covering the cost of the field. A
number of Acharonim explain that Tosfos (DH b'Zman) argues with Rashi, because he
maintains that the Kesef does not have to be given specifically towards the cost of
the field, but it can be given symbolically in order to effect the Kinyan (EVEN
HA'AZEL, Hilchos Mechirah 1:4; CHIDUSHEI REBBI SHIMON SHKOP, Kidushin #3)However,
according to the way we have explained, Tosfos is rejecting Rashi's approach for a
different reason (i.e. because of the question that we asked originally). Tosfos
agrees that the money must be given for the purpose of paying for the cost of the
field. This, then, is the source for the ruling of the S'MA (CM 190:1) who writes
that the Kinyan Kesef must be done with money that is being paid specifically for the
The TAZ there argues and cites two proofs that the money does not have to be given
with the intention that it cover the cost of the purchased item. His first proof is
from our Gemara that says that when the buyer says "Ervoni Yakun," the security can
acquire an amount of the field equivalent to the value of the security (according to
Rebbi Yehudah), even though it was not given specifically as payment for part of the
field. However, according to what we have explained above, this is not a proof.
The Taz's second proof is from Kidushin of a woman. Obviously, a man does not pay a
Perutah to a woman in order to cover any "cost" of the woman, and yet the Kinyan of
Kidushin is learned from the Kinyan of a field (Kidushin 2a). It must be that just as
the Kinyan Kesef of Kidushin involves merely a symbolic act of handing over money,
so, too, the Kinyan Kesef of a field involves merely a symbolic act of handing over
Perhaps we may refute this proof by pointing out that when a person hires a worker,
even though the money that he pays to the worker does not correspond to the value of
the worker himself, it does correspond to the value of the service that the worker is
doing. Similarly, the Kesef that is being paid to the woman is being paid for the
Shi'abudim that the woman is accepting upon herself to do for her husband in her role
as his wife.
We might ask, though, that the husband only gives a Perutah, and what the woman does
for her husband is certainly worth much more! The answer is that Rashi here writes
that the money needs to be given only as "Techilas Pira'on," the first installment of
the payment. In the case of Kidushin, the Perutah is the first installment, and the
rest is paid through the obligations that the husband accepts to do for his wife in
his role as husband.