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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
because he [the owner] is pleased that his slave does not become demoralized [through idleness]. But, he urged, that is only if one has no monetary claim upon him; since you, Sir, have a monetary claim upon them, it looks like usury. For R. Joseph b. Minyomi said in R. Nahman's name: Though it has been ruled, if one dwells in his neighbour's court without his knowledge, he is not bound to pay him rent; yet if he lent him [money] and then dwelt in his court, he must. He replied: Then I repent thereof.
Abaye said: If a man had a claim of usury upon his neighbour, and the market price of wheat was four grivas1 a zuz, whilst he [the debtor] gave him five; when we reclaim it from him,2 we only reclaim four, but as for the other, he merely favoured him with a cheap rate.3 Raba said: We reclaim five, because from the very outset he acquired it all as interest.
Abaye also said: If a man had a claim of four zuz in interest upon his neighbour, and he gave him a garment for it, when we compel repayment, we make him repay four zuz, but not the garment.4 Raba said: We compel him to return the garment. Why so? That people may not say, 'The garment he wears is a garment of usury.' Raba said: He who has a usury claim of twelve zuz upon his neighbour, and he [the debtor] rented him his court-yard, such as is generally let at ten zuz, for twelve; when we make him disgorge, we force him to repay twelve. R. Aha of Difti said to Rabina: But cannot he protest, 'When I rented it thus [at such a high rent], it was because I profited thereby;5 now, however, that I do not profit, just at [the same rate] as all rent it, so will I'?6 — Because he [the debtor] can say to him, 'You understood [its value] and accepted it [at twelve zuz].'
MISHNAH. RENT MAY BE INCREASED, BUT NOT THE PURCHASE PRICE. E.G., IF A MAN RENTS HIS COURT, AND SAYS TO HIM [THE TENANT], 'IF YOU PAY ME NOW [FOR THE YEAR], YOU CAN HAVE IT FOR TEN SELA'S PER ANNUM; IF MONTHLY, AT A SELA' PER MONTH — THAT IS PERMITTED. IF HE SELLS HIS FIELD, AND SAYS TO HIM [THE PURCHASER], 'IF YOU PAY ME NOW, IT IS YOURS FOR A THOUSAND ZUZ; BUT IF AT HARVEST TIME, FOR TWELVE MANEHS'7 — THAT IS FORBIDDEN.
GEMARA. What is the difference between the first clause and the second? — Rabbah and R. Joseph both said: Rent is payable at the end [of the year]; hence, since it is not yet time to claim, it is not payment for waiting,8 but this [a sela' per month] is its actual value; and as for his proposition, IF YOU PAY ME NOW [FOR THE YEAR], YOU CAN HAVE IT FOR TEN SELA' PER ANNUM, he is favouring him with a cheaper rent [than normal]. But in the second clause, the reference is to purchase, where the money is immediately due; therefore [the higher price] is payment for waiting, which is forbidden. Raba said: The Rabbis scrutinised this ruling, and based it on Scripture: As the hiring of a year in a year,9 [which intimates,] the hire of one year is not payable until the next.10
BUT IF AT HARVEST TIME, FOR TWELVE MANEHS — THAT IS FORBIDDEN. R. Nahman said: An increased credit price11 is permitted. Rami b. Hama, others Say, R. 'Ukba b. Hama, refuted R. Nahman: BUT IF AT HARVEST TIME, FOR TWELVE MANEHS — THAT IS FORBIDDEN? — He replied: There [the increase] was stipulated; here no stipulation is made. R. papa said: The increased credit price which I take is permitted.12 Why? Because my beer will not deteriorate [if I keep it until Nisan], [and] I am in no need of money;13 hence, I merely confer a benefit upon the purchaser [by letting him have it earlier]. But R. Shesheth the son of R. Idi said to R. papa: Why should you merely consider yourself? Consider them [the purchasers]: had they money, they would purchase at present prices; lacking it, they must buy it at the higher future prices.14 R. Hama said: My increased credit price is certainly permitted.15 Why? They are pleased that it shall remain in my ownership, so that wherever they go they are released from taxation and the market is held up for them.16
Baba Mezi'a 65b
MISHNAH. IF A MAN SOLD A FIELD, AND HE [THE BUYER] HAVING PAID PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE, THE VENDOR PROPOSED, 'WHENEVER YOU DESIRE, BRING ME THE BALANCE AND TAKE YOUR OWN' [SC. THE FIELD], THAT IS FORBIDDEN.4 IF HE LENT MONEY ON A FIELD AND SAID TO HIM [THE DEBTOR], 'IF YOU DO NOT REPAY ME WITHIN THREE YEARS, IT [THE FIELD] IS MINE' — IT BECOMES HIS; AND THUS DID BOETHUS B. ZUNIN DO, [ACTING] WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE SAGES.
GEMARA. Who enjoys the usufruct? — R. Huna said: The vendor; R. 'Anan said: It is entrusted to a third party.5 But there is no dispute: the former is the case if he stipulated, 'When you bring it [the balance], [then] acquire it;'6 the latter if he stipulated, 'When you bring it, acquire it from now.'7
R. Safra learnt in the [collection of Baraithas on] usury of the School of R. Hiyya: Sometimes both [the vendor and the purchaser] are permitted [to enjoy the usufruct]; sometimes both are forbidden; sometimes the vendor is permitted and the purchaser forbidden; and sometimes the purchaser is permitted and the vendor forbidden.8 Thereupon Raba explained: 'Sometimes both are permitted,' viz., if he stipulates, 'Acquire [forthwith] in proportion to your deposit;'9 'sometimes both are forbidden,' if he stipulates, 'When you bring it [the balance], let it be yours from now;10 'sometimes the vendor is permitted but the purchaser forbidden,' if he stipulates, 'When you bring it, [then] acquire it;' 'and sometimes the purchaser is permitted and the vendor forbidden,' if he states, 'Let it be yours from now, and the balance be a loan [from me to you].'
Which Tanna holds that both are forbidden? — R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: It does not agree with R. Judah; for were it in accordance with R. Judah — surely, he maintained that one-sided interest is permitted.11
If a man mortgages a house or a field, and he [the creditor] says to him, 'Should you wish to sell it, you must let me have it at this price [less than its value],' — that is forbidden: 'at its real value,' — that is permitted. Which Tanna maintains that [if he stipulates] 'at this price,' it is forbidden — R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: It does not agree with R. Judah; for were it in accordance with him — surely he holds that one-sided interest is permitted.12
If he sells a house or a field, and says to the purchaser, 'When I have money, resell it to me,' — that is forbidden. [If the buyer says], 'When you have money, I will resell it to you,' — that is permitted.13 With which Tanna does this agree? — R. Huna the son of R. Joshua said: Not with R. Judah; for if it agreed with him — surely he ruled that one-sided interest is permitted.14 What is the difference between the first clause and the second? — Raba answered: In the second clause, he [the buyer] stipulated that it [the re-sale] should be voluntary.15
A man once sold an estate to his neighbour without surety.16 Seeing that he [the purchaser] was disquieted, he said to him, 'Why are you disquieted? Should it be seized from you [for a debt of mine], I will repay you out of the best of my estate, [even] for your improvements and the crops.' Said Amemar:
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