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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Mezi'a
they acquired it by this method. R. Judah says: One never acquires a camel except by pulling it, and [one never acquires] an ass [except by] leading it.1 In any case it is taught [here]: 'or if one was pulling, and the other was leading,' [from which we may infer that] pulling and leading are [legitimate methods of acquiring an animal], but not riding? — The same law applies also to riding, but the reason why 'pulling' and 'leading' is given here is [that it was desired] to exclude the view of R. Judah, who says, 'one never acquires a camel except by pulling it, and [one never acquires] an ass [except by] leading it.' We are thus informed that even if [the methods are] reversed they [the animals] are also legitimately acquired.2 But if so,3 let [the Tanna] combine them and teach: 'If two persons were pulling and leading either a camel or an ass'? — There is one side which [prevents the combination, as one of the two actions mentioned] is invalid [in the case of one of the animals]:4 some say, it is [the act of] pulling [in the case of] an ass, and others say, it is [the act of] leading [in the case of] a camel.5 There are some who construe the objection [to the validity of riding as a means of acquiring an animal] from the conclusion [of the quoted passage]: 'They acquire it by this method.'6 What are [the words] 'by this method' intended to exclude? [Are they] not [intended] to exclude riding? — No. [They are intended] to exclude the reversed [methods].7 But if so, this view is identical with that of R. Judah? — There is a difference between them [in so far as according to the first Tanna] there is only one side which is invalid:8 some say, it is [the act of] pulling [in the case of] an ass, and others say, it is [the act of] leading [in the case of] a camel.
Come and hear: If one rides on an ass, and another holds the reins,9 one acquires the ass, and the other acquires the reins. This proves that one acquires [an animal] by means of riding? — Here also [it is understood that the rider] drives it with his feet. But if so let the rider also acquire the reins?10 — Say: one acquires the ass and half of the reins, and the other acquires half of the reins. But [it is argued] the rider rightly acquires [his part] seeing that a rational person lifted up for him [the other end of the reins from the ground], but he who holds the reins — how does he acquire [his part]?11 — Say: One acquires the ass and [nearly] all of the reins, and the other acquires what he holds in his hand.12 But how is this? Even if you say that if a man lifts up a found object for his neighbour the neighbour acquires it,it could only apply to [a case] where he lifted it up on behalf of his neighbour, but this one lifted up [one end of the reins] on his own behalf: if he himself does not acquire it [by this action], how is he to enable others to acquire it? — Said R. Ashi: The one acquires the ass with the halter, and the other acquires what he holds in his hand, but the rest [of the reins] neither of them acquires.13 R. Abbahu said: In reality we may leave it as taught [at first].14 [and] the reason is that he [who holds the reins] can pull them violently and bring [the other end also] to himself.15 But R. Abbahu's view is a mistake: for if you do not say so, [how would you decide in a case where] one half of the garment lies on the ground and the other half [rests] upon a pillar, and one person comes and lifts up the half from the ground, while another person comes and lifts up the half from the pillar — will you maintain here also that the first one acquires it but the last one does not acquire it, for the reason that [the first one] can pull it violently and bring [the other half also] to himself?16 [We must] therefore [say that] the view of R. Abbahu is a mistake.17
Come and hear: R. Eliezer says: One who rides [on a found animal] in the country, or one who leads [a found animal] in the city, acquires it!18 — Here also the rider drives [the animal] with his feet.19 But if so, it is the same as 'leading'? — There are two ways of 'leading'.20 But if so, why does not he who rides [on an animal] in the city acquire it? — R. Kahana said: It is because people are not in the habit of riding in a city.21 R. Ashi then said to R. Kahana: According to this, he who picks Up a purse on a Sabbath should not acquire it either, seeing that people are not in the habit of picking up a purse on a Sabbath?22 But in fact he does acquire [the purse] because [we say:] What he has done is done;23 so here also [we ought to say]: What he has done is done, and he acquires [the animal by riding on it in the city]! — It must therefore be that we deal here with [a case of] buying and selling, where he says to him:24 'Acquire it in the way people usually acquire [a bought article]',25
Baba Mezi'a 9b
so that if [the buyer rides on the animal in] the open street1 he acquires it, or if he is an important personage he acquires it,2 or if [the buyer] is a woman she acquires it,3 or if [the buyer] is a mean person4 he acquires it.
R. Eleazar inquired: If one says to another, 'Pull this animal along so that you may acquire the vessels that are [placed] upon it,'5 what is the law? [But, it is at once objected, by saying], 'so that you may acquire;' does he really tell him, 'Acquire'?6 [The question must] therefore [be put this way]: [If one says to another,] 'Pull this animal along and acquire the vessels that are [placed] upon it,' what is [the law]? Does the pulling of the animal enable him to acquire the vessels or not? — Said Raba: [Even] if he says to him, 'Acquire the animal and the vessels [at the same time],' does he then acquire the vessels?7 Is not the animal like a moving courtyard? And a moving courtyard does not enable [its owner] to acquire [the objects placed in it]!8 And if you should say [that he acquires them] when it stands still,9 [then it would be objected:] Is it not [the law] that whatever does not acquire while in motion, does not acquire even while standing still or at rest? [It must be admitted, however, that] the [above] law obtains when [the animal] is tied.10
R. Papa and R. Huna said to Raba: According to this,11 if one sails on a boat, and fish jump and fall into the boat, [do we] then also [say] that [the boat] is [like] a 'moving courtyard' and it does not enable [its owner] to acquire [the objects placed in it]? — He [Raba] answered them: The boat is really at rest, only the water moves it along.
Rabina said to R. Ashi: According to this, if a married woman walks in a public street, and the husband throws a bill of divorcement into her lap or into her basket,12 [do we] then also [say] that she is not divorced?13 — He answered him: The basket is really at rest, and she walks underneath.14
MISHNAH. IF A MAN, RIDING ON AN ANIMAL, SEES A LOST ARTICLE AND SAYS TO HIS NEIGHBOUR: 'GIVE IT TO ME'; THE LATTER] TAKES IT UP AND SAYS: 'I ACQUIRED IT [FOR MYSELF].' — [THEN] IT IS HIS. [BUT] IF AFTER GIVING IT TO HIM, THAT PERSON SAYS: 'I ACQUIRED IT FIRST', THERE IS NOTHING IN WHAT HE SAYS.15
GEMARA. We have learned elsewhere:16 If one gleaned the corner of a field17 and said, 'This is for that poor person.' R. Eliezer says: he conferred possession [of the gleaning] on that person.18 But the Sages say: He must give it to the first poor person that comes along. 'Ulla said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: The difference of opinion [between R. Eliezer and the Sages] concerns [a case where] a rich person [gleaned] for a poor person. R. Eliezer is of the opinion [that] [i] since, if he had wished, he could have declared his possessions public property, so that he would have become a poor man [himself] and would have been entitled [to the gleanings of the corner], he is entitled [to them] even now, and [ii] since he might thus take possession [of them] for himself,19 he could also confer possession [of them] upon his neighbour. But [the Sages] are of the opinion [that] we can use the Since argument once but not twice.20 But [in a case where] a poor person [gleaned] for [another] poor person all are of the opinion that he could confer possession [of the gleanings] upon that person, for since he could take possession [of them] for himself he could also confer possession [of them] upon his neighbour.21
R. Nahman said to 'Ulla: And why not say, Master, that the difference of opinion [between R. Eliezer and the Rabbis] concerns [even a case where] a poor person [gleaned] for a poor person. — seeing that in regard to a found object all are [in the same legal position as the] poor are in regard [to the corner of the field]?22 And we learned: IF ONE, RIDING ON AN ANIMAL, SEES A LOST ARTICLE AND SAYS TO HIS NEIGHBOUR: 'GIVE IT TO ME'; THE LATTER TAKES IT UP AND SAYS: 'I ACQUIRED IT [FOR MYSELF].' — [THEN] IT IS HIS. Now, it is all correct if you say that the difference of opinion [between R. Eliezer and the Rabbis] concerns [even a case where] a poor person [gleaned] for a poor person.23 [for]
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