web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


No Landlords (Arachin 29b)


Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

After its conquest by Joshua, the land of Israel was divided into twelve equal parts in accordance with the number of the tribes of Israel. Each male member of each tribe that actually left Egypt was entitled to a piece of land equal in size to the total size allocated to his whole tribe divided by the number of men of twenty or over in his tribe that left Egypt.

This family land was forever to remain the property of the family unit within the tribe and not pass to another tribe. In this way, the children of each family unit within a tribe could look to their father for financial support. The father’s portion of property was the “Family Bank.” It could be drawn upon to support the family. It could also be used to support the sons of the family, their wives and their children when the sons married. The father did not need to worry about his daughters when they married because the “Family Bank” of the husband’s family unit would take care of them.

There were at least two ways in which this divinely mandated distribution of the land could be altered. One was by way of inheritance by a daughter, who in the absence of sons would inherit her father’s estate and then marry a man from another tribe. Upon her death, the land would pass to her husband or her children belonging to another tribe. In order to restrict such diversions, the Torah limits the right of the daughter to inherit the estate of her father to situations where she has no brothers.

The other way in which the distribution of the land could be altered was by way of sale or gift. If total freedom of permanent disposition of land were permitted, it would not take long before the allocation of the land God considered equitable would be reshuffled according to the fortuitous, and not always so equitable laws of economics.

In order to restrict such diversions, the Torah instituted the laws of Jubilee under which land sold in perpetuity or for an unspecified period of time would revert back to its original owner at the Jubilee Year. From Jubilee year to Jubilee, however, land could be freely sold, subject to certain reversionary rights. For the purpose of determining which reversionary rights applied, land in Israel, during the era in which the laws of Jubilee applied, was divided into three categories.

The first category was known as sdeh achuzah, the ancestral field. The term sdeh achuzah refers to a piece of land allocated to its original owners in the time of Joshua, as opposed to any buildings that may have been erected on such land. A sdeh achuzah the owner purported to sell in perpetuity or for an unspecified period of time would revert to its original owner at Jubilee.

Accordingly, any such attempted sale during a Jubilee cycle was not a conveyance of the ownership of the land but a sale of the right to use the land and enjoy its crops. The sales price was calculated on the bases of the value of the crops it yielded each year multiplied by the number of years remaining to the Jubilee year. Thus, if a field that would yield $100,000 worth of crops each year were sold ten years prior to the Jubilee Year, it could not be sold for more than $1,000,000. In addition to the law that a sdeh achuzah sold in perpetuity or for an unspecified period of time would revert to its original owner at the Jubilee Year, the Torah also gave the original owner the right of mandatory redemption of the field to be exercised not earlier than a date commencing two years after the sale.

Thus, in our example, in which the original owner sold the field ten years before the Jubilee Year for $1,000,000, the original owner had an inalienable right, commencing two years from the date of the sale, to demand that the purchaser sell the field back to him for $800,000, that being the original purchase price less the two years during which the purchaser enjoyed the use of the field.

During the two﷓year period following the sale, the purchaser was given an undisturbed right to use the land. If for any reason the purchaser was unable to benefit from the crops of the land – as would be the case if one of the two years were a Shemittah year or, if as a result of weather conditions, there were no crops – then the two years would begin to toll from the time these conditions ceased.

Although the laws of sdeh achuzah only applied when the law of Jubilee applied and therefore do not apply today, they demonstrate the uniqueness of the Torah in moving away from the system of Egypt in which there were no buyback rights to land sold. Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “No Landlords (Arachin 29b)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Forest fire blazing in Judean Hills.
Officials Reconsider Sprouting Wildfires After Terror Victim Memorial Torched
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

By internalizing the Exodus, it is as if we ourselves were redeemed from Egypt.

Neihaus-073115

Each Shabbos we add the tefilla of “Ritzei” to Birchas HaMazon. In it we ask Hashem that on this day of Shabbos He should be pleased with us and save us. What exactly do we want to be saved from? Before we answer this question, let’s talk about this Friday, the 15th of Av. Many […]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

Amongst the greatest disagreements in Judaism is the understanding of the 1st of the 10 Commandments

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Day He Heard
‘One May Seek Revocation Of A Confimation’
(Nedarim 69a)

The director picked up the phone to Rabbi Dayan. “One of our counselors lost his check,” he said. “Do we have to issue a new one or is it his loss?”

Six events occurred on Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, making it a festive day in the Jewish calendar.

Why would Moshe Rabbeinu have thought that the vow that disallowed him to enter Eretz Yisrael was annulled simply because he was allowed to conquer and enter the land of Sichon and Og?

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Snow in Jerusalem! For many New Englanders like me, snow pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings like nothing else can.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

Perhaps the admonition here is that we should not trivialize the events of the past by saying that they are irrelevant to the modern Jew.

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Reaching a stronger understanding of what Moses actually did to prevent him from entering the land

Anti-Zionism, today’s anti-Semitism, has gone viral, tragically supported globally & by many Jews

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

On Shabbat during the nine days, one may don freshly laundered clothes, eat meat and drink wine, including Havdalah wine.

The combination of the severity of the punishment and the ease with which the prohibition may be forgotten require that the smallest amount of chametz – chametz bemashehu – be prohibited.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

Conversely, no part of the Land within the boundaries delineated in Numbers 34 may be relinquished for any purpose whatsoever.

Although it is true that the Final Redemption will be accelerated when all Jews repent and accept the rule of Torah, there is also another scenario for the Final Redemption.

Should just a few communities settle the Land of Israel? Should there be a mass emigration of all Jews worldwide to Israel?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/no-landlords-arachin-29b/2012/02/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: