web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



No Landlords (Part II)


Raphael Grunfeld

Raphael Grunfeld

(Arachin, 31a, 31b, 32a, 32b, 33b; Eruvin 59a; Yoma 12a; Bava Kama 82b; Ketubot 45b)

The second category into which land in Israel was classified for the purpose of determining the scope of reversionary rights during the era when the Jubilee laws applied was known as “batei arei chomah,” houses or other constructions in walled cities.

The reversionary rights the Torah gave to the original owners of batei arei chomah differed from those given to the original owners of sdeh achuzah, ancestral fields, in the following four significant ways.

First, whereas the original owners of sdeh achuzah were precluded by the Torah from exercising their right of mandatory redemption of the ancestral field for a period of two years from the sale, the original owners of batei arei chomah were permitted to exercise their right of mandatory redemption and buy back the property immediately following the sale.

Second, whereas the mandatory redemption rights of the original owners of sdeh achuzah could be exercised at any time two years from the date of the sale until the Jubilee year, the mandatory redemption rights of the original owners of batei arei chomah expired 365 days after the sale.

Third, whereas sdeh achuzah automatically reverted back to the original owners upon the arrival of the Jubilee year, even if the original owners did not exercise their buyback rights, batei arei chomah remained with the purchaser forever and did not revert back to the ownership of the original owners if they did not exercise their buyback rights within one year.

Fourth, whereas upon exercising buyback rights the original owners of sdeh achuzah were permitted to deduct from the buyback price the value of the crops that buyers enjoyed prior to the buyback, the original owners of batei arei chomah were not permitted to deduct any amount for the use that the buyers enjoyed prior to the buyback, but had to refund the full purchase price to the buyer.

Because of these significant differences in reversionary rights, it was important to know the definition of batei arei chomah.

Batei arei chomah are structures (of at least six to eight square feet) in towns consisting of at least three courtyards with two buildings each, with a predominantly Jewish population – provided that such towns were surrounded by a wall in the time of Joshua even though they may no longer be surrounded by a wall at the time of the sale or buyback. Batei arei chomah included not only residential houses fitting that description, but also structures used for business in such times – olive presses, bath houses, storehouses, dovecots, cisterns, vaults.

The laws of Batei arei chomah applied only to structures sold together with the land upon which they were built, but not to structures that were sold “without” land. Since, according to one Tannaic opinion, the land of Jerusalem was not apportioned to any particular tribe, but was designated as Temple property to which all tribes had equal access, land in Jerusalem – as opposed to structures – could not be privately sold and therefore the sale of structures in Jerusalem was not subject to the laws of batei arei chomah but rather to the different laws of batei chatzerim, open towns, which shall be discussed separately.

The fact that purchasers of batei arei chomah were refunded the purchase price in full upon a buyback and did not have to pay the original owners anything for the use that they enjoyed prior to the buyback, caused some concern in so far as this free use might be construed as being contrary to the laws of ribit, interest on loans, which the Torah prohibits, whether paid in cash or in kind.

If the original owner who sold his house for $1,000,000, which he received as the “purchase price” from the buyer, redeemed his house prior to one year and refunded the purchase price in full, this transaction could be construed as a loan of $1,000,000 for one year for which the house was put up as collateral, to be foreclosed upon should the loan not be repaid.

In fact, if one takes the position that prior to the expiration of twelve months there is no real sale at all, but only a conditional sale, it looks even more like a loan. There are two approaches to this concern, one of the Mishnah and one of the Braitah.

According to the Mishnah, which looks at the transaction at the commencement of the transaction, the free use, though reminiscent of interest, is not really interest at all because the free use arises from a sale and not a loan. According to the Braitah, which looks at the conclusion of the transaction, it turns out that the money in the hands of the original owner was in fact a loan, which he now has to pay back and the free use of the property by the buyer is in fact interest.

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 (Part II)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Convicted murderer of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, Mumia Ab-Jamal.
Convicted Cop-Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is College Commencement Speaker
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

PTI-092614-Shofar

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

To properly fulfill the mitzvah of listening to the megillah, each word must be heard.

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

The kohen gadol may not enter the Temple unless his hair is cut every seven days.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/no-landlords-part-ii/2012/02/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: