web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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.

Nevertheless, according to the Braitah, it is permitted interest because the Torah permitted it in these circumstances. A way of rephrasing the issue is whether a transaction that might or might not turn out to be a loan – depending upon the election of one party to the transaction, in this case the original owner – is or is not a transaction involving ribit.

This potential ribit situation is referred to in the Talmud as tzad echad beribit. According to the Mishnah, a transaction involving tzad echad beribit does not violate the prohibition of ribit, whereas according to the Braitah, it does.

For those of us who thought the concept of escrow was a modern legal invention, the laws of batei arei chomah hold an interesting surprise.

On the last day of the year, following the sale of batei arei chomah, and in order to defeat the buyback rights of the original owners, the Mishnah tells us that buyers used to hide from the original owners. In order to put an end to this tactic, Hillel ruled that original owners unable to locate the buyers on the last day could deposit the refund money with the bet din in escrow for the buyers’ benefit, and they would then be permitted to evict the buyer from the property.

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.

Comments to the writer are welcome at Rafegrun@aol.com.

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
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

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.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

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.

Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

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

A commonly employed and permissible device regarding the prohibition of wearing fresh clothes during the Nine Days is to don them for a moment or two before the Nine Days.

The prayer of Mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem mentions God’s rainmaking powers but it is not an immediate request for rain.

According to the Bach, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as moed, festival, the same term the Torah uses to describe Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

If the survival of Judaism is dependent on the next generation, there is no doubt that the most important person in the synagogue is the Candy Man.

From this decree on, the two days of Rosh Hashanah, unlike the two days of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, were no longer celebrated out of doubt but out of certainty.

Because the Torah requires one to count “seven complete weeks” one should count at the beginning of the day, which in Jewish law begins on the preceding night.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: