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Steinsaltz

The Gemara explains: Abandoned property [netushim]; this is referring to property that the owners vacated perforce. When it is written: “But the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow [untashtah]” (Exodus 23:11), that is expropriation by edict of the King of the Universe. Forsaken property [retushim]; this is referring to property that the owners vacated of their own volition, as it is written: “A mother was forsaken [rutasha] with her sons” (Hosea 10:14), indicating that the mother was left with the sons, as all the men left.

A Sage taught with regard to the baraita discussing the case of one who descends to the property of another: And for all of them, the court appraises their work as one would appraise the work of a sharecropper. The Gemara asks: To which property in the baraita is this ruling stated? If we say it is stated with regard to captives’ property, now that the tanna stated that he is diligent and he profits, as he may take as much produce as he wishes, is it necessary to say that he can take a share of what he did to enhance the field? Rather, say that it is stated with regard to forsaken property. But isn’t it taught: The court removes it from his possession? The legal status of the one who labored in the field is not at all similar to that of a sharecropper.

Rather, say that it is stated with regard to abandoned property. The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion? If we say it is in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, don’t they say: The court removes it from his possession? And if it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, doesn’t he say: I heard that the legal status of abandoned property is like that of captives’ property, and the rights of the one who labored in the field are superior to those of a sharecropper.

The Gemara answers: According to the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, the legal status of that property is in some ways like that of captives’ property but in other ways not like that of captives’ property. It is like that of captives’ property in that the court does not remove it from his possession. But it is not like that of captives’ property, as there, in the case of captives’ property, the one working the field is diligent and he profits from the produce he takes, while here, one appraises their work as one would appraise the work of a sharecropper.

The Gemara asks: And what is different in this case from that which we learned in a mishna (79b): In the case of one who outlays expenditures to enhance his wife’s usufruct property, which belongs to his wife but whose profits are his for the duration of their marriage, if the marriage ends in divorce or his death and she reclaims the property, whether he spent much to enhance the property and consumed little and did not derive benefit commensurate with his investment, or whether he spent little and consumed much, the principle is: What he spent, he spent, and what he consumed, he consumed. His labor is not appraised like that of a sharecropper.

The Gemara answers: This case is comparable only to that which we learned in a statement that Rabbi Ya’akov said that Rav Ḥisda said: The legal status of one who outlays expenditures to enhance the usufruct property of his minor wife, whose father died and whose brother and mother married her off, is like that of one who outlays expenditures to enhance the property of another, as this is a marriage by rabbinic law and she can void the marriage by performing refusal. If the husband spent much to enhance the property and consumed little, his work is assessed like that of a sharecropper. Apparently, since he does not rely on the fact that her property will remain his, the Sages instituted on his behalf that he be reimbursed for his expenditures so that he will not devalue the property. Here too, the Sages instituted on behalf of the one who labored in the field that he be reimbursed for his labor, so that he will not devalue the property.

The Gemara asks with regard to the phrase written in the baraita: And for all of them, the court appraises their work as one would appraise the work of a sharecropper, what additional case does it serve to include, as apparently it applies only to property of those who abandoned it, in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel?

The Gemara answers: It comes to include that which Rav Naḥman says that Shmuel says: For a captive who was taken captive, the court authorizes a relative to descend and manage his property. If he left of his own volition, the court does not authorize a relative to descend and manage his property. And Rav Naḥman says his own statement: The legal status of one who flees is like that of a captive. The Gemara asks: One who flees for what reason? If we say that he flees due to a tax [karga] that he attempts to evade, that is the case of one who left of his own volition. Rather, the reference is to one who flees due to an allegation that he committed murder [meradin], and he flees to avoid execution. Therefore, his legal status is that of a captive.

Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: In the case of a captive who was taken captive and left in his field standing grain to be reaped, or grapes to be harvested, or dates to be cut, or olives to be picked, and the owner of the produce will incur significant loss if they are not harvested, the court descends to his property and appoints a steward to manage his property. And he reaps, and harvests, and cuts, and picks, and thereafter the court authorizes a relative to descend and manage his property. The Gemara asks: If that is an option, let the court always appoint a steward to manage the captive’s field. The Gemara answers: We do not appoint a steward [apoteropa] for the bearded, i.e., adults. A steward is appointed only for orphans.

Rav Huna says: The court does not authorize a minor, even if he is an heir, to descend to the property of a captive. And the court does not authorize a relative who is an heir to descend to the property of a minor that has no one to tend to it. And the court does not authorize a relative due to a relative to descend to the property of a minor.

The Gemara elaborates: The court does not authorize a minor to descend to the property of a captive, lest he devalue the property. And the court does not authorize a relative due to a relative to descend to the property of a minor. The Gemara explains: It is a case where the minor has a paternal half-brother and that brother has a maternal half-brother. The concern is that the latter, who is not at all related to the minor who owns the field, will claim that he inherited the field from his brother. And the court does not authorize a relative to descend to the property of a minor. The concern is that since the minor does not protest at the appropriate time and assert that the property does not belong to his relative, that relative will come to assume presumptive ownership of the field.

Rava said: Learn from the statement of Rav Huna that one cannot assume presumptive ownership of the property of a minor. Even if one took possession of and used the property of a minor for three years, this does not indicate that he has presumptive ownership of the property. Rav Huna restricted the descent specifically of relatives to the property of a minor, indicating that those are not concerns when it is a non-relative who descends to manage the field. Apparently, the reason that there is no concern is that one cannot assume presumptive ownership of the property of a minor.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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