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why does one go back and take the collateral again, as the creditor must anyway restore it to the debtor the following day? The Gemara replies: Any loan that is secured by collateral is not canceled by the Sabbatical Year, in contrast to other debts, which are canceled. Therefore, this ensures that the Sabbatical Year should not cancel it. And an additional reason is so that the collateral should not become movable property in the possession of his children, as one generally cannot claim such items from orphans to pay for their father’s debt.

The Gemara infers: The reason these exceptions apply is that he goes back and takes it as collateral; but if he did not go back and take it as collateral, these exceptions do not apply. This baraita therefore contradicts the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan, who held that the initial seizing of collateral is sufficient to grant the creditor full rights to it.

Rav Adda bar Mattana said: And did you not resolve this baraita once already by adjusting its wording slightly? Answer it by changing its formulation again in this manner: And since one must return the collateral, why does one take collateral at the outset? It is done so that the Sabbatical Year should not cancel the debt, and so that it should not become movable property in the possession of his children. This version is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan, as it teaches that one who has taken collateral even on a single occasion may confiscate it from the debtor’s heirs.

§ The Sages taught: The verse states: “When you lend your neighbor any manner of loan, you shall not go into his house to take his collateral” (Deuteronomy 24:10). This verse indicates that you may not enter his house, but you may enter the house of a guarantor to take collateral from him. And similarly it states: “Take his garment that is a surety for a stranger” (Proverbs 20:16).

And it further states with regard to the same issue: “My son, if you are a guarantor for your neighbor, if you have struck your hands for a stranger, you are ensnared by the words of your mouth; you are caught by the words of your mouth. Do this, now, my son, and deliver yourself, when you have come into the hand of your friend; go humble yourself and strengthen your friend” (Proverbs 6:1–3).

This passage in Proverbs is interpreted as follows: The phrase “You are snared by the words of your mouth” is referring to a guarantor who obligated himself to pay or one who upset his friend with his comments. In such a case, one should do the following: If he has money in your hand, “go humble yourself [hitrapes],” which is expounded as: Release for him the palm of your hand [hatter lo pissat yad] to give him his money. And if it is not money that you owe him, but rather you have “become ensnared by the words of your mouth” and owe him an apology for a personal slight, gather together many neighbors through which to seek his forgiveness.

The verse “When you lend your neighbor any manner of loan, you shall not go into his house to take his collateral” can be interpreted in a different direction, i.e., in another manner: You may not enter his house to take collateral for the loan, but if he owes wages, you may enter and take collateral for a porter’s wages, for a donkey driver’s wages, for an innkeeper’s payment, or for the wages for one who made drawings [diyokanaot] for him. One might have thought that this applies even if the one owed the money establishes it as a loan for the one who owes the money after he was already liable for such payment. Therefore, the verse states: “Any manner of loan” (Deuteronomy 24:10), which demonstrates that once the debt has been converted into a loan, it is like any other loan, and therefore one may not take collateral against the debtor’s will.

mishna With regard to a widow, whether she is poor or whether she is wealthy, one may not take collateral from her, as it is stated: “And you may not take the garment of a widow as collateral” (Deuteronomy 24:17).

gemara The Sages taught: With regard to a widow, whether she is poor or whether she is wealthy, one may not take collateral from her. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.

Rabbi Shimon says: With regard to a wealthy widow, one may take collateral from her. But with regard to a poor widow, one may not take collateral from her, because you are obligated to return it to her, in accordance with the halakha that the collateral of a poor person must be returned to him whenever he needs it. And since you will be entering every day to return the collateral to her, you will thereby give her a bad name among her neighbors, as they will suspect her of developing an inappropriate relationship with you. By contrast, in the case of a wealthy widow, since there is no obligation to return her collateral, it is permitted to take collateral from her.

The Gemara asks: Is this to say that Rabbi Yehuda does not interpret the rationale behind the mitzva in the verse and draw halakhic conclusions based on that interpretation, and Rabbi Shimon does interpret the rationale behind the mitzva in the verse? But haven’t we heard them holding the reverse opinions elsewhere?

As it is taught in a mishna (Sanhedrin 21a) concerning the mitzvot of a king: “And he should not multiply wives for himself, that his heart not turn away” (Deuteronomy 17:17). Rabbi Yehuda says: He may accumulate many wives for himself, provided that they are not like those who turn his heart from reverence for God. Rabbi Shimon says: Even one who turns his heart away, he should not marry her. If so, why is it stated: “He shall not multiply wives for himself”? This teaches that even with regard to wives like Abigail, who was righteous and prevented David from sin (see I Samuel chapter 25), he is forbidden to have many. In this case, Rabbi Shimon does not interpret the rationale of the verse, while Rabbi Yehuda does interpret its rationale.

The Gemara answers: Actually, Rabbi Yehuda does not generally interpret the rationale of the verse, and it is different here, with regard to a king, as the verse itself specifies the reason: “And he should not multiply wives for himself, that his heart not turn away.” What is the reason that he may not multiply wives for himself? It is because he must ensure that his heart will not turn away.

And Rabbi Shimon maintains: Since we generally interpret the rationale in the verse, there is no need for the verse itself to supply the rationale for the prohibition. Let the Merciful One state: “He may not multiply,” and we do not need the Torah to add “that his heart not turn away,” and I would already know the answer to the question: What is the reason that he may not accumulate many wives? It is because of the concern that his heart not turn away. If so, why do I need the phrase “His heart not turn away” that the Merciful One writes? It must certainly be necessary in order to increase the scope of the prohibition: Even if there is one woman who turns his heart away, he may not marry her. Therefore, the verse includes two halakhot: A general stricture against a king’s marrying too many women, and a further halakha that a king may not marry even one woman who will lead him astray.

MISHNA: One who takes a millstone as collateral violates a prohibition, and he is liable for taking two vessels, i.e., both millstones in the pair, as it is stated: “He shall not take the lower or upper millstone as collateral” (Deuteronomy 24:6). The tanna adds: Not only did the Sages say that it is prohibited to take the lower or upper millstone as collateral, but they also said that one may not take anything that people use in the preparation of food [okhel nefesh], as it is stated: “For he takes a man’s life [nefesh] as collateral” (Deuteronomy 24:6).

GEMARA: Rav Huna says: One who took a lower millstone as collateral is flogged with two sets of lashes: One set is due to violating the prohibition of taking the lower millstone as collateral, and the second is due to: “For he takes a man’s life as collateral,” since he took an item used in the preparation of food. If he took the lower and upper millstone, he is flogged with three sets of lashes: Two sets are due to violating the prohibitions of taking a lower millstone and an upper millstone as collateral, and the third is due to violating the prohibition: “For he takes a man’s life as collateral.”

And Rav Yehuda says: If he took a lower millstone as collateral he is flogged with one set of lashes, if he took an upper millstone he is flogged with one set of lashes, and if he took both the lower and upper millstones together as collateral he is flogged with two sets of lashes. With regard to the verse: “For he takes a man’s life as collateral,”

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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