סקר
לקראת סיום מסכת עירובין






 

Steinsaltz

If it is written in a promissory note that one borrowed an unspecified amount of sela’im, or that one borrowed an unspecified amount of dinars, and the creditor says: I lent you five sela, and the debtor says: You lent me only three, in this case Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: Since the debtor admitted to part of the claim, he takes an oath. Rabbi Akiva says: Since the wording of the note indicates only that he owes two dinars, the minimum plural amount, by admitting that he owes three he is merely the equivalent of one returning a lost item, and he is exempt from taking an oath.

In any event, the baraita teaches that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: Since the debtor admitted to part of the claim, he takes an oath. This indicates that the reason that he is obligated to take an oath is specifically because he said that he owes three dinars, but had he admitted to owing only two, he would have been exempt from taking an oath. And concerning the minimal obligation recorded in this promissory note, to which he admits, which is two dinars, it is as though he said: Here you are. An obligation recorded in a promissory note is tantamount to an obligation concerning which the defendant says: Here you are. And therefore, conclude from it that one who says: Here you are, is exempt from taking an oath with regard to the part of the claim he denies.

The Gemara rejects this: No, actually I will say to you that even if he admitted that he owes two dinars he is obligated to take an oath, and the reason that the baraita teaches the dispute specifically with regard to the case of three dinars is not to exclude a case where he admits that he owes only two, but rather it is to exclude the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, who says that he is the equivalent of one returning a lost item, and he is therefore exempt. Therefore, Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar teaches us that he is considered like one who admits to part of the claim, and he is obligated to take an oath.

The Gemara asks: If so, the baraita should have been phrased differently. If the defendant is obligated to take an oath even in a case where he admits that he owes two dinars, rather than stating that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: Since the debtor admitted to part of the claim, he takes an oath, the baraita should have stated: Even this one, who admits to owing three dinars, takes an oath, in addition to one who admits to owing two dinars.

Rather, that explanation should be rejected. Actually, if he admits that he owes two dinars, he is exempt from taking an oath, but nevertheless, one who says: Here you are, is obligated to take an oath. And the reason for this distinction is that here, the case is different, as the note supports him, i.e., it indicates that he owes two dinars. Therefore, he is exempt from taking an oath with regard to the rest.

Alternatively, if he admits to owing two dinars he is exempt for a different reason: Because a promissory note creates a lien on the debtor’s land, and there is a principle that one does not take an oath with regard to a debtor’s denial of a debt that is secured with a lien on land. Oaths are administered only when one denies owing money or movable property.

There are those who raise an objection to Rav Sheshet’s opinion from the latter clause of this baraita, which teaches that Rabbi Akiva says: He is merely the equivalent of one returning a lost item and is exempt from taking an oath. The Gemara infers: The reason he is exempt is that he said that he owes three dinars. But had he admitted to owing only two, he would have been obligated to take an oath. And concerning the minimal obligation recorded in this promissory note, to which he admits, which is two dinars, it is as though he said: Here you are. Learn from it that one who says: Here you are, is obligated to take an oath.

The Gemara rejects this: No, actually I will say to you that if he admits that he owes two dinars he is also exempt from taking an oath, and the reason that the baraita teaches the dispute specifically with regard to the case of three dinars is to exclude the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, who says that he is considered one who admits to part of the claim and he is obligated to take an oath. Rabbi Akiva, therefore, teaches us that in his opinion, the defendant is the equivalent of one returning a lost item, and he is exempt from taking an oath.

The Gemara comments: So too, it is reasonable to explain the baraita as just explained, as, if it enters your mind that one who admits that he owes two dinars is obligated to take an oath, how does Rabbi Akiva deem him exempt in a case where he admits that he owes three dinars? Perhaps this debtor is employing artifice, thinking: If I say that I owe two, I will be required to take an oath. Therefore, I will say that I owe three so that I will be considered equivalent to one returning a lost item and will be exempt from taking an oath. Rather, learn from it that even if he admits that he owes only two dinars, he is also exempt from taking an oath.

The Gemara asks: But this explanation poses a difficulty to the opinion of Rabbi Ḥiyya, that a defendant is obligated to take an oath in a case where he says: Here you are. In other words, Rabbi Ḥiyya’s opinion is negated by the case of one who admits that he owes only two dinars, where he is exempt from taking an oath. The Gemara answers: The case there is different, as the note supports him. Therefore, he is not required to take an oath. Alternatively, he is exempt because a promissory note creates a lien on the debtor’s land, and there is a principle that one does not take an oath with regard to a debtor’s denial of a debt that is secured with a lien on land.

Mar Zutra, son of Rav Naḥman, raises an objection to the opinion of Rav Sheshet from a mishna (Shevuot 38b): If one claimed that another owed him vessels and land, and the defendant admitted to owing him vessels but denied that he owes him land, or conversely, if he admitted to owing him land but denied that he owes him vessels, he is exempt from taking an oath with regard to what he denies. If he admitted that he owes him part of the land, he is exempt. If he admitted to owing some of the vessels, he is obligated to take an oath with regard to the remainder.

The Gemara infers: The reason he is exempt in the first cases is because the claim is for vessels and land, as a claim with regard to land is not subject to an oath. But if the claim is for vessels and vessels, i.e., two sets of vessels, in a manner similar to the case of a claim for vessels and land, he is obligated to take an oath. What are the circumstances of such a case? Is it not a case where he said to him: Here you are? And learn from the mishna that one who says: Here you are, is obligated to take an oath.

The Gemara answers: No, actually I will say to you that if the claim is for vessels and vessels he is also exempt. And the fact that the mishna teaches the case of vessels and land teaches us this different halakha: If he admitted that he owes some of the vessels, and is therefore obligated to take an oath, he is also obligated to take an oath with regard to the land that he denied owing his creditor, although in and of itself one does not take an oath with regard to land.

The Gemara asks: What is this teaching us? Is this teaching the halakha of binding? According to this halakha, one who is obligated to take an oath in response to a claim can be required to take an oath with regard to an additional claim of land. This cannot be, as we already learned this halakha in a mishna in tractate Kiddushin (26a): When there is a claim brought against a person for movable property and land, and he is obligated to take an oath with regard to the property that does not serve as a guarantee, i.e., the movable property, it binds the property that serves as a guarantee, i.e., the land, so that he is forced to take an oath with regard to it too. Why is this halakha repeated in tractate Shevuot?

The Gemara answers: The mishna here, in Shevuot, is the main reference to this halakha, as it discusses the halakhot of oaths, whereas the mishna there, in tractate Kiddushin, cites it incidentally, in the context of a broader survey of the difference between these two types of property.

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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