וּפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי עֵדָיו: and so-and-so and so-and-so were its witnesses. The ratification document is signed, and it may be used as a replacement for the erased document.
גְּמָ׳ תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן אֵיזֶהוּ קִיּוּמוֹ בְּמוֹתַב תְּלָתָא הֲוֵינָא אָנוּ פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי הוֹצִיא פְּלוֹנִי בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי שְׁטָר מָחוּק לְפָנֵינוּ בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי עֵדָיו וְאִם כָּתוּב בּוֹ הוּזְקַקְנוּ לְעֵדוּתָן שֶׁל עֵדִים וְנִמְצֵאת עֵדוּתָן מְכֻוֶּונֶת גּוֹבֶה וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה וְאִם לָאו צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה GEMARA: The Sages taught (Tosefta, Bava Metzia 1:16): What is the text of the ratification document of an erased document? The court writes as follows: We, so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so, were sitting as three judges, and so-and-so, son of so-and-so, produced an erased document before us, which was written on such and such a date, and so-and-so and so-and-so were its witnesses. And if it is written in this ratification document also: We engaged in the investigation of the testimony of the witnesses and their testimony has been found to be congruent, the creditor can collect his debt on the basis of this ratification document, and he does not need to bring further proof. But if this formula is not written, the creditor needs to bring further proof of the loan in order to collect it.
נִקְרַע פָּסוּל נִתְקָרַע כָּשֵׁר נִמְחַק אוֹ נִטַּשְׁטֵשׁ אִם רִישּׁוּמוֹ נִיכָּר כָּשֵׁר The baraita continues with its discussion of damaged documents: If a promissory note was torn intentionally it is not valid, but if it became torn accidentally it is valid. In a case where it was erased or smudged, if its imprint is recognizable, i.e., if the words are still legible, though barely, it is valid.
הֵיכִי דָּמֵי נִקְרַע הֵיכִי דָּמֵי נִתְקָרַע אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה נִקְרַע קֶרַע שֶׁל בֵּית דִּין נִתְקָרַע קֶרַע שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֶׁל בֵּית דִּין The Gemara seeks to clarify the terms in the second part of the baraita: What are the circumstances, i.e., what are the defining characteristics, of a document that was torn, and what are the circumstances of a document that became torn? Rav Yehuda says: A document that was torn means that it had a tear created by the court, because they wished to render it not valid due to payment of the loan or some other circumstance. A document that became torn means it had a tear that was not created by the court.
הֵיכִי דָּמֵי קֶרַע שֶׁל בֵּית דִּין אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה מְקוֹם עֵדִים וּמְקוֹם הַזְּמַן וּמְקוֹם הַתּוֹרֶף אַבָּיֵי אָמַר שְׁתִי וָעֵרֶב The Gemara seeks further clarification: What are the circumstances, i.e., what are the signs, of a document that had a tear created by the court? Rav Yehuda says: The document has a tear that ruins the place of the witnesses’ signatures and the place of the date and the place of the essential part of a document. Abaye says: It has a tear that goes both lengthwise and widthwise.
הָנְהוּ עַרְבָאֵי דַּאֲתוֹ לְפוּמְבְּדִיתָא דַּהֲווֹ קָא אָנְסִי אַרְעָתָא דְאִינָשֵׁי אֲתוֹ מָרָווֹתַיְהוּ לְקַמֵּיהּ דְּאַבָּיֵי אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ לִיחְזֵי מָר שְׁטָרִין וְלִכְתּוֹב לַן מָר שְׁטָרָא אַחֲרִינָא עֲלֵיהּ דְּאִי מִיתְּנִיס חַד נְקִיטִינַן חַד בִּידַן § The Gemara relates: There was once a certain group of Arabs who came to Pumbedita and who would rob people’s land and force the victims to surrender the deeds to their property to prevent subsequent legal action. The owners of land who had not yet had fallen victim to these Arabs came before Abaye and said to him: Let the Master look at our deeds to our property and let the Master write us another deed for it, so that if one of the deeds is robbed we will have the other one in our possession.
אֲמַר לְהוּ מַאי אֶעֱבֵיד לְכוּ דְּאָמַר רַב סָפְרָא אֵין כּוֹתְבִין שְׁנֵי שְׁטָרוֹת עַל שָׂדֶה אַחַת דִּלְמָא טָרֵיף וַהֲדַר טָרֵיף Abaye said to them: What can I do for you? I cannot comply with your request, as Rav Safra says: One may not write two deeds of ownership for one field, lest the owner of that land repossess property once and then go back and repossess it once again. Generally, whenever real estate is sold there is a guarantee given to the purchaser in the event that the land is repossessed by the seller’s creditor or by someone else who proves that the land rightfully belongs to him. If the seller of the repossessed land has no money to honor the guarantee, the purchaser can repossess property from others who had purchased property from the same seller subsequent to the sale of the repossessed land. In order to do so, he would have to produce the bill of sale proving that he had purchased the repossessed property. If he has two such deeds, he would be able to collect payment twice. To eliminate this possibility, duplicate property deeds are not written.
הֲווֹ קָא טָרְדִי לֵיהּ אֲמַר לֵיהּ לְסָפְרֵיהּ זִיל כְּתוֹב לְהוּ הוּא עַל הַמְּחָק וְעֵדָיו עַל הַנְּיָיר דְּפָסוּל The landowners kept badgering Abaye to write the duplicate documents, until, in order to be rid of them, he said to his scribe: Go write the document for them, but first write on paper and then erase it, and then write the desired document over the erased text, so that the text of the document will be written over an erasure, and the signatures of its witnesses will be on a part of the paper where the writing had not been erased, a situation in which the document is not valid.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַב אַחָא בַּר מִנְיוֹמֵי לְאַבָּיֵי וְדִלְמָא רִישּׁוּמוֹ נִיכָּר וְתַנְיָא נִמְחַק אוֹ נִטַּשְׁטֵשׁ אִם רִישּׁוּמוֹ נִיכָּר כָּשֵׁר אָמַר לֵיהּ מִי קָאָמֵינָא שְׁטָרָא מְעַלְּיָא אָלֶף בֵּית בְּעָלְמָא קָאָמֵינָא Rav Aḥa bar Minyumi said to Abaye: But perhaps the first writing on the paper was not erased thoroughly, so its imprint is recognizable, and it is taught in the baraita that in a case where the writing on a document was erased or smudged, if its imprint is recognizable, the document is valid. Abaye said to him: Did I say that he should write a proper document and then erase it? I said, i.e., I intended, that he should merely write letters of the alphabet [alef beit], not actual words.
תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן הֲרֵי שֶׁבָּא וְאָמַר אָבַד שְׁטַר חוֹבִי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמְרוּ עֵדִים אָנוּ כָּתַבְנוּ וְחָתַמְנוּ וְנָתַנְנוּ לוֹ אֵין כּוֹתְבִין לוֹ אֶת הַשְּׁטָר בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשִׁטְרֵי הַלְוָאָה אֲבָל שִׁטְרֵי מִקָּח וּמִמְכָּר כּוֹתְבִין חוּץ מִן הָאַחְרָיוּת שֶׁבּוֹ § The Sages taught in a baraita: In a case where one came to court and said: My promissory note was lost, even if witnesses said: We wrote and signed such a promissory note and gave it to this man, the court may not write a new document for him. The Gemara asks: In what case is this statement said? In the case of documents detailing loans. But in a case of deeds of buying and selling land, the court may write a replacement document, excluding the standard guarantee that was in the first document, which states that if the field is repossessed the seller will compensate the purchaser for his loss.