שלא בפני בעל דין ולא והא קתני בין גדולים בין קטנים חייבין א"ל הרי מחלוקת סומכוס בצידך אמר איכפל כולי עלמא וקאי כסומכוס לאפקוען לדידי
who testify in the absence of a litigant? Since the defendant is a minor his presence is not legally recognized, and the court does not accept testimony against him. Rabbi Yirmeya questioned this assertion: And is it so that the court does not accept such testimony? But isn’t it taught that if a robber leaves stolen goods to his children, whether they are adults or minors, they are obligated to pay the owner? If the court obligates minors to pay, it must accept testimony about them. Rabbi Avin said to Rabbi Yirmeya: Sumakhos’s dispute is at your side, i.e., Sumakhos disagrees with this ruling and holds that the minors are exempt from paying. Rabbi Yirmeya said to him: Did the whole world go to the effort to hold in accordance with the opinion of Sumakhos in order to seize what is mine?
אדהכי איגלגל מילתא אתא ומטא לקמיה דרבי אבהו אמר לא שמיע לכו הא דרב יוסף בר חמא א"ר אושעיא דאמר רב יוסף בר חמא אמר רבי אושעיא תינוק שתקף בעבדיו וירד לתוך שדה של חבירו ואמר שלי הוא אין אומרים נמתין עד שיגדיל אלא מוציאין מידו מיד ולכשיגדיל יביא עדים ונראה
In the meantime, the matter circulated and eventually came before Rabbi Abbahu, who said: Did you not hear that which Rav Yosef bar Ḥama says that Rabbi Oshaya says? As Rav Yosef bar Ḥama says that Rabbi Oshaya says: With regard to a child who took his slaves and descended into the field of another and said: It is mine, the court does not say: Let us wait until he matures before we assess his claims. Rather, the court removes it from his possession immediately, and when he matures he may bring witnesses to attest to his claim and we will see how to judge the case. Similarly, Rabbi Yirmeya should be awarded the disputed property until his minor brother-in-law may litigate in court.
מי דמי התם הוא דמפקינן מיניה דלא קיימא ליה אחזקה דאבוה אבל היכא דאית ליה חזקה דאבוה לא
The Gemara rejects Rabbi Abbahu’s assertion: Is the case that Rav Yosef bar Ḥama discusses comparable to the case of Rabbi Yirmeya? It is there, in Rav Yosef bar Ḥama’s case, that we seize the property from him, because there is no presumption of ownership from his father; but where he does have a presumption of ownership from his father, no, we do not seize his property. Since Rabbi Yirmeya’s brother-in-law has a presumption of ownership due to the fact that the property belonged to his father, he retains control of the property.
אמר רב אשי א"ר שבתאי מקבלין עדים שלא בפני בעל דין תהי בה ר' יוחנן וכי מקבלין עדים שלא בפני בעל דין
§ Having mentioned the issue of testimony in the absence of a litigant, the Gemara discusses this matter in greater detail. Rav Ashi said that Rabbi Shabbtai says: The court accepts witnesses even in the absence of a litigant. Rabbi Yoḥanan wondered at this statement of Rav Ashi, and said: Does the court in fact accept witnesses in the absence of a litigant?
קיבלה מיניה ר' יוסי בר חנינא כגון שהיה הוא חולה או עדיו חולים או שהיו עדיו מבקשין לילך למדינת הים ושלחו לו ולא בא
Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina received the following guideline from Rabbi Yoḥanan: The court accepts testimony in the absence of the defendant only in a case where the plaintiff was ill, or his witnesses were ill, or his witnesses wished to travel overseas and the judges sent for the defendant and he did not come. Since there is a concern that the plaintiff will not be able to present his claims at a later date, the testimony is accepted even in the absence of the defendant.
אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מקבלין עדים שלא בפני בעל דין אמר מר עוקבא לדידי מיפרשא לי מיניה דשמואל כגון דפתחו ליה בדיניה ושלחו ליה ולא אתא אבל לא פתחו ליה בדינא מצי א"ל אנא לב"ד הגדול אזילנא
Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: The court accepts witnesses in the absence of a litigant. Mar Ukva said: This statement was explained to me personally by Shmuel himself, and he said that it applies in a case where the court opened his case and sent for him, but he did not appear. But if it did not yet open the case for him, he may say to the plaintiff: I am going to the High Court to resolve this case and will not appear in the local court.
אי הכי כי פתחו ליה נמי מצי א"ל לב"ד הגדול אזילנא אמר רבינא כגון דנקט דיסקא מבית דין הגדול
The Gemara asks: If so, then even when the court already opened the case for him, he should also be able to say to them: I am going to the High Court to resolve this case. The Gemara answers that Ravina said: The defendant may not defer an opened case to the High Court if, for example, the local court obtained a license from the High Court authorizing it to adjudicate the case.
אמר רב מקיימין את השטר שלא בפני בעל דין ור' יוחנן אמר אין מקיימין את השטר שלא בפני בעל דין א"ל רב ששת לרבי יוסי בר אבהו אסברה לך טעמיה דרבי יוחנן אמר קרא (שמות כא, כט) והועד בבעליו ולא ישמרנו אמרה תורה יבא בעל השור ויעמוד על שורו
§ Having discussed testimony in the absence of a litigant, the Gemara addresses a similar matter. Rav says: The court ratifies a document in the absence of a litigant. And Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The court does not ratify a document in the absence of a litigant. Rav Sheshet said to Rabbi Yosei bar Abbahu: I will explain Rabbi Yoḥanan’s reasoning to you. The verse states with regard to an ox that gored: “And warning has been given to its owner and he has not secured it” (Exodus 21:29). The Torah means to say: Let the owner of the ox come and stand by his ox when the testimony about the ox is provided. Similarly, a document may be ratified only in the presence of the individual it implicates.
אמר רבא הלכתא מקיימין את השטר שלא בפני בעל דין ואפי' עומד וצווח ואי אמר נקיטו לי זימנא עד דמייתינא סהדי ומרענא ליה לשטרא נקטינן ליה אי אתא אתא אי לא אתא נטרינן ליה בה"ב
Rava said: The halakha is that the court ratifies a document in the absence of a litigant, and this is the case even if the other litigant stands and screams in protest that the document is a forgery. And if he said: Give me time until I bring witnesses and disqualify the document, we give him time before forcing him to pay. If he has come with witnesses within the time allotted to him, he has come, and the court reviews the case accordingly. If he does not come within the time allotted to him, we give him an additional three days on which to bring witnesses, when the court is in session: Monday, Thursday, and Monday.
אי לא אתא כתבינן פתיחא עלויה תשעין יומין תלתין קמאי לא נחתינן לנכסיה דאמר קא טרח בזוזי וניזוף מציעאי נמי לא נחתינן ליה לנכסיה דאמר דלמא לא אשכח למיזף וקא טרח ומזבין בתראי נמי לא נחתינן לנכסיה דאמר לוקח גופיה קא טרח בזוזי
If he still has not come, we write a document of ostracism against him for ninety days. During the first thirty days we do not descend to his property to collect his debt, as the court says: Perhaps he is occupied with borrowing money to pay his debt. During the middle period of thirty days as well, we do not descend to his property, as the court says: Perhaps he did not find someone to borrow from and he is now occupied with selling his property in order to pay his debt. During the final thirty days as well, we do not descend to his property, as the court says: Perhaps the debtor has found a purchaser and the purchaser himself is occupied with obtaining the money so that he can pay the debtor for the sale, and the debtor will then pay his debt.
לא אתא כתבינן אדרכתא אניכסיה והני מילי דאמר אתינא אבל אמר לא אתינא לאלתר כתבינן
If the debtor still did not come to pay his debt after ninety days, we write a document of authorization [adrakhta] allowing the creditor to collect his due from any property belonging to the debtor. And this statement applies only in a case where the debtor said: I am coming to pay and then he does not actually make an appearance. But if he said: I am not coming, we immediately write a document of authorization without waiting for ninety days to pass.
והני מילי במלוה אבל בפקדון לאלתר כתבינן
Furthermore, this matter of a ninety-day waiting period applies only with regard to a loan, as the debtor requires time in order to obtain the money to pay it back. But with regard to a deposit that the owner demands back from a bailee, we write a document of authorization immediately. Since a bailee should have immediate access to the deposit, there is no reason to grant him an extension.
וכי כתבינן אמקרקעי אבל אמטלטלי לא דלמא שמיט ואכיל להו מלוה למטלטלי וכי אתי לוה ומייתי סהדי ומרע ליה לשטרא לא משכח מידי למיגבה
The Gemara adds: When we write a document of authorization, the document applies only to the borrower’s land, but with regard to movable property, the court does not draft such a document. The reason for this is that perhaps the creditor will seize and consume the borrower’s movable property, and when the borrower later comes and brings witnesses and thereby invalidates the creditor’s document, he will not find anything to collect in order to retrieve his money.
ואי אית ליה מקרקעי למלוה כתבינן ולא היא אדרכתא אמטלטלי לא כתבינן אף על גב דאית ליה מקרקעי חיישינן שמא תכסיף
And if the creditor owns land, we write a document authorizing the creditor to collect from any property that belongs to the borrower, including movable property. Since the creditor owns land, there is no concern that if the borrower manages to overturn the ruling he will have nothing from which to collect. The Gemara comments: And that is not so. The court does not draft a document of authorization with regard to movable property even if the creditor has land. This is because we are concerned lest the creditor’s land depreciate in value and the borrower will be unable to retrieve his money.
וכי כתבינן אדרכתא מודעינן ליה והני מילי דמיקרב אבל מירחק לא
The Gemara teaches another halakha with regard to this matter: When we write the document of authorization, we inform the party that is liable to pay, as a final warning before authorizing a creditor to locate and take possession of his property in repayment of the debt. And this matter applies only when he is nearby, but if he is distant, the court does not notify him before authorizing the creditor.
ואי מירחק ואיכא קרובים אי נמי איכא שיירתא דאזלי ואתו התם משהינן ליה תריסר ירחי שתא עד דאזלא ואתי שיירתא כי הא דרבינא שהא למר אחא תריסר ירחי שתא עד דאזלא ואתייא שיירתא מבי חוזאי
And if he is distant but there are relatives of his nearby, or if there are caravans that go to the borrower’s current location and return, we delay issuing his document of authorization for the twelve months of the year, until the caravan goes and returns, so that if he wishes to make a claim, he can do so. This is like that incident where Ravina delayed for the twelve months of the year before issuing a document of authorization for Mar Aḥa, until a caravan went to and returned from Bei Ḥozai.
ולא היא התם איניש אלימא הוה אי הויא מטיא אדרכתא לידיה לא הוה אפשר לאפוקי מיניה אבל הכא לא נטרינן ליה אלא עד דאזיל שליחא בתלתא בשבתא ואתא בארבעה בשבתא ולחמשא בשבתא קאי בדיניה
The Gemara comments: And that is not so. There, Ravina delayed issuing the document because the creditor was a violent man, and if a document of authorization would come into his possession, it would not be possible to take it from him if the borrower would prove that the original document was invalid. But here, i.e., in general, we wait for the defendant to be informed only if he is close enough to be informed within a day. Consequently, if the court decided the issue on Monday, a messenger would go inform the defendant on Tuesday, and he could come from his location to the court on Wednesday and stand trial on Thursday. If a debtor is more than a day’s travel away, however, the court does not trouble itself to notify him.
אמר רבינא האי שלוחא דרבנן מהימנינן ליה כבי תרי וה"מ לשמתא אבל לפתיחא כיון דממונא קא מחסר ליה דקא בעי ליה למיתב ליה זוזי לספרא לא
§ Apropos the Gemara’s discussion of summoning an individual to court by means of a messenger, the Gemara discusses this issue in a more general manner. Ravina said: We deem the agent of the Rabbis, who was sent to summon an individual to court, as credible as two witnesses if he says that the defendant refuses to come to court. And this matter applies only with regard to excommunication, but with regard to issuing a document of ostracism, since it causes the defendant loss of money, as he must give money to the scribe for drafting the document, no, the agent is not deemed credible.
אמר רבינא יהבינן זימנא אפומא דאיתתא ואפומא דשיבבי ולא אמרן אלא דליתיה במתא
Additionally, Ravina said: We may give a defendant a particular time to appear in court by informing him of the trial by word of mouth from a woman or from his neighbors, as these people are trusted to notify the defendant of the court’s summons. The Gemara comments: And we said this only when the defendant is not in the city.