ובעל חוב בבינונית and the halakha of a creditor is to collect only from intermediate-quality land, not from superior-quality land.
וכי תימא סבר ר"ע כל בעל חוב נמי בעידית איכא למיפרך מה לבעל חוב שכן יפה כחו בנזקין תאמר בהקדש שהורע כחו בנזקין And if you would say that Rabbi Akiva holds that a creditor can collect the money owed him from superior-quality land as well, there is still a difficulty; the a fortiori inference can still be refuted in the following manner: What is notable about an ordinary creditor? He is notable in that the Torah enhanced his power with regard to payment of damages, as an ordinary person can collect payment of damages for loss or injury caused by another’s ox. But can you say the same about the Temple treasury of consecrated property, with regard to which the Torah weakened its power with regard to payment of damages, not allowing it to collect such compensation? Accordingly, even if a creditor collects from superior-quality land, it does not necessarily follow that a Temple treasurer would also do so. It is therefore apparent that Rabbi Akiva’s a fortiori inference is not referring to the case of one who donates money to the Temple.
לעולם דנגח תורא דידן לתורא דהקדש ודקא קשיא לך שור רעהו אמר רחמנא ולא שור של הקדש ר"ע סבר לה כר"ש בן מנסיא The Gemara rejects this: Actually, we can explain that we are dealing here with a case where our ox gored an ox that is consecrated property. And with regard to that which posed a difficulty for you about this explanation, i.e., that the Merciful One states: “The ox of another” (Exodus 21:35), which indicates that liability is incurred only for damaging another person’s ox but not for an ox consecrated to the Temple, Rabbi Akiva disagrees with that interpretation and holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya.
דתניא ר"ש בן מנסיא אומר שור של הקדש שנגח שור של הדיוט פטור שור של הדיוט שנגח שור של הקדש בין תם בין מועד משלם נזק שלם As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya says: If an ox that is consecrated property gored an ox belonging to a common person [hedyot], the Temple treasury is exempt from liability. By contrast, in the case of an ox belonging to a common person that gored an ox that is consecrated property, whether the ox that gored the other ox was an innocuous ox, i.e., an ox with no consistent history of causing damage with the intent to injure, or it was a forewarned ox, i.e., an ox whose owner was forewarned because his ox had already gored another ox three times, the ox’s owner pays the full cost of the damage.
אי הכי ר' ישמעאל ור"ע ממאי דבעידית דניזק וזיבורית דמזיק פליגי דלמא דכ"ע בדניזק שיימינן והכא בפלוגתא דר"ש בן מנסיא ורבנן קמפלגי The Gemara asks: If so, from where do you know to say that Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael disagree about a case where the superior-quality land belonging to the injured party and the inferior-quality land belonging to the one liable for the damage are equal in quality, and the one liable for the damage also has land of superior quality, as the dispute was previously interpreted by Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov? Perhaps everyone, including Rabbi Akiva, agrees that we appraise the value of the land of the injured party, and here they disagree with regard to the dispute between Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya and the Rabbis.
ר"ע סבר כר"ש בן מנסיא ור' ישמעאל סבר כרבנן The Gemara explains: Rabbi Akiva holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya, that in the case of damage caused by the ox of a common person to the property of the Temple treasury, compensation is collected from superior-quality land belonging to the one liable for the damage. And Rabbi Yishmael holds in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, that the owner of the ox bears no liability. In other words, perhaps in the baraita recording the dispute between Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Akiva (see 6b), Rabbi Yishmael first taught that land is appraised based on the quality of the injured party’s land, and then, although it is not explicit in the baraita, he continued to state his opinion that the Temple treasury is unable to collect damages. Accordingly, Rabbi Akiva can be understood as having first expressed his agreement concerning the valuation of land and then proceeding to dispute Rabbi Yishmael’s opinion with regard to the Temple treasury.
א"כ מאי לא בא הכתוב The Gemara rejects this suggestion: If it is so that this is the disagreement, then what is the meaning of Rabbi Akiva’s statement: The verse comes only to allow injured parties to collect compensation from superior-quality land? This indicates that Rabbi Akiva disagrees about how to understand this verse.
ועוד מאי ק"ו להקדש And furthermore, if the subject is the Temple treasury, what is the meaning of: And by means of an a fortiori inference one can derive that the Temple treasury of consecrated property collects from superior-quality land. If, as suggested, Rabbi Akiva holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya, then he maintains that damage to consecrated property is dealt with more stringently than damage to another person’s property, in that if one’s ox damages consecrated property one is liable for the full cost of the damage even if the ox was considered innocuous. If damage to consecrated property is dealt with more stringently, there is no basis to derive an a fortiori inference.
ועוד הא אמר רב אשי תניא בהדיא (שמות כב, ד) מיטב שדהו ומיטב כרמו ישלם מיטב שדהו של ניזק ומיטב כרמו של ניזק דברי רבי ישמעאל ר"ע אומר מיטב שדהו של מזיק ומיטב כרמו של מזיק: And furthermore, didn’t Rav Ashi say: It is taught explicitly in a baraita: The verse: “The best of his field and the best of his vineyard he shall pay” (Exodus 22:4), teaches that the appraisal is of the best of the field of the injured party, and of the best of the vineyard of the injured party. This is the statement of Rabbi Yishmael. Rabbi Akiva says: The appraisal is of the best of the field of the one liable for the damage, and of the best of the vineyard of the one liable for the damage. This clearly indicates that according to Rabbi Akiva compensation is collected from the superior-quality land belonging to the one liable for the damage.
רמי ליה אביי לרבא כתיב מיטב שדהו ומיטב כרמו ישלם מיטב אין מידי אחרינא לא § The Gemara considers others issues concerning the form in which restitution should be paid: Abaye raises a contradiction and addresses it to Rava: It is written: “The best of his field and of the best of his vineyard he shall pay” (Exodus 22:4), which indicates that from his best-quality land, yes, he shall pay, but from something else, no, he shall not pay.
והתניא (שמות כא, לד) ישיב לרבות שוה כסף ואפילו סובין But isn’t it taught in a baraita: The verse states: “And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit and not cover it, and an ox or a donkey fall therein, the owner of the pit shall pay; he shall recompense money to its owners” (Exodus 21:33–34)? Since the verse states: “The owner of the pit shall pay,” the additional term “he shall recompense” is superfluous. It therefore serves to include any item worth money, and even bran, a relatively inferior commodity, as valid forms of restitution.
לא קשיא כאן מדעתו כאן בעל כרחו Rava resolves the contradiction: This is not difficult. Here, the term “he shall recompense” is referring to a case where he pays of his own volition, without being taken to court, and he may therefore use any form of payment. There, the phrase “of the best of his field” is referring to a case where he pays against his will, after the injured party has sued him in court. Since he caused the injured party additional trouble, he must pay using his best-quality land.
אמר עולא בריה דרב עילאי דיקא נמי דכתיב ישלם בעל כרחו Ulla, son of Rav Ilai, said: According to this explanation, the language of the verse is also precise, as it is written: “He shall pay,” a term that, as opposed to: “He shall recompense,” connotes that he is forced to pay against his will.
א"ל אביי מי כתיב ישולם ישלם כתיב מדעתו משמע Abaye said to him that the precise meaning of the verse does not indicate that he is paying against his will: Is it written: He shall be paid, in the passive form, which would clearly indicate that he did not voluntarily initiate the payment himself but rather is paying against his will? No; “he shall pay” is written, which can also indicate that he pays of his own volition.
אלא אמר אביי כדמר דתניא הרי שהיו לו בתים שדות וכרמים ואינו מוצא למוכרן מאכילין אותו מעשר עני עד מחצה Rather, Abaye said an alternative resolution, similar to that with which the Master, i.e., Abaye’s teacher, Rabba, employed in order to resolve a different difficulty. As it is taught in a baraita: A wealthy person is not entitled to take a poor man’s tithe. He is instead expected to sell his assets and purchase food with the proceeds. But in the case of an individual who owns houses, fields, and vineyards, but at the present time cannot find buyers to whom he can sell them, one may feed him with food from the poor man’s tithe up until half the value of his assets.
והוי בה מר היכי דמי אי הוזל ארעתא דכ"ע ודידיה נמי זל בהדייהו אפילו טובא נמי ליספי ליה דהא זול דכ"ע נמי And the Master discussed it and asked: What are the circumstances that led to him being unable to sell his land? If everyone’s land depreciated in value, and his land also depreciated along with theirs, let us provide him with even more than half the value of his assets, as, since everyone’s land also depreciated, the market value of his property is low and he is genuinely classified as a poor person, who may take as much poor man’s tithe as is given to him.
אלא דאוקיר ארעתא דכולי עלמא ודידיה איידי דעייל ונפיק אזוזי זל ארעיה Rather, it must be that everyone else’s land appreciated in value, and with regard to his land, since people see that he goes in and goes out for money, i.e., he is in need of money, they reason that he will be forced to accept a lower offer for his property. Consequently, his land depreciated in value.