אפילו פורתא נמי לא ליספו ליה The Gemara asks: But if that is the case, we should not provide him with even a slight amount of poor man’s tithe. Since his assets, based on their market value, have a high value, he is not to be classified as a poor person.
ואמר מר עלה לא צריכא דביומי ניסן יקרא ארעתא וביומי תשרי זל ארעתא And the Master, Rabba, said concerning this: No, the halakha that he is provided with only up to half the value of his assets is necessary in a case where he cannot sell due to seasonal fluctuations in price. This is because in the days of the month of Nisan, which is the beginning of the harvest season, the market value of land appreciates, and in the days of the month of Tishrei, a time when the harvest had already been reaped and it is too late to prepare the land for the coming year, the market value of land depreciates.
דכ"ע נטרי עד ניסן ומזבני והאי הואיל ואצטריכא ליה זוזי זבין כדהשתא עד פלגא אורחיה למיזל טפי לאו אורחיה למיזל Consequently, everyone generally waits until Nisan and sells only at that point. But this person, since he is in need of money, sells his land in Tishrei according to the current, lower, market price. Accordingly, based on the current market prices, his assets have a low value and there is justification in regarding him as a poor person. Yet, since if he waited until Nisan, as everyone else does, his land would have a high value, he cannot truly be classified as a poor person. Therefore, he is permitted to take only as much poor man’s tithe as will cover his losses. The Gemara explains why he is permitted to take only up to half the value of his land: Since it is the nature of land to depreciate up to half its value, and it is not its nature to depreciate more than that, he is entitled to take poor man’s tithe that is worth up to half the value of his land and the rest he can supplement by selling his land at its current, lower price.
והכא נמי גבי נזקין דיניה בעידית Abaye uses a similar distinction to resolve the contradiction he raises: And here also, with regard to damages, if one considers a case where the injured party comes to collect his damages during Tishrei, his legal right is to collect payment from superior-quality land. This will be a relatively large amount of land, owing to the current seasonal depreciation in its value.
ואי א"ל איהו הב לי בינונית טפי פורתא א"ל אי שקלת כדינך שקול כדהשתא ואי לא שקיל כיוקרא דלקמיה But if the injured party says to the one liable for the damage: Give me slightly more land of intermediate quality instead, then the one liable for the damage can say to him: If you choose to take superior-quality land, as is your legal right, take a large amount in accordance with the current market value; but if not, and you wish to take intermediate-quality land, take according to the future value in Nisan, after it will have appreciated, which will mean you will be entitled to a smaller amount of land. This can be used to resolve the contradiction: The phrase “of the best of his field,” which indicates that payment is made only from superior-quality land, defines the injured party’s basic rights. The term “he shall recompense,” which indicates that payment may be made in any form, is referring to a case where the injured party forgoes his rights. In such a case the value of the land or item he agrees to receive is appraised based on its appreciated value at the season when it is generally sold.
מתקיף לה רב אחא בר יעקב א"כ הורעת כחן של נזקין אצל בינונית וזיבורית דרחמנא אמר ממיטב ואת אמרת מבינונית וזיבורית נמי לא Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov objects to this suggestion: If so, you have weakened the power of injured parties with regard to intermediate-quality and inferior-quality land, as, by agreeing to receive land of a lower quality than that to which their rights entitle them, they will actually receive less land, since the land is then appraised based on the appreciated market values in Nisan. Such an opinion is untenable, as the Merciful One states that injured parties collect from the best-quality land, clearly intending to enhance their rights, and yet you said he cannot also collect from intermediate-quality and inferior-quality land unless he agrees that the land should be appraised based on the appreciated Nisan values, thereby lowering the value of his payment.
אלא אמר רב אחא בר יעקב אי איכא לדמויי לב"ח מדמינן ליה בעל חוב דיניה בבינונית ואי א"ל הב לי זיבורית טפי פורתא א"ל אי שקלת כדינך שקול כדהשתא ואי לא שקיל כי יוקרא דלקמיה Rather, Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: If there is a case to compare to Rabba’s distinction, it is not compared to a case of payment of damages, but we can compare it to a case of a creditor who comes to collect the loan during Tishrei. His legal right is to collect from the borrower’s intermediate-quality land, which will be a relatively large amount owing to the current seasonal depreciation in the value of land. But if the creditor says to the borrower: Give me slightly more land of inferior quality instead, the borrower can say to him: If you choose to take the intermediate-quality land, as is your legal right, take a large amount in accordance with the current market value, but if not, and you wish to take land of inferior quality, take it in accordance with the future, appreciated, market value in the month of Nisan. This would mean that the creditor would be entitled to a smaller amount of land.
מתקיף לה רב אחא בריה דרב איקא א"כ נעלת דלת בפני לוין דא"ל אילו הוו לי זוזי הוה שקלי כדהשתא השתא דזוזי גבך אשקול כיוקרא דלקמיה Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, objects to this suggestion: If so, you have locked the door in the face of potential borrowers, as, according to your suggestion, the creditor is in a disadvantageous position. He can say to the borrower: Were I still to have the money I lent you, I would be able to purchase a large parcel of land in accordance with the current depreciated market value, so why, now that the money is with you, should I be forced to purchase land in accordance with the future, appreciated market value of the month of Nisan? If people are penalized as a result of granting loans, they will cease to do so.
אלא אמר רב אחא בריה דרב איקא אי איכא לדמויי לכתובת אשה מדמינן דהא כתובת אשה דינה בזיבורית ואי אמרה ליה איהי הב לי בינונית בציר פורתא אמר לה אי שקלת כדינך שקול כדהשתא ואי לא שקלי כיוקרא דלקמיה Rather, Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, said: If there is a case to compare to Rabba’s distinction, we can compare it to the collection of a woman’s marriage contract where she comes to collect it during Tishrei. As a woman’s legal right in a marriage contract is to collect payment from her husband’s inferior-quality land, which will be a relatively large amount owing to the current seasonal depreciation in the value of land. But if she says to her former husband: Give me slightly less land of intermediate quality instead, her former husband can say to her: If you choose to take the lowest-quality land, as is your legal right, take a large amount in accordance with the current market value, but if not, and you wish to take land of a higher quality, take in accordance with the future appreciated market value of the month of Nisan, which will mean you will be entitled only to a smaller amount of land.
מכל מקום קשיא The Gemara returns to examine the contradiction raised by Abaye: In any case, the original difficulty still remains.
אמר רבא כל דיהיב ליה ממיטב ליתיב ליה Rava said: Whatever he gives the injured party as payment he must give him of the best of that type. For example, even if he pays in bran he must pay with his best-quality bran, and this is the meaning of the phrase “of the best of his field.” Accordingly, the contra-diction is resolved. The term “he shall recompense” indicates that payment can be given in any form, but the phrase “of the best of his field” indicates only that whichever form of payment is used, it must be of a superior quality, and not, as Abaye initially understood it, as limiting the form of payment specifically to land of superior quality.
והא מיטב שדהו כתיב The Gemara asks: But isn’t “the best of his field” written, which suggests that the requirement to pay with one’s best land applies only when one pays with land?
אלא כי אתא רב פפא ורב הונא בריה דרב יהושע מבי רב פרשוה כל מילי מיטב הוא דאי לא מזדבן הכא מזדבן במתא אחריתי לבר מארעא דליתיב ליה ממיטב כי היכי דלקפוץ עלה זבינא: Rather, when Rav Pappa and Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, came from Rav’s academy, they explained it as follows: With regard to payment, all items are classified as property of the best quality, as, if an item cannot be sold here, it can be sold in another city. Since movable items are easily liquidated, they are always considered an acceptable form of payment. This is with the exception of land, which is not always easily sold. Therefore, the halakha is that the one liable for the damage must give the injured party payment from his best-quality land, which is easier to sell. This is in order to ensure the possibility that a buyer will jump at the opportunity to purchase it, thereby providing the injured party with the possibility of liquidating it. This resolves the contradiction. The phrase “of the best of his field” indicates that if payment is made with land it must be with superior-quality land, and the term “he shall recompense” indicates that if payment is made from movable property, anything worth money may be used.
בעא מיניה רב שמואל בר אבא מאקרוניא מרבי אבא כשהן שמין בשלו הן שמין או בשל עולם הן שמין § Rav Shmuel bar Abba from Akronya asked Rabbi Abba: When the court appraises land to determine if it is to be classified as being of superior-quality, does it appraise land based on the quality of a property owner’s other land or does it appraise it based on the quality of the land in the world at large?
אליבא דרבי ישמעאל לא תבעי לך דאמר בדניזק שיימינן The Gemara notes: Do not raise the dilemma in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael, as he says that we appraise land based on the quality of land owned by the injured party, and therefore payment is made with land that is of a similar quality to the best-quality land of the injured party. Accordingly, it is obvious that the classification is based only on the land of the injured party.
כי תבעי לך אליבא דרבי עקיבא דאמר בדמזיק שיימינן When you raise this dilemma, it is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, who says that we appraise land based on the quality of land owned by the one liable for the damage, and he pays with his superior-quality land even if its quality exceeds that of any of the injured party’s land. Consequently, according to Rabbi Akiva it is appropriate to ask whether the appraisal is based only on his other land or based on the land in the world at large.
מאי מיטב שדהו אמר רחמנא למעוטי דניזק או דלמא למעוטי דעלמא נמי The Gemara asks: What is the answer to the dilemma? When the Merciful One states: “The best of his field” (Exodus 22:4), does the stress in the verse on “his field” serve to exclude only the possibility of appraising land based solely on the value of the land of the injured party, but land is appraised based on the quality of land in the world at large? Or perhaps, does it serve to exclude the possibility of appraising land based on the quality of land of the world at large as well, and it is sufficient if the land he pays with is his best-quality land?
אמר ליה רחמנא אמר מיטב שדהו ואת אמרת בשל עולם הן שמין Rabbi Abba said to him: The Merciful One states: “The best of his field,” and you say the court appraises land based on the quality of land in the world at large? Certainly the term “his field” teaches that it is sufficient that the land be the best of the land of the one liable for the damage.
איתיביה אין לו אלא עידית כולם גובין מן העידית בינונית כולם גובין בינונית זיבורית כולם גובין זיבורית Rav Shmuel bar Abba raised an objection to this opinion from a baraita that delineates the forms of payment used for paying damages, repaying a debt to a creditor, and paying a marriage contract: If the debtor has only superior-quality land, all of them collect from the superior-quality land. Similarly, if he has only intermediate-quality land, all of them collect from the intermediate-quality land. And if he has only inferior-quality land, all of them collect from the inferior-quality land.
היו לו עידית ובינונית וזיבורית נזקין בעידית ובעל חוב בבינונית וכתובת אשה בזיבורית עידית ובינונית נזקין בעידית ב"ח וכתובת אשה בבינונית בינונית וזיבורית נזקין ובעל חוב בבינונית וכתובת אשה בזיבורית If he has superior-quality, intermediate-quality, and inferior-quality land, damages are paid from the superior-quality land, and a creditor collects from the intermediate-quality land, and a woman’s marriage contract is paid from the inferior-quality land. If he has only superior-quality and intermediate-quality land, damages are paid from the superior-quality land, and payment to a creditor and payment of a woman’s marriage contract are made from the intermediate-quality land. If he has only intermediate-quality and inferior-quality land, payments for damages and payments owed to a creditor are made from the intermediate-quality land, while payments of a woman’s marriage contract are made from the inferior-quality land.