R. Shmuel b. Bisna locates a case where movables could be on a very tiny piece of land—the person stuck a needle into the ground. Buying this ground would allow one to buy the needle with it. But it would not allow one to buy movables not on the land.
R. Joseph responds that this is absurd—would a baraita teach such a halakhah—one can buy a tiny needle, when he buys a tiny piece of land? Surely the baraita was referring to a more consequential case, one in which a person was trying to buy a very tiny, almost non-existent piece land so that with it he could buy valuable movables that are not on this land.
R. Ashi defends R. Shmuel b. Bisna—perhaps he put a pearl on the end of the needle!
In this story a man wants to give away movables but the movables are not with him. So he buys a small plot of land, which here we seem to think cost a sela (very small amount of money for land). Clearly, a hundred sheep and a hundred barrels cannot fit on this piece of land. Nevertheless, by giving away the tiny piece of land land, he is also able to give away the sheep. This proves that the movables need not be on the land.
The Talmud reinterprets “bet sela” from a very small piece of land, to a large piece of land that was hard as a rock (a sela). We now assume that the sheep and barrels fit on the land. This discussion will continue tomorrow.
Today’s section continues to discuss whether movables must be on the land when they are acquired together with it.
This story seems to prove that one can transfer movables by transferring land without the movables being on the land. Certainly, a hundred sheep and barrels cannot fit on a piece of land that is only one handbreadth square.
There are two versions of the story, and these are dependent on whether a dying person can transfer property by a declaration alone. According to the sages, he may and therefore this person who transferred his property by a more formal act, must have been healthy. Had he been sick they would not have told him he needed to transfer property by use of land. According to R. Eliezer, even a person who is dying cannot transfer ownership without a formal acquisition, therefore this person could have even been a sick person. Sick or healthy, they would have told him he needed to use land to transfer the movables.
The Talmud rejects the idea that the sheep and barrels were literally being transferred. Rather, it was the monetary equivalent of 100 sheep and barrels. Evidence for this is the fact that had he wanted to give away real objects, he could have done so by symbolic exchange.
The problem with it being money is that the recipient could have just taken the money and acquired it through meshikhah. And if we say that the recipient is absent, then how could symbolic exchange have been done. This is why his only option was through land.
Theoretically, he could have transferred his money to another by use of a third party. But this would entail the risk that a third party would steal the money. Due to this risk, his only option was to transfer the money through land.
In the end, we still have no proof that the property being transferred with the land does not need to be on the land. This discussion will continue next week.
This week’s daf continues to discuss whether when transferring movables through the transfer of land, the movables must be heaped on the land.
In this story, Rabban Gamaliel wants to eat his produce but tithe it by setting aside produce not on the ship. This way he can eat all the food on the ship. He declares that the first tithe will go to R. Joshua (who is a Levite) and the poor tithe will go to Akiva b. Joseph, who is poor. To transfer them the produce, he rents the space to them so that they can acquire it. This seems to prove that to transfer movables, the movables must be on the land being transferred.
The Talmud rejects the proof. He might have rented them this property just so they could leave the tithes there for a while.
The discussion will continue tomorrow.