מתני׳ יתומין שסמכו אצל בעל הבית או שמינה להן אביהן אפוטרופוס חייב לעשר פירותיהם MISHNA: With regard to orphans who are living with a homeowner who takes care of all their needs and affairs, even if neither their father nor the court officially appointed him to this task, or if their father appointed a steward [apotropos] for them, this person is obligated to tithe their produce.
אפוטרופוס שמינהו אבי יתומים ישבע מינוהו ב"ד לא ישבע אבא שאול אומר חילוף הדברים: With regard to a steward who was appointed by the orphans’ father, when he returns all of the property to the orphans upon their reaching adulthood, he takes an oath that he took nothing of theirs for himself. By contrast, if the court appointed him to serve as a steward for them, then he is not required to take such an oath. Abba Shaul says: The matters are reversed. A steward appointed by the court takes an oath, but a steward appointed by the orphans’ father is not required to do so.
גמ׳ ורמינהו (במדבר יח, לא) אתם ולא שותפין אתם ולא אריסין אתם ולא אפוטרופין ולא התורם את שאינו שלו GEMARA: The mishna teaches that a steward is obligated to tithe the produce of the orphans in his charge. The Gemara raises a contradiction from a baraita that expounds a verse dealing with the teruma of the tithe, given by a Levite to a priest: “Thus you, also you, shall offer a gift to the Lord” (Numbers 18:28). The emphasis placed on the word “you” teaches as follows: “You” separate teruma, but not partners, meaning that one partner may not separate teruma on behalf of the other. “You” separate teruma, but not sharecroppers. “You” separate teruma, but not stewards, and “you” separate teruma, but not one who separates teruma from produce that is not his. How, then, can the mishna say that a steward is able to, and is even required to, tithe the produce of the orphans in his charge, when that produce does not belong to him?
אמר רב חסדא לא קשיא כאן להאכיל כאן להניח Rav Ḥisda said that this is not difficult: Here the mishna is dealing with a steward who tithes the orphans’ produce in order to feed it to them. Since he is not permitted to feed them untithed produce, the Sages allowed him to tithe that which he gives them to eat. There the baraita is referring to produce that is not needed for the orphans’ sustenance; rather, the steward wishes to put it aside in a tithed state. Since he is not the owner of the produce, he lacks the authority to tithe it.
והתניא האפוטרופין תורמין ומעשרין להאכיל ולא להניח ומוכרין להן בהמה עבדים ושפחות בתים שדות וכרמים להאכיל אבל לא להניח ומוכרין להן פירות יינות שמנים וסלתות להאכיל אבל לא להניח And it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Terumot 1:10) that this distinction is made based on whether the steward intends to feed the produce to the orphans or store it: Stewards can separate teruma and tithes from the produce of the orphans in their charge in order to feed the produce to them, but not with the intention to put it aside. And stewards may sell the orphans’ possessions for them as follows: Cattle, male and female slaves, houses, fields, and vineyards, in order to feed the orphans, so that they will have something to eat immediately, but not with the intention to put aside the proceeds for future use. And they may also sell produce, wine, oil, and flour for them in order to feed them, but not with the intention to put aside the proceeds for a later date.
ועושין להן לולב וערבה וסוכה וציצית וכל דבר שיש לו קצבה לאיתויי שופר ולוקחין להם ספר תורה תפילין ומזוזות וכל דבר שיש לו קצבה לאתויי מגילה The baraita continues: And stewards make the following items that are required for the fulfillment of a mitzva for the orphans, from their property: A lulav, a willow branch, a sukka, ritual fringes, and any item used for a mitzva that involves a fixed expense. The Gemara notes that the words: Any item used for a mitzva, serve to include a shofar. And they may purchase a Torah scroll, phylacteries, mezuzot, and any other item used for a mitzva that involves a fixed expense. The Gemara comments that these last words serve to include a Megilla, the Scroll of Esther, read on Purim.
ואין פוסקין עליהם צדקה ואין פודין עליהן את השבויין ולא כל דבר שאין לו קצבה לאתויי תנחומי אבלים The baraita continues: But stewards may not undertake to give charity on behalf of orphans, and they may not redeem captives on their behalf with their property. Nor may they do anything with the orphans’ property that does not involve a fixed expense. The Gemara explains that this last phrase serves to include that which is brought to comfort mourners. A steward may not use property belonging to the orphans in his charge for this purpose.
ואין אפוטרופין רשאין לדון לחוב ולזכות בנכסי יתומים לזכות אמאי לא אלא לחוב על מנת לזכות בנכסי יתומים The baraita continues: And stewards are not permitted to involve themselves in litigation, if the purpose is to accept an obligation or to secure gain for the property of the orphans. The Gemara asks: Why may they not enter into litigation to secure gain? The Gemara clarifies: Rather, this means that stewards are not permitted to involve themselves in litigation in which they will accept financial obligation upon the orphans’ estate, even if they do so in order to ultimately secure gain for the property of the orphan.
ואין אפוטרופין רשאין למכור ברחוק ולגאול בקרוב ברעה ולגאול ביפה מ"ט דדלמא משתדפין The baraita continues: And stewards are not permitted to sell a field belonging to the orphans that is located in a distant place and use the proceeds to redeem a field that their father had sold in a nearby place, although this is ordinarily considered to be a favorable exchange. Similarly, stewards are not permitted to sell a bad field and use the proceeds to redeem a good one. The Gemara explains: What is the reason for this? The reason is that perhaps the bought fields will become blighted, and it will turn out that the steward has caused the orphans a loss with his purchase.
ואין אפוטרופין רשאין למכור שדות וליקח עבדים אבל מוכרין עבדים ולוקחין בהן שדות רבן שמעון בן גמליאל אומר אף לא למכור עבדים וליקח שדות מ"ט דלמא לא משפיין The baraita continues: And stewards are not permitted to sell fields belonging to the orphans and use the proceeds to purchase slaves. But they may sell the orphans’ slaves and use their proceeds to purchase fields, as land is considered to be a more stable asset. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Stewards may not even sell slaves and use the proceeds to purchase fields. The Gemara explains: What is the reason for this? Perhaps it will turn out that the property is not secure [meshappeyan], the ownership of the fields being contested by others, and consequently the steward will have made matters more complicated for the orphans as a result of his purchase.
ואין אפוטרופין רשאין להוציא עבדים לחירות אבל מוכרין אותן לאחרים ואחרים מוציאין אותן לחירות רבי אומר אומר אני אף הוא נותן דמי עצמו ויוצא מפני שהוא כמוכרו לו The baraita continues: And stewards are not permitted to free slaves belonging to the orphans in their charge, even if it is necessary to do so for any reason. But they may sell them to others, and then those others may free them. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: I say that even he, the slave himself, may give his own monetary value to the steward and thereby go free, due to the fact that it is as if the steward sold the slave to the slave himself. It is irrelevant whether it is some other person or the slave himself who pays his purchase price.
וצריך לחשב עמהן באחרונה ר"ש בן גמליאל אומר אינו צריך אין עושין אפוטרופין נשים ועבדים וקטנים ואם מינן אבי יתומין הרשות בידו The baraita continues: And the steward must calculate with the orphans in the end, when they reach adulthood and he hands over the property to them. At that time, he calculates of all the expenses and income generated by their property during the period that he served as steward. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: He is not required do so, as the court relies on his integrity. The court does not appoint women, slaves, or minors as stewards, but if the father of the orphans appointed one of them as his orphans’ steward, he has permission to do so.
ההוא אפוטרופוס דהוה בשבבותיה דר' מאיר דהוה קא מזבין ארעתא וזבין עבדי ולא שבקיה ר' מאיר אחוו ליה בחלמיה אני להרוס ואתה לבנות אפילו הכי לא אשגח אמר דברי חלומות לא מעלין ולא מורידין It is related that there was a certain steward who was in Rabbi Meir’s neighborhood who was selling land belonging to the orphans and purchasing slaves with the proceeds, and Rabbi Meir did not allow him to do this, as the practice is contrary to halakha. They showed him in his dream the words: I wish to destroy and you build? He understood this as a sign that God wanted the orphans to suffer financial collapse, and therefore it would be preferable to allow the steward to continue his practice. Even so, Rabbi Meir paid no heed to his dream, and said: Words appearing in dreams do not bring up and do not take down; they should not be taken into consideration.
הנהו בי תרי דאיגרי בהו שטן דכל בי שמשי הוו קא מינצו בהדי הדדי איקלע רבי מאיר להתם עכבינהו תלתא בי שמשי עד דעבד להו שלמא שמעיה דקאמר ווי דאפקיה ר' מאיר לההוא גברא מביתיה: Apropos an incident involving Rabbi Meir, the Gemara relates another story about him: There were two people who, incited by Satan, would argue with each other every Friday afternoon at twilight. Rabbi Meir happened to come to the place where they argued. He stopped them from fighting three Friday afternoons at twilight, until finally he made peace between them. He then heard Satan say: Woe, that Rabbi Meir removed that man, Satan, from his house. This indicates that Satan himself lives among those who have discord.
ההוא אפוטרופוס דהוה בשבבותיה דר' יהושע בן לוי דהוה קא מזבין ארעא וזבין תורי ולא אמר ליה ולא מידי סבר לה כר' יוסי דתניא א"ר יוסי מימי לא קריתי לאשתי אשתי ולשורי שורי אלא לאשתי ביתי ולשורי שדי It is related that there was a certain steward of orphans who was in the neighborhood of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi who was selling land and buying oxen on behalf of the orphans, and he did not say anything to the steward to the effect that he was acting improperly. The Gemara explains that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei said: In all my days, I did not call my wife: My wife, nor my ox: My ox. Rather, I called my wife: My home, because she is the essence of my home, and I called my ox: My field, because the primary force behind enhancements to the field is the ox that plows it. Similarly, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi maintains that purchasing oxen to work the land is considered like purchasing land itself and that consequently a protest should not be raised against the steward, who sold land belonging to the orphans in order to purchase oxen with the proceeds.
הנהו יתמי דהוו סמיכי גבי ההיא סבתא הוה להו תורתא שקלה וזבינתה ניהלייהו אתו קרובים לקמיה דרב נחמן אמרו ליה מאי עבידתה דזבנא אמר להו יתומים שסמכו אצל בעל הבית תנן It is further related that certain orphans who lived with an old woman had an ox, and she took it and sold it on their behalf. Relatives of those orphans came before Rav Naḥman and said to him: What is she doing selling the orphans’ property? Who authorized her to do so? Rav Naḥman said to them: We learned from the phrase in the mishna: If orphans are living with a homeowner, that official appointment as a steward is not necessary. The fact that the orphans lived with the woman and she took care of them sufficed to bestow upon her the authority of a steward.
והא אייקר ברשותא דלוקח אייקר והא לא נקיטי דמי The relatives continued with their objection to the sale: But didn’t the animal afterward increase in value, which is reason to invalidate the transaction? Rav Naḥman answered: The animal increased in value while in the possession of the buyer, and this is not considered as a loss suffered by the orphans. The relatives said to him: But they did not yet receive the money, and consequently the sale was incomplete.
אמר להו א"כ היינו דרב חנילאי בר אידי אמר שמואל דאמר רב חנילאי בר אידי אמר שמואל נכסי יתומין הרי הן כהקדש ולא מקני אלא בכספא Rav Naḥman said to them: If so, this is what Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi says that Shmuel says, as Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi says that Shmuel says: Orphans’ property is like consecrated property and is fully acquired only with the transfer of money. Since they did not yet receive the money, they can raise the purchase price or renege on the entire sale.
חמריה דרבנא עוקבא יתמא משכוה בארבעה ארבעה ואייקר וקם בשיתא שיתא אתו לקמיה דרב נחמן אמר להו היינו דרב חנילאי בר אידי דאמר רב חנילאי בר אידי אמר שמואל נכסי יתומין הרי הן כהקדש ולא מקני אלא בכספא: Similarly, it is related that those who came to buy the wine of Rabbana Ukva the orphan pulled it into their possession after having agreed on a purchase price of four dinars per barrel. But before the buyers actually paid for the wine, it increased in value and its price stood at six dinars per barrel. The parties came before Rav Naḥman for a ruling on the matter. He said to them: This is subject to what Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi said, as Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi says that Shmuel says: Orphans’ property is like consecrated property, and is fully acquired only with the transfer of money. Consequently, the buyers pay the current, higher price or the sale can be rendered void.
משוך פירי מיתמי אייקור היינו דרב חנילאי בר אידי זול לא יהא כח הדיוט חמור מהקדש The Gemara records several additional laws relating to this topic: If the buyers pulled into their possession produce belonging to orphans but did not yet pay for it, and afterward the produce increased in value, this is subject to what Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi said: Orphans’ property is fully acquired only with the transfer of money, and until payment is made the transaction can still be rendered void. But if the produce decreased in value, and the buyers wish to renege on the sale, one can argue: Just as it is said that the power of an ordinary person should not be greater than that of the Temple treasury, so too, the power of orphans should not be less than that of other people. Since the buyers pulled the orphans’ property into their possession, thereby performing an act of acquisition, the sale is valid and the buyers cannot retract.
אמשיכו להו פירי ליתמי אייקר לא יהא כח הדיוט חמור מהקדש זול סבור מינה היינו דרב חנילאי בר אידי If the steward pulled produce into his possession on behalf of the orphans, but did not yet pay for it, and afterward it increased in value, then just as the power of an ordinary person should not be greater than that of the Temple treasury, so too, the power of orphans should not be less than that of other people. Therefore, the orphans acquire the produce based on its price at the time the steward pulled it into their possession. But if the produce decreased in value, and now the steward wishes to cancel the sale, the students in the study hall understood from here that this is included in what Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi said, that transactions involving orphans are completed only with the transfer of money, and therefore the steward can renege on the sale and acquire the produce at the lower price.
א"ל רב שישא בריה דרב אידי הא רעה היא לדידהו דזמנין דמצטרכי לפירי וליכא דיהיב להו עד דיהבי זוזי Rav Sheisha, son of Rav Idi, said to them: This would be bad for the orphans were they treated in this manner, as they might at times need produce and nobody will give it to them before they actually pay the money. It is preferable for them to be treated like other buyers, who finalize their acquisition when they pull the produce into their possession.
יהבי יתמי זוזי אפירי זול לא יהא כח הדיוט חמור מן הקדש אייקר סבור מינה היינו דרב חנילאי בר אידי If the orphans gave money for the purchase of produce but did not yet physically transfer it into their possession, and afterward the produce decreased in value, then one applies the principle that the power of an ordinary person, the seller, should not be greater than the Temple treasury. Therefore, the orphans can renege on the purchase, as an act of acquisition has not yet been performed. But if the produce increased in value, and the orphans wish to uphold the sale, the students in the study hall understood from here that this is included in what Rav Ḥanilai bar Idi said, that transactions involving orphans are completed with the transfer of money, and therefore the orphans acquire the produce at the lower price.
אמר להו רב שישא בריה דרב אידי הא רעה היא לדידהו Rav Sheisha, son of Rav Idi, said to them: This would be bad for the orphans were they treated this way,