Sanhedrin 29bסנהדרין כ״ט ב
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29bכ״ט ב

לא היו דברים מעולם הוחזק כפרן

These matters never occurred, i.e., I never admitted to this, the defendant assumes the presumptive status of one who falsely denies his debts, as the witnesses heard his admission. Consequently, he is not trusted to take an oath that he is exempt.

(אמר) רב פפא בריה דרב אחא בר אדא הכי אמרינן משמיה דרבא כל מילי דכדי לא דכירי אינשי

Rav Pappa, son of Rav Aḥa bar Adda, says: This is what we say in the name of Rava: The defendant is not rendered a liar, because people do not remember all frivolous matters. Since the admission was not made seriously, perhaps the defendant forgot the incident. Therefore, his denial of its having occurred was not necessarily an outright lie.

ההוא דאכמין ליה עדים לחבריה בכילתיה אמר ליה מנה לי בידך אמר ליה הן אמר עירי ושכבי ליהוו עלך סהדי א"ל לא אמר רב כהנא הא אמר ליה לא

The Gemara relates: There was a certain man who hid witnesses in the canopy above his bed to hear the statement of another. That certain man said to him: I have one hundred dinars in your possession. The latter said to him: Yes. The claimant then said: Let those awake and those asleep bear witness about you, hoping to induce him to agree to this testimony, as the respondent might assume that everyone was asleep. The latter said to him: No. When the matter came to court Rav Kahana said: Since he said no to him, his admission did not render him liable.

ההוא דאכמין עדים בקיברא לחבריה א"ל מנה לי בידך אמר ליה הן חיי ומיתי ליהוו עלך סהדי אמר ליה לא א"ר שמעון הא א"ל לא

The Gemara relates another incident: There was a certain man who hid witnesses in a grave to hear the statement of another. That certain man said to him: I have one hundred dinars in your possession. The latter said to him: Yes. The claimant then said: Let the living and the dead bear witness about you. The respondent said to him: No. Rabbi Shimon said: Since he said no to him, his admission did not render him liable.

אמר רבינא ואיתימא רב פפא שמע מינה מהא הא דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב צריך שיאמר אתם עדיי לא שנא כי אמר לוה ולא שנא כי אמר מלוה ושתיק לוה טעמא דאמר לוה לא אבל אי שתיק הכי נמי

Ravina said, and some say Rav Pappa said it: Conclude from it that with regard to that which Rav Yehuda says that Rav says, that one needs to say to the witnesses of the admission: You are my witnesses, there is no difference whether the debtor said it, and there is no difference whether the creditor said it and the debtor remained silent. The inference is that the reason the Sages deemed the purported debtor exempt in the above cases is that the debtor explicitly said no, i.e., that he does not accept the witnesses, but had he remained silent his admission would have indeed rendered him liable.

ההוא דהוה קרו ליה קב רשו אמר מאן מסיק בי אלא פלוני ופלוני אתו תבעוהו לדינא קמיה דרב נחמן

The Gemara relates: There was a certain man whom people called: A kav of debts, as everyone claimed debts from him, who once said: Who can claim debts from me, other than so-and-so and so-and-so? I do not owe money to as many as assumed. Those whom he admitted that he owed came and took him to judgment before Rav Naḥman to claim what he owed them, and he responded in court that his admittance was in jest.

א"ר נחמן אדם עשוי שלא להשביע את עצמו

Rav Naḥman said: A person is prone to make false statements so as not to make himself appear sated, i.e., it is possible that he might say falsely in public that he owes money in order that he should not be considered wealthy. Therefore, as long as he has not made a proper admission that he owes a specific sum to a specific individual, he is not liable.

ההוא דהוו קרו ליה עכברא דשכיב אדינרי כי קא שכיב אמר פלניא ופלניא מסקו בי זוזי בתר דשכיב אתו תבעינהו ליורשין

The Gemara relates: There was a certain man whom people called: A mouse that lies on dinars, as he was a miser who did not benefit from his money, like a mouse that sits and safeguards gold dinars. This man said on his deathbed: So-and-so and so-and-so claim dinars from me. After he died, they came and sued the heirs.

אתו לקמיה דר' ישמעאל ברבי יוסי אמר להו כי אמרי' אדם עשוי שלא להשביע את עצמו הני מילי מחיים אבל לאחר מיתה לא

They came to judgment before Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei. He said to them: When we say a person is prone to make false statements so as not to make himself appear sated, this statement applies to an admission during his lifetime. But after death, i.e., on his deathbed, this does not apply; rather, we presume he told the truth.

פרעו פלגא תבעינהו לדינא לאידך פלגא אתו לקמיה דרבי חייא אמר להו כשם שאדם עשוי שלא להשביע את עצמו כך אדם עשוי שלא להשביע את בניו אמרו ליה ניזיל וניהדר אמר להו כבר הורה זקן

The heirs paid half the amount of the claim. The claimants then sued them for the other half. They came to judgment before Rabbi Ḥiyya. Rabbi Ḥiyya said to them: Just as a person is prone to make false statements so as not to make himself appear sated, so too, a person is prone to make false statements so as not to make his sons appear sated. One might claim falsely on his deathbed that he owes money so that his children will not be considered wealthy. Therefore, there is no room for a claim against the heirs. The heirs then said to him: If so, let us go and overturn the former verdict, and retrieve the amount we paid the claimants. Rabbi Ḥiyya said to them: The elder, i.e., Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, has already issued a ruling in this case, and it is not in my power to overturn his ruling.

הודה בפני שנים וקנו מידו כותבין ואם לאו אין כותבין

§ If one made an admission in the presence of two witnesses that he owes money and they performed a formal act of acquisition with him to verify the admission, the witnesses can write a record of the admission in a document and sign it, thereby granting the creditor more rights. But if they did not perform a formal act of acquisition they may not write a record of the admission in a document, as the debtor presumably wants the loan to retain its status as a loan by oral agreement, which grants fewer rights to the creditor than a loan with a promissory note.

בפני שלשה ולא קנו מידו רב (אמי) אמר כותבין ורב אסי אמר אין כותבין הוה עובדא וחש לה רב להא דרב אסי

If he made an admission in the presence of three witnesses and they did not perform a formal act of acquisition with him, Rav Ami says: They can write a record of the admission in a document. Since the admission was made in the presence of three individuals, who are considered a court, it is permitted for a court to write its verdicts. And Rav Asi says: They may not write it in a document; perhaps the debtor intended for them to serve only as witnesses, not as a court. There was an incident in which a person admitted his debt before three witnesses, and Rav was concerned for this opinion of Rav Asi, and ruled that they may not write a record of the admission.

אמר רב אדא בר אהבה הא אודיתא זימנין כתבינן וזימנין לא כתבינן כניפי ויתבי לא כתבינן כנפינהו איהו כתבינן

Rav Adda bar Ahava says: With regard to this document of admission, sometimes we write it and sometimes we do not write it. If the three witnesses were gathered and sitting when the debtor made his admission before them, we do not write it, as perhaps he did not intend for them to serve as a court. But if the debtor gathered them, we write the document of admission, as the fact that he took care to bring three people and not just two proves that he intended for them to serve as a court.

רבא אמר אפילו כנפינהו איהו לא כתבינן עד דאמר להו הוו עלי דייני

Rava says: Even if he gathered them we do not write it, unless he says to them: Be my judges.

מר בר רב אשי אמר אפילו אמר הוו עלי דייני לא כתבינן עד דקבעי דוכתא ושלחי ומזמני ליה לבי דינא

Mar bar Rav Ashi says: Even if he says: Be my judges, we do not write it unless they establish a place for judgment and send messengers and summon him to court. Unless the entire procedure of an admission in court is implemented, the debtor may not have intended that they serve as a court with regard to this matter.

הודה במטלטלי וקנו מידו כותבין ואם לאו אין כותבין במקרקעי ולא קנו מידו מאי אמימר אמר אין כותבין מר זוטרא אמר כותבין והלכתא כותבין

If he made an admission with regard to movable property that he owes, and the witnesses performed a formal act of acquisition with him, they can write a record of the admission in a document; but if they did not perform a formal act of acquisition they may not write a record of the admission. But if he made an admission with regard to land, and they did not perform a formal act of acquisition with him, what is the halakha? Is it considered as though an act of acquisition was performed, as land is always available for collection? Ameimar says: They may not write it. Mar Zutra says: They may write it. And the halakha is that they may write it.

רבינא איקלע לדמהריא א"ל רב דימי בר רב הונא מדמהריא לרבינא מטלטלי ואיתנהו בעינייהו מאי אמר ליה כמקרקעי דמו רב אשי אמר כיון דמחסרי גוביינא לא

Ravina happened to come to Damharya. Rav Dimi bar Rav Huna of Damharya said to Ravina: If one makes an admission that he owes movable property that is extant, i.e., it is available to be taken immediately, what is the halakha? Should it be considered like land, as it is similarly available for collection, and therefore the witnesses can write a record of the admission? Ravina said to him: It is considered like land. Rav Ashi says: Since it still lacks collection, i.e., it has not been physically transferred from one party to the other, it is not considered like land, and the witnesses may not write a record of the admission unless the debtor asks them to write it.

ההיא אודיתא דלא הוה כתוב בה אמר לנא כתבו וחתמו והבו ליה אביי ורבא דאמרי תרוייהו היינו דריש לקיש

§ With regard to a certain document of admission in which the following statement was not written: He, the one making the admission, said to us: Write a deed, and sign it, and give it to the creditor, Abaye and Rava both say that this is a case in which the principle of Reish Lakish is applicable.

דאמר ריש לקיש חזקה אין העדים חותמין על השטר אא"כ נעשה גדול

As Reish Lakish says: There is a presumption that witnesses do not sign on the document unless the deal was transacted with each party being an adult, even if it is not mentioned explicitly in the document that the witnesses verified this. This reflects the principle that a document is not written by a scribe and signed by witnesses unless they know that the action to which it attests was performed appropriately. In light of this, the fact that a certain detail is missing from the wording of the document does not prove that the detail did not take place, as the action was presumably performed properly. Consequently, a document of admission lacking the sentence: He said to us: Write a deed, and sign it, and give it to the creditor, is valid.

מתקיף לה רב פפי ואיתימא רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע מי איכא מידי דאנן לא ידעינן וספרי דבי דינא ידעי

Rav Pappi objects to this, and some say it is Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, who raises this objection: Is there anything that we, the Sages, do not know, and the scribes of the court do know? Since not all of the Sages are aware that the witnesses of an admission cannot write a deed of admission unless the one making the admission asks them to, the scribes certainly cannot be expected to ensure that this condition is fulfilled.

שאילינהו לספרי דאביי וידעי לספרי דרבא וידעי

The Gemara relates that Abaye’s scribes were asked whether they were aware of this halakha, and they answered that they were aware of it. Rava’s scribes were also asked, and they were also aware of it. Apparently, since writing documents is their profession, scribes are aware of the relevant halakhot.

ההיא אודיתא דהוה כתב ביה דוכרן פיתגמי

The Gemara recounts: There was a certain document of admission in which it was written that it was a record of the proceedings that took place in the presence of the witnesses,