שנזקקין לתובע תחלה. ובו סעיף אחד:
אין נזקקין אלא (לתובע) תחלה ואם זיילי נכסי דנתבע נזקקין לו תחלה: הגה פירוש ראובן תובע שמעון בענין שלא יוכל לומר פרעתי ושמעון משיב יש לך משלי כל כך ומבקש זמן להביא עדים יותר מל' יום שהוא זמן ב"ד אע"פ שאנו יודעים שיש לו עדים היודעים בדבר נזקקים לתובע וצריך לשלם לו מיד אם לא שזיילי נכסיה ויש היזק בזה לנתבע וה"ה אם התובע רוצה שישמעו דבריו תחלה קודם שישמעו דבריו של נתבע או שמבקש מהב"ד שלא יפסקו לו הדין עכשיו אלא כשירצה הוא (טור בשם הראב"ד) או שהנתבע חייב לו שבועה ואומר התובע שאינו רוצה שישבע לו עכשיו רק כשירצה (נ"י) וכל כיוצא בזה כגון שאומר שיש לו הרבה טענות על זה ואינו רוצה לטעון עכשיו שומעין לתובע אם לא שזיילי נכסי הנתבע (ב"י בשם הרשב"ץ) או שיש לנתבע היזק לזה כפי ראות עיני הדיינים: We give prior consideration only to the claimant.1B.K. 46b. , text supra § 16, n. 5. ‘Giving prior consideration’ refers to hearing the pleas. Cf. also Tosef(Z). San. VI, 3: ‘Whoever makes a claim against his fellow, opens (his pleas) first.’ The meaning of the text in B.K. ibid. is as follows: When the litigants come to Court and the claimant desires that his pleas be heard first, and so too, the defendant — the practical difference being that the defendant might make a partial admission — and the law is that one who makes a partial admission is required to take a Biblical oath only if the admission was made after the plaintiff made his claim (v. infra § 88, 15) — the law is that we give prior consideration to the claimant. However, if the property of the defendant had depreciated in value or the reason he had not made payment prior to this was due to the fact that were he to dispose of his estate he would be forced to sell at a low price, — then we attend to the defendant first, and if the defendant makes a partial admission prior to hearing the pleas of the claimant, he is not required to take a Biblical oath — ShaK. However, if the property of the defendant [thereby] depreciates in value we give him prior consideration.2B.K. ibid.: ‘The Nehardeans said: Sometimes we attend to the defendant first, e.g., where his property depreciates in value.’ Gloss: e., A makes a claim against B3According to Rashi (v. supra § 16, n. 5) it refers to a case where the defendant has an opportunity of selling his property now at a high price — an opportunity which will not present itself later — then we give prior consideration to the defendant’s counter-claim. , ShaK (supra n. 1) for another interpretation. in a case where [B] cannot say, 'I have [already] paid,'4Thus B.K. ibid., Tosaf. s.v. שאין according to Rashi’s explanation. We deal here with a case where there is a document signed by witnesses that he lent him money — M.E. Cf. infra § 85, 7. and B responds [by making a counter-claim, viz.,] 'You have so much of mine in your possession'5Tur has, ‘And B responds, You have taken possession of aught that belongs to me; return to me whatever you have seized,’ or he says, ‘You had my pledge and it has depreciated in value.’ Even if the claimant admits to the defendant that the pledge has depreciated in value (save that they differ as to the amount of depreciation), — nevertheless, we give prior consideration to the claimant — M.E. and he requests [an extension of] time — more than thirty days — [in order] to produce witnesses, — [thirty days being] the time [usually given] by Court,6For were B to request only thirty days, the usual extension of time given by the Court, we would have complied with his wish even if his property were not to depreciate in value. But if he requests a longer extension of time in order to produce witnesses, and we are not aware that there are witnesses available,—then even if B’s, property depreciates in value, we do not listen to him. We deal here with a case where the Judges of the Court know that he has witnesses who are acquainted with the facts, but we do not know whether the witnesses will testify in favour of the defendant or not — M.E. , supra § 16, 1 and notes. — [the law is that] although we know that he [the defendant] has witnesses who are acquainted with the case, we [still] give prior consideration to the claimant,7Tosaf. ibid. and he [the defendant] is obliged to pay him forthwith8e., if he has money and desires to obtain an extension of time only to clarify his counter-claim and to deduct this from the loan; but if he has no money, we give him only thirty days to secure funds — M.E. unless his [the defendant's] property depreciates in value and the defendant [thereby] suffers a loss.9e., the Beth Din see that the defendant will suffer a loss thereby, e.g., if he does not sell his pledge now (which according to him is in the claimant’s possession), we give the defendant prior consideration and grant him his request for an extension of time even more than thirty days. Or if the Beth Din see that there will be a depreciation of his property or the like. So too, if the claimant desires that they hear his pleas first, [i.e.,] prior to hearing the pleas of the defendant,10e., A (the claimant) does not insist to be paid first but rather to have his pleas heard first. Consequently, ‘unless his (B’s) property depreciates in value’ means that if they hear A’s pleas first, then B is designated a ‘defendant’ and thereby his property will depreciate in value. Likewise, if A desires that his witnesses be heard first and B makes the same claim, we give prior consideration to A. Consequently, ‘unless (B’s) property depreciates in value’ means that B’s witnesses might leave and go to a distant country if they are not heard forthwith — M.E. or he requests the Court of Law not to issue the verdict at present save when he so desires,11Tur on the authority of RaBaD — G. Tur adds: ‘For perhaps today or the next day he might find witnesses or the defendant will make an admission.’ This applies even if they made an agreement with the claimant by means of a Kinyan to be tried before the Court of Law and he had already presented his documents — nevertheless, he may state that he desires to be dismissed and not to be tried now (it follows that if he had already presented his pleas this does not apply), unless the property of the defendant depreciates in value (RaShBA) — M.E. or [in a case] where the defendant is under obligation to him [the claimant] to take an oath and the claimant states that he desires not that he [the defendant] swear to him now save when he [the claimant] so desires12N.Yos. — G. , supra § 16, n. 2. and likewise in all similar cases, e.g., when he [the claimant] says that he has many [additional] claims against this [defendant] and he desires not to make [all these] claims at present,13, however, infra § 87, 24, Gloss according to which Isserles holds that the claimant is told to make all his claims which contradicts the present ruling. ShaK removes this difficulty by explaining that Isserles concludes infra that if the claimant refuses to make all his claims, the defendant takes an oath and is exempt; whereas in the present ruling we deal with a case where the claimant states that he does not care if the defendant takes an oath because even if he takes an oath he will not be exempt since he has additional claims against the defendant where the question of an oath does not enter or where he will be able to produce witnesses. For additional interpretations, v., M.E. and P.Tesh. — [then] we listen to the claimant unless the property of the defendant [thereby] depreciates in value,14B.Yos. on the authority of RaShBeẒ — G. Where A made a claim against B and the latter refused to respond being a very stern and powerful individual (אלם) and subsequently B made a claim against A, — the law is that A is not required to respond until B responds first (D.M. on the authority of MaHaRIW) — M.E. or where the defendant suffers a loss on account of this according to the discernment of the Judges.