Talmud Navigator

For the week ending 1 April 2017 / 5 Nisan 5777

Bava Batra 64 - 71

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Is an access road included in sale of a field
  • When brothers divide inherited property
  • Halachic status of a honeycomb
  • What makes something a vessel as regards the laws of ritual impurity
  • What is included in the sale of a courtyard, an olive press, a bathhouse, a town and a field
  • Fields which subsist on rain and those needing irrigation
  • Which stones are considered an integral part of a field
  • How many trees are sold along with a field
  • The guardian who claims he returned item left in his custody and documented
  • Does purchase of trees include the earth beneath them

The Attitude of a Seller

  • Bava Batra 65a

"In place of your fathers shall be your children" (Tehilim 45:17).

This promise of King David to all of his people is cited as an argument in a dispute between two brothers who divided the estate inherited from their father. They each took one of the two adjoining fields. In his lifetime the father had access to the inner field through a path in the outer one. The heir of the outer one now wishes to deny his brother that same access unless he pays him for this right to trespass on his property.

It is suggested in our gemara that the reasoning of the Sage Rav in championing the right of the brother to access through the other brother's field is based on the claim that he wishes to use that field in the very same fashion that his father did, a privilege indicated in the above-cited passage.

The conclusion of the gemara, however, is that Rav's position is actually based on an assumption which extends to other forms of litigation. This assumption of human nature is that one who sells property does so with a "good eye" – a generous attitude. Just as when one sells to another a cistern in his field we can assume that he also grants him free access to it through his field, so too do we assume that brothers who divide their inheritance also generously grant access to one another.

What the Sages Say

"When one gives a gift he does so with a 'good eye' – a generous attitude."

  • Gemara - Bava Batra 65a

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