Thursday, 30 March 2017

Bava Batra 67: Inclusions and Exclusions: Buying Courtyards, Olive Presses, Bathhouses

Our daf shares three new Mishnayot regarding what is included and what is excluded when selling property.

Our first new Mishna begins a conversation about what we purchase when we buy a courtyard.  Some rabbis believe that we buy everything that is in the courtyard.  Others say that we buy only the air of the courtyard.  The Gemara walks through a number of questions.  Does this include the homes within the courtyard?  What about the stores that enter into the courtyard?  or the stores that enter into the public domain?  Or the stores that enter in both directions?  Does it matter whether sixty percent of the business is done by those who enter from the street?  Buying a courtyard requires very specific communication regarding what has been purchased; different people might very easily assume different inclusions regarding the sale of a courtyard

Our next Mishna teaches that one who sells an olive press has also sold the immovable parts of the olive press.  The seller has not sold the immovable parts of the olive press.  Assuming that we understand the workings of an olive press, the Rabbi Eliezer teaches that selling an olive press includes selling the kora, the most important working part of the olive press.  The Gemara details a number of different parts of the olive press.  The rabbis note that one must specify that the olive press and all of its parts are being sold.  Without that general statement, each individual part must be named in the contract.

A final new Mishna from today's daf tells us that the sale of bathhouses are similar.  One must specify that he is selling all parts within the bathhouse or else the floor boards, the , and the curtains are not included in the sale.  Even if the seller says that everything is included in the sale, separate negotiations are required for the wood storehouses and for the tanks of water.  The Gemara begins to walk through these exclusions and the possible inclusions in the sale of a bathhouse.

All three of these examples should help us to grasp the meanings that would be understood in an ancient context.  When you buy a house, it includes the fixtures.  But the rabbis disagree about what might be common knowledge.  More reason for specificity in contracts.

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