Thursday, April 06, 2017

Real estate deals in the Talmud

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: The Art of the Deal. Talmudic rabbis regulated real estate transactions based on biblical principles of ownership and centuries of experience of the practicalities of Jewish life.
Last week’s Daf Yomi reading, in Chapter Four of Bava Batra, was entirely devoted to one question: When a piece of real estate is sold, what exactly is the buyer buying? Over seven pages, the rabbis lay down the rules governing several different kinds of property: cisterns, houses, olive presses, courtyards, and more. As so often in the Talmud, definitions are at stake: When we talk about a house, what do we mean? Is a house just the four walls and roof, or does it include the furniture and the key to the front door? Going case by case, the rabbis determine what implements and outbuildings belong to the property in question, and so are sold along with it, and which ones are considered extraneous, so that they must be named specifically if they are to be included in the sale. Each new detail raises vistas of potential litigation.
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.