ו׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״ז (April 2, 2017)

Bava Batra 70a-b: Presenting a Purse Document

What rights does an investor have to receive his money back from the children who inherit their father’s wealth?

The Gemara on today’s daf quotes a baraita that describes a case of a shtar kis (purse document) – a document that attests to the fact that someone gave a sum of money to another person for the purpose of investment – where the investor is now demanding return of the money from the person’s children after his death. Were he holding a promissory note that shows that he lent money to the father, he would, without question, be entitled to collect. This case is unique because the money was not given as a loan, rather as an investment, which of Neharde’a rule is considered a partial loan and a partial deposit.

In the case of a shtar kis the Gemara brings two opinions. The Diaspora judges ruled that the investor can take an oath that the money is owed to him and he will receive it in full. The judges from the Land of Israel ruled that the investor can take on oath and he will receive half of the money. The Gemara explains that the argument depends on whether we assume that the dead father would have informed his children that he had already paid back a sum of money for which there existed an outstanding document. According to the Diaspora judges, the father would have told them, and since he did not, it is clear that the full sum must be returned. According to the judges from the Land of Israel the father may have intended to inform his children of this situation, but the Angel of Death kept him from fulfilling his intention. Thus, only the part that is considered to be a loan must be returned.

According to the Gemara in Massekhet Sanhedrin (17b), the judges from the Land of Israel are the amora’im Rav Ami and Rav Asi, who immigrated from Bavel to Israel and became the leading students of Rabbi Yohanan.

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