Bava Batra, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8

Bava Batra, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight



Mishnah eight continues to define the precise moment when a sale occurs.  The last section of the mishnah teaches the procedure for measuring out sold liquids. 


Mishnah Eight

1)                     If a man sold wine or oil to his fellow, and its value rose or fell, if [the price rose or fell] before the measure was filled up, it belongs to the seller, [and he may refuse to sell except at the higher price].

a)                                           But if [the price rose or fell] after the measure was filled up, it belongs to the buyer [and he may refuse to buy except at the lower price].

2)                     If there was a middleman between them, and the jar broke, it is broken to [the loss of] the middleman.

3)                     [After emptying the measure] the seller must let three more drops drip [for the buyer].

a)                                           If he then turned the measure over and drained it off, what flows out belongs to the seller.

b)                                          The shopkeeper is not obligated to let three more drops drip.

c)                                           Rabbi Judah says:  “[Only] on the eve of Shabbath as it becomes dark is he exempt.”



Section one:  With regards to the selling of wine and oil, the point in which the sale is final is the point at which the measuring container fills up.  If the price of the wine or oil should rise before it fills up, the seller can demand the higher rate.  If the price fluctuated after it was full, the buyer need only pay the lower rate.

Section two:  If a middleman acted as an agent for the buyer and seller and the measuring cup should break thereby causing the loss of the wine or oil, the middleman is responsible to recompense for the loss.

Section three:  When the seller pours the oil from the measuring cup into the vessel of the buyer, he must wait until three drops have spilled out.  After this point, any oil that is stuck to the sides of the vessel belong to the seller.  Since a shopkeeper is busy with many customers, he need not wait after pouring to ensure that three drops come out of the container.  According to Rabbi Judah, this law is true only before the Shabbath, which is a time when the shopkeeper would be especially busy.  At other times during the week, he too must wait for three drops to drip out of the measuring container. 


Questions for Further Thought:

·                      Must the seller sell at the lower rate if the price went down before the measuring cup was full??

·                      Section three:  Why might one have thought that the middleman would not be responsible if the measuring cup broke?  If he was not responsible who would be?