Bava Batra, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six

 

Introduction

Mishnah six begins to discuss certain ethical principles in the laws of selling and buying and their consequences on the validity of the sale.  This is a topic which will be discussed through the middle of chapter six.

 

Mishnah Six

There are four rules with regards to those who sell:

1)                     If one has sold good wheat and it turns out to be bad, the buyer can retract.

2)                     If he sold bad wheat and it is found to be good, the seller can retract.

3)                     [But if one sold] bad wheat and it is found to be bad, or good wheat and it is found to be good, neither may retract.

4)                     [If one has sold] dark wheat and it turned out to be white;

a)                                           Or white and it turned out to be dark;

b)                                          Or [if he sold] olive wood and it turned out to be sycamore wood;

c)                                           Or sycamore wood and it turned out to be olive wood;

d)                                          Or [if he sold] wine and it turned out to be vinegar;

e)                                           Or vinegar and it turned out to be wine;

f)                                           Either of them may retract.

 

Explanation

As stated at the beginning of the mishnah, there are four rules with regards to retracting a sale.  These rules are contained in sections 1-4.  (1)  If a person sold something that was supposed to be good and it turned out to be bad, the buyer can retract.  (2)  If a person sold something that was supposed to be bad and it turned out to be good, the seller can retract.  (3)  If a person sold something and it turned out to be what he sold, the sale is final and no one may retract.  (4)  Finally, if a person sold something and it turned out to be different from what he sold, not necessarily better or necessarily worse, either of them may retract.

 

Questions for Further Thought:

·                      How do the laws in this mishnah differ from modern laws of sale?  How might these differences reflect on the economic ideas of their society?

 

 

 

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