Bava Batra, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two



Mishnah two deals with what is included in the sale of a donkey.


Mishnah Two

1)                     If a man sold a donkey he has not sold its trappings.

a)                                           Nahuma of Madi says:  “He has sold its trappings.”

b)                                          Rabbi Judah says:  “Sometimes they are sold and sometimes they are not sold.  How is this so?  If the donkey was before him with its trappings on it and he said, ‘Sell me this donkey of yours’, the trappings are sold (with the donkey).  If he said, ‘Sell me that donkey of yours’, the trappings are not sold.”



A donkey is usually packed with several bags used to carry the donkeys load.  These are the “trappings” referred to in the mishnah.  According to the first opinion, if a man sold a donkey, the trappings are not sold.  Nahum of Madi dissents and declares that they are sold.  Rabbi Judah states that one can determine if the trappings were sold by the circumstances and by the language used in the sale.  If the donkey was standing in front of the seller with its trappings on it and the seller specified that he wants to buy this donkey, then he has bought the trappings as well.  Since he saw the trappings we can assume that his intention was to buy them with the donkey.  However, if he just tells him to sell “that donkey of yours” we cannot be sure that his intention was to buy the donkey standing in front of him.  Since we cannot determine what he intended to buy or what the seller intended to sell, the trappings are not included in the sale. 


Questions for Further Thought:

·                      How is Rabbi Judah’s opinion in this mishnah similar to his opinion in mishnah one?