Bava Batra, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four



Mishnah four discusses what parts of a courtyard are sold when specification is lacking.


Mishnah Four

1)                     If a man sold a courtyard, he has also sold its houses, cisterns, trenches and caves, but not the movable property.

a)                                           But if he had said:  “It and all that is in it” all of these are also sold. 

b)                                          But in neither case has he sold the bath-house, or the olive press that are in it.

c)                                           Rabbi Eliezer says:  “If a man sold a courtyard, he has sold only the air (the open spaces) of the courtyard.



This mishnah explains what parts of a courtyard complex are sold with it even though not specified as part of the sale.  The sale of the courtyard includes all of the houses, and underground structures that are attached or part of the courtyard.  As in the previous mishnah, only the fixed, permanent pieces of the property are included in the sale.  If, on the other hand, the seller specified that he was selling everything in the courtyard, he has sold the movable property as well.  However, as we learn in section 1c, the bath-house and olive press are in any case not considered part of the courtyard, and are consequently not sold with it, even if he stipulated that he was selling everything in the courtyard.  Rabbi Eliezer disagrees.  According to him, when a man sells a courtyard he is only selling the empty yard part, but not the structures that are attached to it.


Questions for Further Thought:

·                      Why are a bath-house and olive press not considered part of the courtyard to be sold with it?

·                      With which parts of the mishnah does Rabbi Eliezer disagree?