Bava Batra, Chapter Four, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

Chapter four of Bava Batra deals with the laws of sale, and specifically with the question which things are included in the sale of a particular item. Mishnah one begins to discuss the laws of selling a house:  when a house is sold what things are sold with and as part of the house?

 

Mishnah One

1)                     If a man sold a house, he has not sold its side chambers, even though they open into the house, nor the room that is behind [the house], nor the roof, if it has a railing more than ten hand-breadths high.

a)                                           Rabbi Judah says: “If the roof as entrance shaped like a door, even if the railing is not ten hand-breadths high, it is sold.”

 

Explanation

If someone sells a house without specifying what parts of the house he is selling, there are certain things that are not included in the sale.  According to section one, basically the main room is included in the house, but the side room and the room behind the house are not included.  The roof is also not included, on the condition that it has a railing more than ten hand-breadths high.  According to Rabbi Judah, even if the railing is not ten hand-breadths high, if it has an entrance the shape of a door, it is not sold with the house.  In order for the purchaser to acquire these things, he would have to specify so at the time of the sale.

 

Questions for Further Thought:

·                      Why is important for the roof to have a railing more than ten-handbreadths high, in order for it not to be included in the sale?

 

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