Bava Batra, Chapter Six, Mishnah One



Mishnah one deals with a person who sells grain to another person and the seeds from that grain do not sprout when planted.


Mishnah One

1)                     If a man sold grain to his fellow [and after it was sown] it did not sprout, even if it was flax-seed he is not liable.

a)                                           Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel says:  “If it was garden-seeds, which are not used for food, he is liable.”



According to the anonymous opinion in section one, when a person sells grain to another person, if he does not specify that the grain is for planting, he is not liable if the grain doesn’t spout after planted.  Even if he sold flax seed, which is usually sold for sprouting new flax plants, he is still not liable.  Since he didn’t specify that he was selling grain to be planted, he can claim that he intended it to be used as food.  According to Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel if he sold him seeds that are always used for planting then he is liable if they do not sprout.  Otherwise, he is not liable.



Questions for Further Thought:

·                      If a person sold seeds and they did not sprout is he liable to give the buyer back his money?  How can one know the answer to this question from the mishnah?