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Ketubot, Daf Tzadi Het, Part 4
Reading for Wednesday, March 15
In this section a halakhic question is asked concerning sales.
איבעיא להו: אמר ליה זבין לי ליתכא, ואזל וזבין ליה כורא, מאי? מוסיף על דבריו הוא, וליתכא מיהא קני, או דלמא מעביר על דבריו הוא, וליתכא נמי לא קני?
They asked: If he said, “Sell me a letekh” and the latter went and sold him a kor, what is the ruling? [Is the agent deemed to be merely] adding to the owner’s instructions and [the buyer, therefore,] acquires possession of a letekh, or perhaps he is transgressing his instructions and [the buyer, therefore,] acquires no possession of a letek either?
Reuven tells Shimon that he wants to buy a letekh, which is half of a kor, of a certain item. But instead of selling him the letekh, Shimon sells him a kor. Is the sale invalid or has at least a letekh been sold?
אמר רב יעקב מנהר פקוד משמיה דרבינא, ת”ש: אמר בעה”ב לשלוחו תן להן חתיכה לאורחין, והוא אומר טלו שתים, והן נטלו שלש – כולן מעלו; אי אמרת בשלמא מוסיף על דבריו הוי, משום הכי בעל הבית מעל, אלא אי אמרת מעביר על דבריו הוי, בעל הבית אמאי מעל? והתנן: השליח שעשה שליחותו – בעל הבית מעל, לא עשה שליחותו – שליח מעל!
Ya’akov of Nehar Pekod said in the name of Ravina: Come and hear: If a householder said to his agent, “Serve a piece [of meat] to the guests,” and the latter said to them, “Take two,” and they took three, all of them are guilty of trespass.
Now this makes sense if you say [that the agent] was merely adding to the host’s instructions, this is why the householder is guilty of trespass. But if you say, [that the agent] was transgressing his instruction: Why should the householder be guilty of trespass? Have we not in fact learned: If an agent performed his mission the householder is guilty of trespass but if he did not perform his mission the agent is guilty of trespass?
Ya’akov finds the answer to the question by comparing it with a baraita dealing with the issue of “trespass” which means illicit use of holy property. The case is as follows: Reuven tells Shimon to give the guests meat that turns out to be holy. Use of holy property is considered “trespass” and one who does so must restore the value to the Temple and pay an extra amount. Reuven tells the agent to give one piece, Shimon gives two, and the guests take three. They have all trespassed. Reuven intended to give one, so when Shimon gives the first piece, Reuven is held responsible. The second piece was Shimon’s fault, and the third piece is the guests’ fault. This proves that the agent has fulfilled the sender’s agency and in the question asked above, the letekh was sold.
הכא במאי עסקינן – דאמר להו טלו אחת מדעתו של בעל הבית ואחת מדעתי, ושקלו אינהו תלת.
What are we dealing with here? When the agent said to the guests, “Take one at the request of the householder and one at my own request” and they took three.
The Talmud rejects this case as proof. In this case, the agent explicitly said that one piece of meat was coming from the householder. Therefore, the householder has trespassed by giving out that piece of meat, and the agent himself transgresses when he gives out the second piece of meat. But if the agent had simply given the wrong amount, then only he would trespass, not the owner.