Kiddushin, Chapter One, Mishnah Five



Today’s mishnah discusses the acquisition of land and movable property.  Land in the Mishnah is called property which “has security.”  This means that creditors can collect from this property for outstanding debts, even if the land is already owned by a third party (not the debtor).  “Movable property”—cannot be used for debt collection from third parties.


Mishnah Five

1)      Property which has security is acquired by money, by deed or by possession.

2)      [Property] which does not have security is acquired only by being drawn [to the purchaser].

3)      Property which does not have security may be acquired in conjunction with property which does have security by money, deed, or possession;

4)      And it obligates the property which provides security, to take an oath concerning them.



Section one:  Land is acquired through money, deed or possession.  That is to say if Reuven wants to acquire land from Shimon he can do one of three things.  Either he can pay money to Shimon, write out a document, or demonstrate possession over the land with Shimon’s consent.

Section two:  Just as animals are not acquired by money, so too “things” are not acquired through money.  Rather the purchaser must physically take the object he wishes to acquire into his possession.  Until he does so, the item still belongs to the seller.

Section three:  A person may acquire land through money, deed or possession, and at the same time acquire movable property without making a separate demonstration of acquisition. For instance if Reuven wishes to buy from Shimon a piece of land and a herd of sheep, he may acquire the land and the sheep with money, even though money alone would not be sufficient to acquire the sheep. 

Section four:  In Shevuot 6:5 we learned that people do not take oaths over land.  For instance, if Reuven claims that Shimon owes him land, and Shimon admits to part of the claim, he need not swear that he does not owe him the rest, as he would were Reuven to claim that Shimon owes him money or animals.  However, if Shimon needs to take an oath over movable property and land, since he must take an oath over the movable property he must also take an oath over the land.  This could happen if Reuven claims that Shimon owes him a piece of land and a 100 sheep.  If Shimon admits that half of the land is Reuven’s and half of the sheep, he must take an oath over both the land and the sheep which he claims not to owe.