Kilayim, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Six

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with a case where a person was forced off of his property by another person, called an anas, a term which I have translated as “forceful occupier.” Evidently, this was a problem in the tannaitic period, and there are a number of halakhot that deal with the phenomenon (see for instance Mishnah Sanhedrin 3:3). In our case, the anas sows seeds in the vineyard and then the rightful owner gets his property back.  As we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, since the vineyard does not belong to the anas, the seeds are not forbidden immediately.  The question that our mishnah asks is: when the property reverts to the original owner what does he have to do to prevent the seeds from becoming forbidden?

 

Mishnah Six

1)      If a forceful occupier (anas) has sown seed in a vineyard, and it went out of his possession [and reverted to the rightful owner], he (the original owner) should cut it down, even during hol hamoed.  

2)      Up to what amount should he pay the workers?  Up to a third.  

3)      If [they demand] more than this, he should cut it in his usual way even if he has to keep cutting after the festival.  

4)      At what point is he considered a forceful occupier (anas)?  

a)      From the [the name of the original owner] has sunk [into oblivion]. 

 

Explanation

Section one: As soon as the land reverts to its rightful owner (a Jew) he must immediately cut down the seeds before they begin to grow.  He must do so even on hol hamoed, when it is normally forbidden to work the field.

Section two:  In order to cut down these seeds as promptly as possible, he must hire workers to do so.  In other words, he can’t just cut them down himself if it will take him too long to do so.  The mishnah asks how much he must pay these workers. There are two opinions as to what “up to a third” means.   The first opinion is that he must pay them up to a third more than the usual wages. Another interpretation is that he must pay them up to a third of the value of the vineyard. Either way, he must spend a considerable sum of money to get rid of the seeds before the whole vineyard becomes prohibited.

Section three:  If the workers ask for more money, then he need not pay them such an exorbitant amount. Rather he can just cut the seeds down at his own pace, even if he won’t finish the work until after the festival.

Section four:  Finally, the mishnah asks what the definition of an anas is, in relation to the previous halakhah.  In other words, in what situation must a person who gets his field back act according to the previous halakhah. The answer is that the field must have been called by the anas’s name, and not by the name of the original owner.  If, however, the seeds were simply planted by someone who had not taken forceful possession of the field, or if the field was not yet recognized as belonging to the anas, then the rightful owner need not cut the seeds down with such haste, as we learned in yesterday’s mishnah.  The reason why the law is stricter in the case of the anas is that people think that the field belonged to the anas and if the seeds are not prohibited they will think that the laws of kilayim are not being observed.  In contrast, in other cases they will realize that someone planted seeds in a field that belonged to someone else and that this does not constitute a situation of kilayim. 

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