TalmuDigest

For the week ending 6 February 2010 / 21 Shevat 5770

Bava Batra 170 - 176

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • How ownership of a loan document is transferred
  • Which witnesses validate such a document
  • When the debtor certifies the signature of the witnesses but disclaims responsibility
  • Can a lender who receives partial payment insist on borrower settling for a receipt
  • When the date on the loan document is one when it could have been written
  • Writing a future date on a loan document
  • The division of the estate between a rich heir and a poor one
  • The problem of two people with the same name
  • The responsibility of a guarantor
  • King Solomon's advice to a guarantor
  • Guarantor of a ketubah who suspects a swindle
  • From what property can a lender collect if the debtor fails to pay
  • The limitations on responsibility of a guarantor

The Advice of the Wisest

  • Bava Batra 173b

In his search for a Biblical source for the responsibility of a guarantor, Rabbi Yitzchak cites some passages in Mishlei (6:1-3), which guide us in two areas of interpersonal relationships.

"My son," cautions King Solomon, "if you have served as a guarantor for a friend and have given your hand to a stranger, or if you have been ensnared through the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and rescue yourself."

The wisest of men then goes on to advise the steps to be taken in dealing with the obligation assumed as a guarantor and making peace with someone who has been hurt with words. Rabbi Yitzchak's interpretation of this advice is that in the case of guaranteeing a loan there is no alternative to paying money to the lender. In regard to hurting another through what you said, his advice is to beg forgiveness even if it means getting friends to help you renew the relationship.

What the Sages Say

"One who wishes to gain wisdom should devote himself to studying the laws of financial matters for they are like an ever-flowing spring."

  • Rabbi Yishmael - Bava Batra 175b

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