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The gemarah in Yerushalmi Kiddushin 1:5 discusses a kinyan ketzatzah whereby to acquire a field (and possibly to marry a woman?) after a sale a barrel of treats was broken and the children would gather the treats. The gemarah seems to indicate that this is part of the sale process not merely a symbolic ritual. I would like to understand the basis for how this practice effected a transfer of owndership

בראשונה היו קונין בשליפת המנעל הדא היא דכתיב (רות ד) וזאת לפנים בישראל על הגאולה ועל התמורה שלף איש נעלו וגו מי שלך תמן אמרין רב ולוי חד אמר הקונה וחד אמר המקנה ואתיין אילין פלוגוותא כאינון פלוגוותא דתני בועז נתן לגואל ר יהודה אומר הגואל נתן לבועז חזרו להיות קונים בקצצה מהו בקצצה בשעה שהיה אדם מוכר שדה אחוזתו היו קרוביו מביאין חביות וממלין אותן קליות ואגוזים ושוברין לפני התינוקות והתינוקות מלקטין ואומר נקצץ פלוני מאחוזתו ובשעה שהיה מחזירה לו היו עושין כך ואומרים חזר פלוני לאחוזתו

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    IIRC, this method isn't the actual kinyan per se, but a manner of reinforcing ANOTHER form of kinyan. More specifically: one through a shtar and shelichus. It's why we engage in "kinyan sudar" when filling out mechiras chametz and kesubos - the act of kinyan signifies full designation of shelichus for the third party to effectuate the kinyan. – Isaac Kotlicky May 29 '15 at 16:34
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The parallel Chazzal to this is found in Rus Rabba 7 11. There the Eitz Yosef explains that the function of this kinyan was actually a ruse to ensure witnesses.

He says the barrel of treats was smashed which brought all the children to come gather them. They in turn would remember what had transpired being that children have good memories, as it says whoever teaches a child is likened to having written on a new parchment. And concerning this testimony, the child is believed with this.

He ends off by pointing to the end of the second chapter in Ksuvos. There on 28b in the Bavli we find again this Ketzatzah, again a barrel filed with treats, this time fruits, but most importantly we find this performed in the public square with a call out to people to come witness what has transpired אחינו בית ישראל שמעו אחינו פלוני נשא אשה וכו׳.

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The Malbim's commentary on Ruth reads the Yerushalmi as you did. The oldest mechanism was chalipin (symbolic transaction); then they went to ketzatza (smash piñata in front of the town); then finally settled on kesef, shtar, chazaka.

I would figure it worked like situmta/tkias kaf, i.e. whatever mode of execution is normal and customary.

  • but chalipin has the pesukim in rus as a precedent, ketzatzah doesn't. – rikitikitembo May 31 '15 at 15:46
  • @rikitikitembo excellent question; it's obsolete now anyhow. Malbim reads that ktzatza was dominant in the times of Ruth, and we're told "what had been done previously" was chalipin; Boaz had to reinstitute it, as ktzatza could be misconstrued as disapproval of his choice of spouse. – Shalom May 31 '15 at 21:00

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