Let's say Reuven owes Shimon $1000 (because of a loan). Reuven then sells his only piece of land (that happens to be worth $1000) to Levi. This land in Levi's possession is now considered a נכס משעובד of Reuven's, as it was an implicit collateral at the time of the loan. If Reuven now cannot pay back his $1000, Shimon has the right to come seize Levi's new property.

Levi obviously isn't too happy about losing out on his $1000 property. What can he do about it?

I'm looking for an answer within either halacha, or whatever civil law or customs were followed in Biblical and/or Talmudic times.
Nowadays it seems that people buy insurance against this sort of thing. Perhaps they did this back then also? Or perhaps people would write in the contract that they did not have outstanding debts at the time of the sale, and if they were lying the whole thing could be nullified?

  • One can only collect from meshubadim when there was a shtar such that the lien was presumably known about (kol). Generally, he can get his money back from the seller.
    – Loewian
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 1:03
  • I suppose that begs the question of what was a shtar used for? Were they public or private records?
    – Scimonster
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 6:06
  • I suppose that once commissioned by a local sofer, word-of-mouth spread about the loan, since it was relevant with regard to local real-estate ownership...
    – Loewian
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 6:29
  • (I do believe I did come across a gemara in gitin discussing what sounded like an insurance policy for seized land. Plus there is definitely the option of buying land with or without achrayus.)
    – Loewian
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 6:31
  • Levy is not supposed to ignore that the property is Meshuabad. And the price diminue in function of that.
    – kouty
    Commented Feb 14, 2016 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Aruch (choshen mishpat 225:1) says:

כל המוכר עבד או קרקע או מטלטלין הרי זה חייב באחריותן כיצד אם בא אחד והוציא המקח מיד הלקוח מחמת המוכר חוזר הלוקח ונוטל כל הדמים שנתן מן המוכר שהרי נלקח המקח מחמתו כך הדין בכל ממכר אף על פי שלא פירש הלוקח דבר זה אלא קנה סתם אפילו מכר הקרקע בשטר ולא הזכיר בו אחריות ה"ז חייב באחריות שהאחריות שלא נזכר טעות סופר הוא

One who sells a slave, land or goods is obligated to be responsible for them. In what way? If one comes and takes the item from the buyer because of the seller, the buyer can go take all of the money he used back from the seller, because it's his [the seller's] fault the item was taken. This is true for any sale, even if the buyer didn't state this explicitly, rather bought it without conditions, even if the sale was done via contract, and responsibility wasn't mentioned, the seller is still responsible, because when responsibility isn't mentioned, we consider it to be a mistake on the part of the scribe.

So basically, Levi can get his money back from Reuven. (Note that shimon can only take the property in the first place if he has a sh'tar).

The Shulchan Aruch goes on to say that if a Goy is the one that takes the property (even if it's through the secular courts), this is Ones and Reuven isn't obligated to pay Levi back, unless they stipulated that he would even in a case of Ones. Also, if they stipulate that Reuven would never have to pay him back, then that would also work.

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