Can a seller, who has listed an item for sale, change his mind and decide not to sell the item?

What are the seller's obligations to a potential buyer after speaking about a sale, but no formal offer or agreement had been made?

  • Change his mind from what?
    – Double AA
    Feb 26, 2016 at 4:29
  • There are two problems "Kol Hamekayem et Devaro Ruach Hachamim Nocha Mimmennu" (כָּל הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין, נִקְנִין בִּמְשִׁיכָה. וְכָל הַמְקַיֵּם אֶת דְּבָרוֹ, רוּחַ חֲכָמִים נוֹחָה מִמֶּנּוּ) and "Mi Shepara" and the example of Rav Safra. But if no formal offer had been made, as says Double AA, perhaps all begins and end in mind. Be more accurate please.
    – kouty
    Feb 26, 2016 at 4:40
  • I forgot the link
    – kouty
    Feb 26, 2016 at 4:55
  • Another principle is the concept that "the one currently holding the money has the upper hand" - though in this case, the verbal contract isn't binding. If there was a receipt/contract/etc. written up between the two (being used to document the exchange, not as a vehicle for the exchange), then the seller might not have the option to retract... Feb 26, 2016 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


The Gemara considers it praiseworthy to make good on one's mental commitments, as Rav Safra did. However that's not required by the letter of the law.

If someone said "I will sell" but took no action on it, then we conclude "it is appropriate to follow through, and failing to do so disappoints our Sages." (But the counterparty has no legal recourse.)

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