When a farmer harvests his field, the teruma (one of the tithes that must be separated) that is offered to a kohen can only be consumed by kohanim or members of their household. Thus, a woman who marries a kohen may eat teruma. Similarly, a non-Jewish slave that is considered owned by the kohen can partake of the teruma, as well.
On yesterday’s we learned that the occurrence of simpon (abrogation) – fear of a broken agreement – may lead to the annulment of a marriage, which is why a woman who is betrothed to a kohen may not be permitted to eat teruma until after the marriage is consummated. Given this information the Gemara asks why a slave is permitted to eat teruma – perhaps simpon will occur, canceling the sale, and the slave will be returned to his former master who cannot feed him teruma!? The Gemara responds ein simpon ba-avadim – we do not anticipate that information will come up that would cancel such a sale.
To support this idea, the Gemara considers – and rejects – different possible claims that the purchaser may make in claiming that the slave was damaged goods.
- If the slave has an obvious disability, he should have noticed it at the time of purchase.
- If it was a hidden disfigurement, it should be of no concern to a master who had bought him for work.
- If he was a thief or a kuvyustus, the sale still stands.
- If he was found to be an armed robber or mukhtav la-malkhut – wanted by the authorities – he would have heard about it, since these are unusual.
Most commentaries (Rashi, the Rivan and the Rambam among others) define kuvyustus as a kidnapper, although Rabbeinu Hananel says that it is simple a dice player – a mesahek be-kubiyah. Both Rashi and the Rambam explain that the deal cannot be cancelled in such a case because those traits are not unexpected to find among slaves and without a specific condition excluding them, the purchaser is understood to accept them.
Rashi and the Rivan interpret mukhtav la-malkhut to mean that he has been sentenced to death by the authorities. The Rambam understands that this slave has been registered as belonging to the king, and will eventually be taken by the authorities and delivered to the king for his work.