י״ט באייר ה׳תשע״ה (May 8, 2015)

Ketubot 95a-b: Collecting On a Loan

We learned earlier that a creditor can collect from real estate owned by the borrower, even if it had subsequently been sold to a third party. Our Gemara points out that this is only true if the borrower had no other property available from which one could collect. If, however, such property was available – even if it was ziburit (i.e. low-quality real estate, and loans are usually collected from higher quality land) – collection must be made from there, and properties already purchased by others cannot be used to collect the loan.

In the case where the purchaser made sure to leave some real estate available to pay off loans, but that land became ruined, can the creditor still collect from the lands that had been sold by the borrower? The Gemara argues that it is common practice for the courts to allow collection to be made from fields that have been sold, even if the purchaser made sure that there were other lands available for collections. Even in such cases, the purchaser takes on some level of risk – and presumably gets a better price for the field than he would have if the field was totally risk-free. The example presented by the Gemara is a case where a man gave a pardes – an orchard or vineyard – to his creditor for ten years, with the expectation that the produce of the land would pay off the loan over a ten-year period. After five years the field stopped producing, and the court allowed the creditor to collect from another piece of land to collect his remaining debt.