Bava Basra Chart #10
Chart for Bava Basra Daf 155a-156a
THE TRANSACTIONS OF A KATAN
|UNDER 13||FROM 13 TO 20 (1)||OVER 20|
|1||CAN HE SELL METALTELIN? (2)||Yes (3) (4)||Yes (5)||Yes (5)|
|2||CAN HE SELL LAND LEFT TO HIM BY HIS FATHER? (6) (7)||No (4)||No (8)
(unless he knows how to conduct business)
as long as he has signs of adulthood, signs that he is Saris, or he has reached his 36th year
(1) The Gemara (156a) rules that within the 20th year (or the 18th year, according to one opinion in the Gemara 155a), meaning before the person reaches his 21st birthday, it is considered to be the same as before the 20th year (and thus his sale of land is not valid).
(2) The same applies for giving a gift of Metaltelin.
(3) The child's sale or gift of Metaltelin is valid only when we see that he has intelligence and is not entirely foolish (Gitin 59b).
(4) The Chachamim enacted that a child, who has intelligence, is able to buy and sell Metaltelin in order for him to be able to buy food for himself. They only permitted a Katan to sell Metaltelin for this purpose, though, but not land (for the reasons explained below, footnote #7).
(5) His sale is a valid Kinyan mid'Oraisa.
(6) The question applies only to selling land. The Gemara rules like Ameimar (155b) who says that a gift of land given by a person over the age of 13 and one day is valid (as the Gemara on 156a explains the reasoning).
(7) The RASHBAM (156a, DH v'Hilchesa) explains that the restriction on the sale of land (by a person between the ages of 13 and 20) applies only to selling the land that one inherited from his father. This is because he will be less discriminate in selling it, due to the fact that he received it for free. Alternatively, it is because of the concern for the honor of the family (which will be disgraced if the family land is sold). According to RABEINU TAM, the restriction on the sale applies to any land, and not just land that the person inherited. The reason, according to that view, for the restriction on selling land is because of the irreplaceable loss that selling it involves. (Metaltelin can be replaced by similar Metaltelin, but there is only one piece of land in any particular place.)
(8) Even though, mid'Oraisa his sale is binding once he has reached the age of 13 (or 12 for a girl) and has Simanim (signs of adulthood), nevertheless the Chachamim enacted that his sale is not binding until he reaches the age of 20 (or 18, according to one opinion). They made this enactment in order to protect the property, to ensure that it would not be capriciously sold by a youngster and lost from the family forever.
(9) If he has reached the age of 20 (meaning his 20th year has passed, and he is now 21; see above, footnote #1), then he does not need to know how to conduct business in order for his sale to be valid (RASHBAM, 155b, DH Is d'Garsi). (See, however, NIMUKEI YOSEF and RASHBA).