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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Real Estate

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Landed property. The differences between landed or immovable and chattel or movable property have been indicated in the articles see see Alienation, APPRAISEMENT, Debts of Decedent, DEED, EXECUTION, FRAUD AND MISTAKE, Infancy, ONA'AH, and SALE. In what respects the two kinds of property are treated alike has been pointed out under AGNATES and Wills. In the articles FIXTURES and LANDLORD AND TENANT it has been shown which of the things resting upon or growing upon the land are treated as part of it, and which as personalty ("miṭṭalṭelin").

As regards inheritance and wills, as is shown under AGNATES, there is no difference between the rights of succession in land and those in personalty; herein the Jewish law differs radically from the common law of England, but agrees with the Roman law. The eighth chapter of Baba Ḳamma, which defines who are heirs, nowhere distinguishes the kind of property to be inherited. In like manner the "gift of him lying sick," which takes the place of the last will (see Wills), was, if made under the proper conditions, that is, during apprehension of speedy death which came true, as valid in its operation on lands as on goods and credits. For "the words of him lying sick are considered as written and sealed"; hence they fill the part of a deed required to pass lands as well as that of the manual taking or "pulling" required to change ownership of goods.

As to changes of title between seller and buyer, or donor and donee, the forms differ according as one or another kind of property is the object of sale or of gift by the healthy; but goods may always be transferred by sale or gift along with land by any formalities which give title to the latter (ALIENATION AND ACQUISITION).

In the Talmudic law, contrary to the Biblical idea of an inalienable title to lands vested in the family rather than in the individual owner, and contrary to the customs of nations other than the Jews and to the English and American laws, lands and not goods were deemed the primary fund for the payment of debts. Lands and "Canaanitish slaves" together were known as "wealth which has its responsibility" ("aḥarayot"). This meant mainly thatproperty of this kind, land and slaves, was bound by the owner's bond from the time of its delivery, a bond meaning a written contract attested by two subscribing witnesses; and the debt might be levied not only on "free estate," but also on "subjected estate," that is, on such as had thereafter been given away, sold, or encumbered. Under the older law also, only lands and slaves were liable for the debts of decedents, till the almost universal landlessness of the Jews necessitated a change (DEBTS OF DECEDENTS; see DEED); but for the security and peace of mankind ("tiḳḳun ha-'olam") it was ordained that a bond, in so far as it secures unliquidated damages, should operate only on "free estate"; for instance, the warranty in a deed of conveyance, in so far as it indemnifies the buyer against the payment of mesne profits, or the covenant in the wife's KETUBAH, which secures alimony to her and to her daughters (Giṭ. 5:3).

The occupation of land, in so far as it gives title of derelict (DERELICTS), or raises, after a lapse of three years, a Presumption of grant from the former owner, is governed by different rules from those which govern the possession or occupation of goods and chattels.

The manner of subjecting land to the payment of debts under writ of EXECUTION after due APPRAISEMENT, is very formal and elaborate; and for this purpose land is divided into three classes, best, middling, and cheapest, while the sale of the debtor's chattels is rather informal and summary.

Under the head of INFANCY, LEGAL ASPECT OF, it has been shown that until young persons arrive at the age of twenty years they have no power to sell those lands which have come to them by inheritance.

Under ONA'AH it has been pointed out that the rule under which a seller or purchaser may set aside a sale or purchase by reason of excess or deficit of one-sixth above or below the market price does not apply to lands or slaves, on the ground that lands and slaves have no market price; but when one party to a sale charges actual Fraud or Mistake there is no material difference between sales of land and sales of goods.

E. C.
L. N. D.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Real Estate'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/r/real-estate.html. 1901.

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