Bava Metzia chapter 4
Is it silver you use to buy gold?
Is it rather the silver that’s sold?
The Nasi first said one
Back when teaching his son
Then he changed his mind when he got old.
“I’ll pay you with new coins my friend”
Can he pay him old coins in the end?
He must do as he said
Lest his friend be misled
Though most people want old coins to spend.
When you take hold of the object, it’s bought
And not when you pay, as we thought.
Lest the seller, a liar
Say “My attic’s on fire
Your wheat burned. The sale was for naught.”
What’s this thing that they call Asimon?
Not those things they once used for the phone.
It’s a ticket you get in
The bathhouse, once let in–
Or a coin still unstamped and unknown.
Rabbi Hiya bar Yosef sold salt.
He was paid, but then wished to default
For the price never fell
It just rose. Must he sell?
“You’ll be cursed if you try now to halt.”
Don’t charge more than a sixth of the price
That is called O’na’ah. It’s a vice.
You can’t charge in your store
Any price so much more
Than the object is worth. Be precise.
If you’re overcharged, can you return
The item whenever? We learn—
Only ‘til you could show
To your friends, who’d say “No!
That is not worth that much, we discern.”
Sadly price gouging happens a lot
If you’re a merchant, or if you are not.
If you know you’ve been tricked
It is your right to pick:
Take your cash, or what you should have got.
That coin you were handed is bad
It is worn away. Well, just a tad.
You can go take it back
You have time, but don’t slack—
Make him own up, that seller, that cad.
Maaser Sheni – eat within the walls
Of Jerusalem. What if they fall?
Can you then redeem
Your tithe? It would seem
That you can. Not according to all!
Teruma is meant for a priest
So don’t eat it all up in a feast
If you eat by mistake
You must pay, and we take
The full sum, plus a fifth (that’s at least!).
A Pruta is not very much.
Do we take you to court over such
A small sum? Yes we do
If the money was due
To the Temple. That you cannot touch!
There is no On’a’ah if it’s land
You are buying. There’s no hand-to-hand
Transaction. So too,
With slaves, we construe
Them as land, as you must understand.
If you promised to donate some flour
To the Temple. But within the hour
The price shot up high
Must you give as much? Why?
It’s the Temple! Now don’t look so sour!
If a convert comes by, you can’t say
“It was ten years ago to the day
That your Dad ate some pork
With a spoon and a fork”
Do not torture or turn him away.
Better to fall in a furnace and burn
Than embarrass your friend, so we learn
From Tamar, who did not
Speak aloud Judah’s rot
Blaming Judah was not her concern.
In your store, don’t hand out nuts and sweets
To the kids who come in seeking treats.
For you’ll give them a knack
To come flocking right back
It’s not fair to the stores on your street.