WHEN DOES ADMISSION OBLIGATE A PERSON? [admission :retraction]
(Mishnah): If he says 'Reuven himself told me' (this is invalid). He must say 'Reuven admitted to Shimon in front of us that he owes him 200.'
(Rav Yehudah): An admission is valid only if he said 'you are witnesses against me.'
(Abaye): Reuven is exempt only if he claims that he was joking, but if he denies that he admitted, he is established to be a liar, and he is Chayav.
Rebuttal (Rava): One does not remember meaningless things.
Reuven had a reputation that he owed many people. He said 'I owe only Ploni and Almoni.' They claimed from him in Beis Din.
Rav Nachman: It is normal for one to falsely claim that he owes money, lest people think that he is rich.
Shimon had a reputation that he was a rich miser. Just before he died, he said 'I owe Ploni and Almoni.' They claimed from his heirs.
R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi: In his lifetime one will falsely claim that he owes, lest people will think he is rich, but not when he is dying!
R. Chiya: Just like one does not want people to think that he is rich, he does not them to think that his sons are rich!
Bava Basra 174b (Rav and Shmuel): If a Shechiv Mera (he fears lest he die from his illness) said 'I have 100 Zuz of Ploni', we give only if he said 'give it to Ploni.'
One does not want people to think that his children are wealthy, so (if he did not say 'give'), we suspect that he is lying.
175a (Rava): If a Shechiv Mera admitted, he need not say 'you are witnesses.' One does not jest at the time of death.
Kesuvos 101b (R. Yochanan): If Reuven tells Shimon 'I owe you 100', he must pay.
Question: If he did not say 'you are witnesses against me', why should he need to pay?!
Rif: Even if he denies that he admitted, he is exempt. One does not remember meaningless things.
Ba'al ha'Ma'or (7b): If Reuven admitted without any claim, whether or not it was in front of Shimon, if he did not say 'you are witnesses', we claim for him that he was joking. This is why the Mishnah said 'his words have no effect', and not just 'he is exempt,' like it says in the Beraisa. Reuven said 'I owe only Ploni and Almoni,' they claimed from him, and Rav Nachman said 'it is normal to falsely admit, due to Hasba'ah (lest people think that he is rich).' If Rav Nachman came to explain the Mishnah, he should have said so! Rather, he teaches that in such cases, if he did not claim, we claim for him. A Tosefta teaches that admission is like 100 witnesses when he admitted in response to a claim. If he admitted by himself, he can retract.
Nimukei Yosef (8a DH Ela): Some say that any admission not in respose to a claim, obligates him. One claims to owe in front of witnesses due to Hasba'ah. One does not admit to a person 'I owe you' for this reason. However, the Mishnah connotes that the admission helps only if he said 'you are witnesses against me.' If not, he can say that he admitted due to Hasba'ah, even if he admitted to a person. Tosfos says so.
Rambam (Hilchos To'en 6:8): Testimony of hidden witnesses is not testimony, nor if one admitted by himself and witnesses heard, nor if Shimon said to Reuven 'you owe to me 100', and Reuven said 'yes' and witnesses heard. Still, Beis Din tells Reuven 'pay to Shimon what you owe!' If he denies owing, we ask why he admitted. If he pays, this is good. If he does not claim (explain his admission), we do not claim for him. If he says 'I was joking,' or nothing happened (I never admitted), or Hasba'ah, he is exempt and swears Heses.
Rosh (3:25): R. Chiya taught that just like one is concerned lest people think that he is rich, he is concerned for Hasba'ah of his sons! Also in Bava Basra we say that if a Shechiv Mera admitted, we give only if he said 'give,' for one is concerned for Hasba'ah of his sons. Also, he need not say 'you are witnesses,' for one does not jest at the time of death! R. Tam explains that the latter is when others claimed from him. One does not falsely admit to a claim due to Hasba'ah. It is common to jest when one falsely claims from him, but not at the time of death. One admits by himself due to Hasba'ah of himself (or his sons), but not in response to a claim. We claim this for him even if he does not say it, like Rav Nachman did. If David told Levi 'pay what you owe to me. You cannot deny, for you admitted in front of Ploni and Almoni', even without witnesses, Levi must swear that he does not owe. However, if David says 'pay what you admitted in front of Ploni and Almoni that you owe me', Levi need not swear. (David claims solely due to the admission. He himself did not say 'you owe me.') We do not claim for Levi 'perhaps you were joking', for often one makes a proper admission. We claim this for orphans, for if the father was alive, he could have said 'I was joking,' unless he admitted close to death, for one does not jest at the time of death. This is even if he admitted in front of the lender, even if the lender did not claim. In the Mishnah, the witness said 'Ploni said that he owes him', which connotes that the lender was not there, and no one claimed from him. It says 'his words have no effect until he says 'he admitted to Shimon in front of us that he owes him.'' I.e. even in front of Shimon, only an admission 'in front of us' is valid, i.e. he said 'you are witnesses against me.' This shows that one is apt to admit due to Hasba'ah, even when he admits without a claim.
Shulchan Aruch (CM 81:1): If Reuven admitted in front of witnesses that he owes Shimon, and tomorrow says 'I was only joking', he is believed.
Shulchan Aruch (2): This refers to a healthy person. If Reuven was a Shechiv Mera, and Shimon claimed from him and Reuven admitted, he cannot say that he was joking, for one does not jest at the time of death.
Beis Yosef (32 DH v'Ha): Any bedridden sick person is like a Shechiv Mera, or one who is dangerously sick, even if he can walk. One cannot retract from what he said at the time of death, even if he was walking and they claimed from him. If he could claim, we would claim for his heirs!
Rebuttal (Shach 7): In Bava Basra, we asked whether Stam we are concerned lest one jested at the time of death. We concluded that Stam, he does not. If he says that he jested, surely he is believed! We do not claim for orphans, for it is uncommon. (If a healthy person admitted,) the Rosh and others proved from Bava Basra that we claim for orphans that it was a joke. According to the Beis Yosef, what is the proof? Perhaps Bava Basra discusses whether a Shechiv Mera himself can say that he was joking, or if his orphans must pay if before he died he said that he was joking. One can resolve this with difficulty. What I said is primary.
Shulchan Aruch (5): The claim 'I was joking' helps only if the lender claimed from him. If he admitted on his own, he cannot say 'I was joking.'
Beis Yosef (DH mi'Kol): The Nimukei Yosef (8a DH ha'Hu) says that even when does not want others to think that he is poor, e.g. the man who was assumed to owe everyone, and he said that he owes only Ploni and Almoni, we can say that said so due to Hasba'ah.
Shach (12): The Rambam and others disagree. Their opinion is primary. The Rambam never distinguishes based on whether he admitted in response to a claim. He explicitly says 'whether he admitted by himself, or if Shimon said 'you owe to me'...' The SMA says that 'he can claim 'I was joking'' (in the Rambam) does not include admission by himself. This is a poor answer. The Rambam (7:1) also says 'not in front of the lender, if it was not like mere talk, he cannot say 'I was joking.'' I.e. if it was like talk, he can say 'I was joking'! The Magid Mishneh says that the Ba'al ha'Ma'or holds that whether we claim for the borrower depends on whether he admitted to a claim, but he does not say that it affects the claim 'I was joking.' Also Sefer ha'Terumos, Ba'al ha'Itur, the Ra'avad, Rav Hai Gaon, the Ramah, Or Zaru'a and Mordechai say so. Rashi says that one can say 'since you claimed from me what I do not owe you, I answered you in jest.' Perhaps Rashi merely explains why he can say 'I was joking even when he admitted to a claim! It seems that R. Yochanan discusses one who admitted by himself, and if he did not say 'you are witnesses against me', surely he is exempt! Ba'al ha'Itur says that in this case we claim for him that he was joking! Tosfos says that he could claim 'I was joking' or 'I admitted due to Hasba'ah.' Hasba'ah does not apply in the presence of the lender; the Rambam (7:1) says so. Sanhedrin 29a brought 'you are witnesses against me' to remove the claim of joking.
Gra (10): Rava asked (and later answered) whether one jests at the time of death. He could not learn from R. Chiya and R. Yishmael, who argue only about if one concerned for due to Hasba'ah of his sons, for they discuss one who admitted by himself.
Beis Yosef (32 DH Kosav): The Mordechai says that even if one admitted by himself, he can retract if it was not in front of the lender, or if it was in front of him but the lender was silent. However, if the lender said 'you are my witnesses' and the borrower was silent, this is his claim. The Tur says so in the name of the Ra'avad, but the Tur disagrees.
Rebuttal (Bach 8 DH v'Chosav): Surely, 'this is his claim' in the Mordechai means that he is liable, and he cannot say 'I admitted due to Hasba'ah.' This is like the Tur, but unlike the Ra'avad, who says that even in this case he can make this claim.
SMA (14): Hagahos Maimoniyos, Hagahos Ashri and the Mordechai say that one cannot claim about a Tanai 'I was joking.'