New York - VINDAF VIEWS: Bava Basra 72
New York - Aquilaria malaccensis is a tree that is found in India (and some other countries too). It is known as Agarwood and is also the most expensive tree in the world. It is often infected by a mold which produces a certain reaction in the tree, creating a very aromatic resin. The resin is used for perfumes and other aromatic additives. Resin from the tree costs some $5000 per pound.
Now let’s say, I were to sell you my field that had within it an Agar tree or two. I did not specify whether or not the tree was included within the sale. What is the halacha? Is the tree included or not?
The Gemorah (Bava Basra 72b) tells us that the “Charuv HaMurkav” (grafted carob tree) and the “Sdan HaShikmah” (early cut sycamore tree) are very important trees. On this account they are considered in some respectes as if they are land, while in other respects they are treated like trees. In terms of their inclusion in a sale, Rav Huna tells us that they are considered as if they are their own fields.
That being the case they are not included in a regular sale of property if they are not mentioned. This is not the case with other trees.
It would seem that the halacha of Charuv HaMurkav and Sdan HaShikmah would also apply to our Agar tree case, since the operative principle is their importance as expensive wood sources. Historically, the Sycamore tree was used for wooden caskets in Egypt, for example. This position, that highly expensive and important trees would not be included in a sale was confirmed by a top Dayan in Bais Talmud LeHoraah. The question now arises as to what types of trees would be excluded. The other issue of course is the Dina DeMalchusa Dina.
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