web analytics
October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Daf’

Daf Yomi

Friday, October 14th, 2016

The Physician’s Dilemma
‘It Came Into His Hand While Forbidden’
(Bava Metzia 21b)


Our daf evaluates when a lost object is considered halachically lost and abandoned. If a person finds an object whose owner has not yet despaired of finding it (e.g., he didn’t even know he lost it yet), he must hold on to the lost article for the owner. This obligation, once initiated, remains incumbent upon the finder even if the owner later despairs of retrieving it.

A House Call

A physician was once summoned on Shabbos to a patient’s home and given jewelry as a security pending payment. A long time passed, but no one from the family paid him and he forgot the patient’s identity. Though the physician was allowed to sell the jewelry, he didn’t know what to do with that portion of the proceeds of the sale that exceeded his fee. The owner presumably relinquished any claim to the jewelry (“yi’ush”), but that was only after he was already safekeeping it waiting for the owner to retrieve it.

A Guardian

Though the Rishonim agree that a finder may not keep an item found before the owner relinquishes all claims it (even if he does so subsequently), they disagree as to why. According to Tosafos (infra 26b, s.v. “Eino over”), a person who find an article whose owner has not despaired of retrieiving it must observe the commandment of returning it – and this commandment remains incumbent on him even after yi’ush.

On the other hand, the Ramban (Milchamos Hashem, 14b in the Rif) maintains that such a finder is categorized as the owner’s guardian of the article. From the moment the article is found, therefore, it is not considered lost and any later yi’ush does not permit the finder to acquire it – just like yi’ush is obviously invalid for an object someone considers lost that is later found in his own home. A finder of a lost article may only take it if he can reasonably assume that the owner relinquished all claim to it before it was found.

It’s Elementary

The answer to the jewelry question depends on this machlokes between Tosafos and the Ramban. According to Tosafos, yi’ush after an object is found doesn’t change the situation since the finder already is mitzvah-bound to return it. But in this case, the physician was never under such an obligation. When the jewelry was deposited with him, it was not lost and, consequently, he may acquire it after yi’ush by the owner.

In the Ramban’s opinion, yi’ush after an object is found doesn’t change the situation since the finder is watching it for its owner. In this case, the doctor is doing just that – watching over the jewelry given to him as security for payment. Consequently, he may not acquire it even after yi’ush by the owner.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

‘Stop, Thief!’
‘Are Identifying Marks Biblical Or Rabbinic?’
(Bava Metzia 18b)


Our daf considers whether identifying marks – simanim – verify the nature of an object biblically or due to rabbinic enactment.

When it comes to monetary matters (to identify a lost object, for example), the answer has no practical relevance since the sages are empowered to enact monetary procedures without a biblical source (Rambam, Hilchos Sanhedrin 24:6, based on Gittin 36b).

However, when it comes to dinei issur (e.g., identifying a lost get), simanim can only be used if they are biblically-sanctioned.


Testimony Or Simanim?

The Gemara (infra. 27b) states that a siman alone cannot be sued to identify a corpse as the husband of a particular woman, thus permitting her to remarry in the future. Rather, witnesses need to come forward who recognize the general features of the corpse as that of the husband of the woman in question. Only then is she permitted to remarry.

To Return Or Not To Return

Early authorities (Tosafos, s.v. “veha yahivna…,” Rashba, and Ran ad loc.) maintain that one needs a siman muvhak – a unique identifying mark – to return a lost object to its owner.

The Pnei Yehoshua (ad loc. 27b – s.v. “chamur b’simanei okef”) differentiates between identifying a lost object and identifying a corpse. In identifying a dead man, our main concern is that the identification be correct – that he indeed be the husband of the woman who may wish to remarry in the future and needs to know if her husband is deceased or not. In identifying a lost object, in contrast, our main concern is that the person claiming the object not be a thief.

What He Once Saw

Indeed, the Pnei Yehoshua argues that insofar as a lost object is concerned, providing a siman muvhak is insufficient since the claimant might have once seen the article and be familiar with all its distinct identifying marks even though he isn’t the true owner.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

The ‘False’ Rumor
‘If One Found Notes of Acquisition’
(Bava Metzia 14a)


Our daf discusses a number of cases concerning complicated documents.

The Helpful Father-in -Law

The following incident took place in Israel: A wholesaler claimed that a shopkeeper owed him 9,000 shekalim while the latter insisted he owed him nothing. The wholesaler subsequently stopped supplying him with goods whereupon the shopkeeper decided to sign a promissory note for the 9,000 shekalim and even secured a guarantor for the amount. A few days later, the shopkeeper absconded and left the country, leaving his business bankrupt. The guarantor, his father-in-law, remained defenseless in face of the assumed responsibility. Nonetheless, he tried arguing that he wasn’t required to pay the amount.

The Careless Son-in-law

“Please understand,” the father-in-law said before beis din, “that my dear son-in-law is careless and negligent and that the conniving wholesaler exploited him. Had I known the truth, not only would I not have signed but I would have taken the necessary steps to invalidate the wholesaler’s claim. Unfortunately, my son-in-law fooled me, telling me nothing. Thus, the document, even though it bears my signature, should be considered an erroneous transaction (mekach ta’os) and as such should have no legal validity.”

‘I’m As Rich As Korach’

The claim of mekach ta’os is commonly heard in cases involving guarantees. In one case, for example, a guarantor claimed that he only agreed to guarantee a loan because the borrower claimed he was enormously wealyth. But does that mean his guarantee of the loan was a mekach ta’os? There is no doubt, after all, that he would not have assumed such a responsibility if he had known the true facts about the borrower’s financial condition.

A Guarantor Is Only Beholden To The Lender

Despite the deception, though, it is not a mekach ta’os. A guarantor obligates himself to the lender. The borrower merely acts as a mediator. In other words, there may have been a regrettable misunderstanding – or even willful deception by the borrower – but there are no grounds to release the guarantor of his obligation to the lender.

Consider the following example: An individual heard that a certain shop was selling porcelain utensils in which diamonds were purported to be hidden. He rushed to the store and bought a huge amount of items from the confounded shopkeeper who failed to understand the customer’s enthusiasm. After a long night of breaking the utensils and poring through them, the disgruntled customer realized they held no diamonds. He was not allowed to return to the shop, however, and demand his money back on the basis that his purchase was a mekach ta’os. A vendor is not supposed to know a customer’s intentions. He may rightfully say, “He wanted porcelain? I sold him porcelain. If he has any claim he should direct it to the rumormongers.”

Similarly, a guarantor cannot claim that the borrower deceived him to avoid keeping his promise to the lender. The guarantor assumed the unconditional responsibility to pay in the borrower’s stead. That is the promise he made to the lender; what the borrower may have told him to get him to sign is irrelevant insofar as his obligation to the lender is concerned (Emek HaMishpat 2:9).

Canceling Of A Guarantee

The link between guarantor and lender is so direct, in fact, that if the former wishes to retract his guarantee, he must inform the lender before the execution of the loan. Informing the borrower does not suffice (Nesivos HaMishpat 122, s.k. 3).

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

His Silence Is Deafening
‘One Seized It In Our Presence’
(Bava Metzia 6a)


Our daf refers to the mishnah (2a) which presents a case of two people appearing before beis din clutching two ends of a garment, each claiming that he found it first. The halacha is that the garment should be divided between the two of them (subsequent to their taking an oath).

The Gemara states, though, that if one of the litigants seizes the garment from the other while they are in beis din’s presence and the other remains silent, this silence is construed as an admission that the garment isn’t his (shetika k’hoda’a) and the garment is awarded to the one who seized it.

Delayed Reaction

R. Zera wonders what the halacha is if the aggrieved party waited a while before protesting. Should his initial silence be construed as an admission? Perhaps he kept quiet because he assumed that the aggressive action of his opponent would serve as sufficient reason for the members of the court to award him the garment. (R. Zera does not resolve his query.)

The Ins And Outs

The Ramban (Bava Metzia, ad loc.) writes that if the seizure took place outside beis din, the aggrieved party’s silence definitely constitutes an admission. The Rashba, however, disagrees and maintains that a person won’t bother to cry out in protest outside of beis din since such a cry would be pointless. In beis din, though, protesting would be effective; therefore, only in beis din is silence interpreted as an admission.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

The Burdensome Beast
‘He Put His Donkey On The Ferryboat’
(Bava Kamma 117b)


Our daf rules that a person who damages his fellow’s property in an effort to save his own life is obligated to reimburse his fellow. The Gemara (117a) cites the example of an individual who was accosted by highwaymen. To save his life, he gave the bandits his fellow’s money. Though he used the money to save himself from mortal danger, he nevertheless must reimburse his fellow.

A baraisa cited in the Gemara (supra 116b) rules similarly. It presents the case of a ship encountering stormy waters with the passengers fearing for their lives. Seeking to lighten the ship’s load, they threw some cargo overboard. Even though the passengers’ lives were in danger, they must their fellow for his loss.


A Rodef?

Our Gemara relates an incident of a man who brought his wild donkey onto a ferryboat. Since the donkey was causing the ferryboat to capsize, one of the passengers threw it overboard. Abaye initially reasons that the man (or all the passengers) should compensate the animal’s owner for his loss because of the above-mentioned rule. Rava, however, rules that there is no obligation to reimburse the owner since the animal was a rodef (lit., a pursuer out to kill). Rashi (s.v. “malach lehad loc.) explains that it is actually the owner of the donkey who is considered the rodef due to his bringing the donkey aboard.

The Gemara reasons that since it is permitted to kill a rodef to save one’s life, it is certainly permitted to damage a rodef’s property to save human lives.


Chamra – A Cask Of Wine

The Rambam (Hilchos Chovel U’Mazik 8:15), in codifying this halacha, only mentions a boat overloaded with cargo; he makes no mention of a donkey. Mirkeves HaMishna suggests that the Rambam had an alternate text of the Gemara that read “chamra” – [barrels of] wine (which is an example of cargo).


The Raavad (to Rambam ad loc.) asks why the owner of the donkey (or wine) was not entitled to compensation while the owner of the cargo in the storm was (116b, mentioned above).

The Maggid Mishnah (to Rambam ad loc.) explains that a person who brings extra cargo on board is considered a rodef because he is endangering the lives of the passengers. Therefore, it is a mitzvah to throw his cargo overboard and there is no obligation to pay for it. However, the baraisa about the stormy sea is referring to an ordinary passenger. He personally did nothing wrong. The entire boat’s cargo is weighing the boat down. No one individual is considered a rodef. Therefore, if some of the passengers decide to throw the cargo of a particular individual overboard to lighten the load, they must reimburse him for his loss.

The Raavad (as explained by the Mirkeves HaMishna), though, maintains that even someone who brought extra cargo on board is not classified as a rodef since he is only an indirect cause (gerama) of the boat’s sinking; he is not actively sinking the ship with his own hands. The donkey mentioned by the Gemara, though, is a rodef because it is actively sinking the ferryboat by running and jumping wildly. Thus, the passengers need not reimburse the owner for his loss, according to Rava.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The Messenger Or The Message?
‘How Do We View This Agent?’
(Bava Kamma 104a)


As part of the Yom Kippur service, a goat was led for a three-hour walk from the Beis HaMikdash to the stop of a steep cliff. There, it was thrown down to its death by the person who accompanied it, thus achieving atonement for the sins of the Jewish Nation.

The Torah instructs us to appoint a specific person on erev Yom Kippur to perform this task: “It will be sent to the desert with a designated man” (Vayikra 16:21). Our Sages interpreted this pasuk to mean that the goat for Azazel must be sent even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos (although this may entail the violation of certain melachos) and even if the appointed escort is impure.


Mishloach Manos On Purim

On Purim there is a mitzvah to send mishloach manos to the poor, our friends, and our associates. The Binyan Tzion (44; see Mishnah Berurah 695:18) wonders: Must mishloach manos be given personally or must they be given via a messenger? Megillas Esther calls these gifts mishloach manos, a “sending of gifts” from each person to his friend. The word “sending” seems to imply that they should be sent through a messenger.

A Minor Messenger

If we assume that a messenger must be used, need the messenger be an adult Jew? There is a general principle that a messenger appointed to perform a mitzvah must be an adult Jew who is obligated to perform mitzvos. A shliach in Torah law stands in place of the person who sent him and the mitzvah he performs is directly associated with the person who sent him. Therefore, a person who is not obligated to perform mitzvos cannot perform this role.

Since children and gentiles are not obligated to send mishloach manos, they should not be able to deliver them on our behalf. Yet, the Dvar Avraham (I, 13:4; II, 8) argues against this conclusion. If a person who is expected to perform a mitzvah on his own appoints an agent to perform it on his behalf, the agent takes his place; therefore, only an agent who is obligated to perform mitzvos is eligible. However, when we say that a mitzvah should be performed through an intermediary, we are essentially saying that the person need not perform the mitzvah per se; rather, he must see to it that the mitzvah is performed. It therefore makes no difference whether the messenger delivering the mishloach manos is a Jew or gentile, adult or child. The point is not to do the mitzvah, but to make sure that the mitzvah gets done.


The Shliach For The Goat

The same reasoning can be applied to the shliach sent to accompany the goat to Azazel. Since the Torah instructs us to send the goat specifically with a shliach, even a child or gentile should be eligible. Why then need we send it with an adult Jew when Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos and the laws of Shabbos must be violated to bring the goat? Would it not be better to instruct a gentile to take the goat?

The Dvar Avraham answers that, indeed, as far as the principles of appointing a shliach are concerned, appointing a gentile would be permissible. However, the Torah specifically states that the goat must be sent with a “designated man,” implying that he must be an adult man, not a child. Furthermore, the Torah tells us that the shliach must immerse in a mikveh after bringing the goat to Azazel. This rule implies that he must be a Jew, who is subject to the laws of ritual impurity. (Gentiles are not.) Thus, children and gentiles are unfit to bring the goat to Azazel on Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Possession Is 100 Percent Of The Law
‘Stolen Chametz Became Forbidden Due To The Intervening Passover’
(Bava Kamma 96b)


We infer from the mishnah on our daf that if a thief stole a healthy cow valued at, for example, $500 and its value decreased to $400 due to market changes, he fulfills his obligation to make restitution if he returns the actual animal, even though it presently is worth less than it did when he stole it.

The mishnah specifically states that if a cow’s value decreased due to a physical change (e.g., it became old or weak in the hands of the thief), restitution can only be accomplished by giving the owner an animal worth the same amount as the one stolen from him. This is due to the rule of “shinui koneh” – i.e., a physical change creates acquisition.

A Violation Of Pesach

The Gemara (Pesachim 28b-29a) discusses the prohibition of chametz on Pesach and states that not only is benefit from chametz prohibited; the mere possession of chametz places one in violation of “bal yera’eh” – lit., it shall not be seen. The halacha follows Rava (ad loc.) that chametz that remained in a Jew’s possession during Pesach is forbidden for benefit, even after Pesach, due to a rabbinically-imposed penalty.

‘Here Is Yours’

Our mishnah (Bava Kamma 96b) states this if a person steals chametz prior to Pesach and keeps it in his possession until after Pesach (rendering it forbidden for benefit), he may return the chametz to its owner after the festival, declaring, “Here is that which I stole from you.”

Even though the chametz has undergone a change in status after the robbery – it became forbidden for benefit – the change is not considered physical, but rather halachic, which is not discernible.

Forbidden To Whom?

The Ramban (Novella to Pesachim 32b – see also Pri Chadash, Orach Chayim 448:3) proves from our mishnah that the sages forbade chametz she’avar alav haPesach not only to its owner but to all Jews. He points out that in the case of a thief who stole chametz prior to Pesach (and did not destroy it at the prescribed time) the owner did not violate bal yera’eh, yet the mishnah refers to it as chametz she’avar alav haPesach.

Teshuvos HaRif, cited by Rabbenu Manoach (to the Rambam’s Hilchos Chametz U’Matzah 1:5), however, is of the novel opinion that the sages only forbade the owner any use of chametz she’avar alav haPesach. Others, however, may benefit from such chametz because they were not the subject of the penalty.

We might add, by way of explanation, that this position is the only one that appears to make sense. Otherwise, what value does original owner get by receiving the chametz? Should the return of something that is now deemed worthless be considered proper restitution?

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-249/2016/09/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: