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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Daf’

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

Daf Yomi

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

The Lost Or Relinquished Kesubah
‘A Couple May Not Live Even One Moment Without A Kesubah’
(Bava Kamma 89a)


Upon marriage, a man is required to give his wife a kesubah (a marriage contract) obligating him to pay his wife a specific sum of money payable to her either upon his death or their divorce. Our sages (Kesuboth 10b) fixed the amount of this indebtedness as 200 zuz for a maiden and 100 zuz for a widow. Our Gemara explains that this sum will deter a person from divorcing his wife in haste.

The halacha follows R. Meir on our daf that it is forbidden for a man to live with his wife if she does not have a kesubah in her possession. This prohibition applies even if the wife forgoes her husband’s kesubah obligation (e.g., she is an independently wealthy woman).


Watch Out

The Mishnah (87a) states that it is a misfortune for one to be injured by a married woman because the aggrieved party is unable to collect timely payment. He must wait until she is either widowed or divorced and then collect the damages from the proceeds of her kesubah.


When He’s The Victim

The Gemara (89b) cites a tosefta (Bava Kamma 9:8), which states that if the injured party is her husband, he, too, can only collect if the marriage ends in divorce. If the damages do not exceed the amount owed to her in the kesubah, he may withhold that sum from the kesubah obligation as his recompense.



The Meiri (ad loc.) cites authorities who maintain that if a woman injured her own husband, resulting in 200 zuz worth of damage (or 100 zuz if that is the value of her kesubah), they are no longer allowed to remain together. The reasoning of these authorities is that since the husband may keep the money of the kesubah, the kesubah’s deterrent value against divorce in haste is no longer in effect.


Not So Simple

The Meiri (ad loc.) cites other authorities who disagree. They maintain that 1) since he can only collect his damages in the event they divorce and 2) since beis din will first obligate him to pay the kesubah before ruling on her obligation to him, he will always question whether he will receive a favorable ruling and receive his money. This doubt will serve as a sufficient deterrent for him not to divorce her in haste.


Rabbenu Gershom’s Stringency Serves As A Leniency

The Rema (Even HaEzer 66:3) says we are lenient in this matter nowadays because of the cherem (ban) of Rabbeinu Gershom forbidding a man from divorcing his wife against her will. Thus, even if the kesubah is lost, the couple may remain together. Nevertheless, he writes that since the custom is to rewrite the kesubah, we demand that this be done without delay, even nowadays.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

A Dog’s Life
‘Raising Dogs Is Like Raising Pigs’
(Bava Kamma 83a)


Our daf discusses raising dogs. R. Eliezer Ha’Gadol considers this activity the equivalent of raising pigs, which is contrary to halacha and a Jewish lifestyle. The Gemara questions his stringency and suggests that R. Eliezer Ha’Gadol maintains that although raising dogs is normally prohibited, a person may raise them (under certain condition, e.g., securing the dog on a leash during the day) if he lives near a dangerous border.

Is It A Mitzvah To Feed Dogs?

The Gemara (Temura 30b-31a) states that one may not redeem a sacrifice that became trefah (and is thus unfit to be offered or eaten) by paying its worth to hekdesh and then feeding its meat to dogs. It should be burned instead. The assumption that one would feed this meat to dogs is either because one usually gives discarded meat to dogs or because the Torah says “…and meat in the field, trefah, you shall not eat; you shall throw it to the dog” (Shemos 22:30). The Mechilta states: “The verse teaches you that Hashem does not withhold any creature’s reward, as we are told: ‘… and to all the children of Israel [in Egypt] a dog did not bark.” Hashem said, ‘Give him his reward.’” In reward for their silence, the dogs are fed trefah meat.

A search of the Mishneh Torah, Tur and Shulchan Aruch, however, yields no mention of a mitzvah to feed trefah meat to dogs. In fact, the Rema states (Yoreh Deah 117:4) that it is permitted to sell trefah and nevelah meat to gentiles. The author of Minchas Chinuch remarks (mitzvah 73) that the Rishonim and Acharonim do not mention the mitzvah to feed trefah meat to dogs, nor do those who enumerated the mitzvos. Tosafos (Yoma 36b, s.v. “Lav d’nevelah...”), though, is obviously of the opinion that “you shall throw it to a dog” is a commandment. Thus, one who fails to do so is ignoring a mitzvah!


An Ill Person Should Eat The Nevelah

The author of Divrei Emes tends to follow Tosafos’s opinion and therefore introduces an amazing chiddush: A Jew who is so seriously ill that his life is in danger should eat nevelah meat before trefah meat (if no other meat is available and eating meat is vital for his recovery). Why? Because if he eats the trefah meat, he is ignoring the positive mitzvah of feeding trefah meat to dogs (see Responsa Beis Yitzchak, Orach Chayyim, 95:3).

In Pirkei Avos (Avos 2:1), the Sages state, “Consider the loss of a mitzvah against its reward.” Even if a person suffers a loss by feeding his meat to a dog, he should remember that he is performing a mitzvah with a great reward. This mitzvah, however, only applies to cheap meat (as indicated by Tosafos, Avodah Zarah 20a, s.v. “Rabbi Meir”) and if the loss is slight. If, however, one can easily sell the meat to gentiles, one is not required to feed it to dogs (see Machatzis HaShekel, 498:8, which states that only in earlier times, in the land of Israel, where few gentiles were found, was it considered a mitzvah to give trefah meat to dogs).

Feeding A Stray On Shabbos

It is interesting to note the following statement of the Meiri (Shabbos 19a): On Shabbos it is forbidden to feed animals unless we must do so, e.g., they belong to us. Obviously what is meant are domestic animals that are totally dependent on humans for their sustenance. The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayyim 324:7; see Mishnah Berurah, s.k. 31, for dissenting views) maintains that dogs are different – that a person may even feed a dog that does not belong to him “since it is a mitzvah to feed it.” The Meiri states that although there’s no positive mitzvah to feed a dog, the Torah teaches us general modes of behavior, which includes the proper care of dogs.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Unkosher Tefillin From A Kosher Animal
‘Shechitah Does Not Make The Meat Permissible’
(Bava Kamma 76b)


A bechor of a behemah tehorah owned by a Jew may not be slaughtered and eaten. When the Beth Hamikdash stood, it was sacrificed on the altar. Today it is not slaughtered, but it is also not permitted for consumption. It is only permitted if it has a birth defect or became maimed subsequent to its birth in a manner that would render it unfit for use as a sacrifice.

Biblically, one may derive benefit from a bechor even if it was intentionally maimed (see Shach, Yoreh Deah 313:2). The Sages, however, penalized an owner who maimed a bechor intentionally, not allowing him to benefit from it (Yoreh Deah, ibid., 1). The Sages also ruled that even a bechor with an obvious defect, such as a severed foot or a blind eye, should not be slaughtered unless three scholars who are conversant with the halachos of mummim rule that it no longer retains its original sanctity.

If the animal was slaughtered without its owner first obtaining the permission of mummim, our Sages imposed a penalty, forbidding him from benefiting from it (Yoreh Deah 310:1). Thus, this animal may not be benefited from according to biblical law (because it was slaughtered outside the Beth Hamikdash) and rabbinic law (because the Sages decreed that even a maimed bechor must be checked by a chacham before being slaughtered).

Short Supply

These halachos are particularly relevant today because based on a halacha leMoshe misinai, tefillin batim and straps may only be produced from the hide of a ritually pure animal (Orach Chayim 32:37). The supply of ritually pure hides from slaughterhouses in Eretz Yisrael that are careful not to slaughter bechorim, however, falls short of the demand. Poskim therefore have been asked whether one can use hides that might have come from bechorim for tefillin.

Rabbi Yosef Efrati, chairman of the beth medrash at the Institute for Agricultural Research According to Halacha, notes the severity of the problem: since cows give birth to an average of 3.3 calves, more than one-sixth of slaughtered animals, taking into account the male-female distribution, are bechorim.

Safek Bechor

Some poskim suggest permitting the use of hides from a safek bechor based on Tosafos (Bava Kamma 76a) (s.v. shechitah she’einah) who states that an animal slaughtered outside the Beth Hamikdash is unlike other pesulim in that it is no longer considered a korban. Therefore, the animal should lose its sanctity. It’s true that there still is a rabbinical prohibition against benefiting from it, but since it may no longer be a bechor now, there might be room for leniency based on the rule of safek d’rabannan lekula. Most poskim, though, do not permit relying on this reasoning (see Sdei Chemed VI, Ma’areches Bechor Beheimah, siman kattan 5; Responsa Meishiv Davar 74 Ve’ad).

Some poskim suggest we may use hides that might have come from a bechor because a law in Eretz Yisrael requires that every head of cattle must have a serial number hanging from a hole in its ear. In other words, there are no unblemished bechorim today. However, this heter might be inadequate since according to a halachic deliberation (which is outside the scope of this article), a small hole is not enough to render an animal unfit for sacrifice (Responsa Minchas Yitzchok 9:107).

A Solution

The Institute for Agricultural Research According to Halacha, which is supported by leading poskim, is working to reduce this problem as much as possible. Representatives of the Institute contact as many cattlemen as possible and try to convince them to sign a document that transfers to non-Jews ownership of the windpipe and esophagus of their animals that have not yet given birth (see Yoreh De’ah 320:6). These “bechorim” then will possess no kedushah since they belong to non-Jews.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Suffer The Thief

‘One Stole And Another Stole It From Him …’

(Bava Kamma 68a)


The baraisa on our daf states that a person who steals a stolen object from a thief must only pay keren (the object’s worth), not kefel (the penalty). Rashi (s.v. “vesheni eino meshalem ela keren”) cites the Gemara (infra 69b), which derives this halacha from Shemos 22:6: “ve’gunav me’beis ha’ish – and it was stolen from the man’s house.” Only if the item is stolen “from the man’s house” must the thief pay kefel. If it is stolen from another thief’s house, the thief is exempt from the penalty.

Defining A Thief

The Ketzos Hachoshen (34:3) explains that theft means removing an object from its legal owner’s domain. Thus, stealing an object from someone to whom it does not belong is not theft. Therefore, the Ketzos Hachoshen argues, not only does the “thief” not pay kefel, he is not even legally classified as a thief and, as such, is not disqualified (as thieves are) from serving as a witness in beis din. Furthermore, if the stolen object was accidentally damaged while in his possession, he is not held responsible.

The Ohr Same’ach (Hilchos Geneiva 3:2) disagrees. He maintains that although this person need not pay kefel, he is legally a thief and is held responsible if the item is damaged while in his possession.

To Whom

While, at first glance, it would seem that our baraisa, which requires the second thief to pay the principal, accords with the position of the Ohr Same’ach, Rashi (s.v. “ve’lo teima”) interprets the baraisa differently. He writes that if the original owner despaired of recovering the stolen object, the second thief must pay the principal to the first thief.

The Victim

Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman (Kovetz Shiurim os 17) explains that since the first thief must return the object he stole to its owner, the second thief caused the first thief a loss by stealing it from him. And that is why the second thief must pay – not because of any obligation to the original owner but because he caused a loss to the first thief.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-245/2016/08/04/

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