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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Daf’

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

Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

A Tale Of Two Cities
‘The Destructive Force Does Not Distinguish Between Good And Evil’
(Bava Kamma 60a)


In relation to the plague of makkas bechoros, the Torah states: “ve’atem lo tetze’u ish mipesach beiso ad boker – and, as for you, no man shall emerge from the doorway of his house until morning” (Shemos 12:22). R. Yosef explains that once the forces of destruction are empowered, they do not distinguish between the objects of their wrath – the wicked – and the righteous in their midst.

The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:1) Gemara, states, “One whose sins overwhelm his merits is judged as one who is wicked and is sentenced to death at the hand of Heaven. Similarly, if the collective total of the evil of a particular country’s inhabitants overwhelms their collective merits, the entire country is punished with destruction.”

Abraham’s Plea

The Torah (Bereishit 18:23-33) relates that when Abraham was informed of the impending destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he proceeded to intercede on their behalf. He appealed to Hashem, “If there be found righteous individuals in the city will You, Heaven forbid, destroy them along with the wicked? Won’t You, Hashem, spare the city on behalf of the righteous?” Hashem, however, informed him that there weren’t even 10 righteous individuals to warrant saving the cities.

Abraham’s Presumption

The Lechem Mishneh (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:1) wonders why Abraham expected Hashem to save these cities in light of the principle mentioned by the Rambam that everyone is punished in a wicked city, even the righteous. He answers that Abraham thought that prayer might arouse Hashem’s mercy and cause Him to spare the cities even though they rightfully deserved destruction.

Tzaddikim Gemurim

Citing Avodah Zarah 4a, the Brisker Rav (Imrei Chen al HaTorah – Parshat Vayera) suggests that there is a difference between ordinary righteous people and tzaddikim gemurim – those whose righteousness is extraordinary and who possess an impeccable record of no sin. While the former are punished along with their wicked neighbors, the latter are spared any punishment. Thus, Abraham was suggesting to Hashem that these cities might perhaps contain tzaddikim gemurim.

Divine Wrath

The Brisker Rav offers another explanation (Kisvei HaGriz, Parashas Vayera): There are different degrees of evil. There is ordinary evil, and there is evil that is so pervasive that it engenders charon af (divine wrath). Abraham was hoping to convince Hashem that the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah did reach the level that deserved His charon af.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Who Permitted Eating Turkey?
‘Geese And Wild Geese Are Forbidden Together’
(Bava Kamma 55a)


The Tzemach Tzedek (29) sought to prove from our daf that wild geese are kosher. If they weren’t, he said, why does the Gemara search for a difference between wild and domestic geese? Let it just state the most obvious difference – that one is kosher and one isn’t? Since the Gemara does not say this, apparently both species are kosher (see Chasam Sofer, Yoreh Deah 74, however, who refutes his proof).

The Signs Of A Kosher Bird

In principle, there are three signs that signify whether or not a bird is kosher. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 82:2) rules, “There are three signs of taharah: an extra finger, a crop, and a gizzard that can be peeled by hand.” Nonetheless, the custom is not to rely only on these signs to determine that a certain species of birds is kosher; we need a tradition handed down from our forefathers, as well (Rema, Yoreh Deah 82:3).

The Source For This Custom

Rashi (Chulin 62b s.v. chazyuha) writes that during Talmudic times, Jews ate a certain kind of bird, relying on the signs. When they later noticed that the bird clawed its food just like non-kosher birds, it became clear to them that they had conducted their analysis incorrectly. Ever since then, the accepted custom has been to eat only birds for which there is a tradition.

One Tradition Is Not Like The Next

Approximately 100 years ago, when a new species of geese from deep in the Russian interior was brought to Warsaw, the Avnei Nezer (Responsa Yoreh Deah 75) ruled that it should not be eaten. Although Jews who lived near the bird’s natural habitat had been eating it, a tradition is only considered reliable if it evolved in a place where talmidei chachamim lived.

Is There A Tradition To Eat Turkeys?

Turkey was brought to Europe from North America before the first Jewish communities were established there. Poskim point out that it is not clear how the custom of eating turkey spread, but since it did, they discuss whether the custom should be allowed to continue. The Netziv (Responsa Meishiv Davar 2:22) writes that although our custom is not to eat birds without a corroborating tradition, this custom applies only to newly-discovered species. Now that Jews almost universally eat turkey, we need not stop eating it for lack of an earlier tradition.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Staying Alive Underwater
‘She Has Already Ascended’
(Bava Kamma 50a)


Throughout the generations, amongst the most sensitive halachic questions have been those relating to agunos, women who are “chained,” unable to marry because their husbands have disappeared (while traveling, while fighting in war, etc.). What if a man was last seen falling into a body of water? How long must he be submerged for us to assume he drowned (and permit his wife to remarry)?

A Miracle

Our daf mentions a certain man named Nechunya, who was known as “the Ditch Digger” because he used to dig large, deep pits to collect rainwater so that pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem for the Festivals would have plenty of water to quench their thirst. Nechunya’s daughter once fell into one of these pits, and a crowd of people ran to R. Chanina ben Dosa to ask him to pray for her. The Gemara relates that during the “first hour” he said she was okay, during the “second hour” he said the same thing, but during the the “third hour,” he said, “She has already ascended [to heaven].” Too much time had passed for her to have remained alive in the water. In actual fact, she did survive, but that was obviously due to a miracle. Indeed, the girl later reported that an elderly man (Avraham Avinu himself, see Rashi, s.v. “vezakein”) came to her rescue.

Thus, this story seems to be clear evidence that a person can only be taken for dead if he is submerged underwater for three hours. The Rivash (Responsa 377) is of this opinion, and many Acharonim (Toras Emes 1, Eliyahu Rabbah 12) maintain that he bases his ruling on this story.


The Maharit (Responsa, Even HaEzer 26), though, points out that it is clearly impossible for a human being to remain alive for more than two hours undr water without oxygen. How, then, does one explain the story in the Gemara? The Maharit argues that “hour” – or “sha’ah” – in this story is not to be taken literaly. Rather, it means “time.” Thus, “first hour” really means “the first time,” “second hour” means “the second time,” etc.

Alternatively, the Maharit suggests that Nechunya’s daughter may not have actually been underwater; rather, she was clinging with all her might to stakes projecting from the sides of the pit.

How Long Is An Hour?

The Maharit quotes Tosafos (Sotah 11a, s.v. Miriam), who offers a proof that “sha’ah” does not always mean 1/24 of the day. The Mishnah (Sotah 9b) relates that Miriam anxiously awaited on the banks of the Nile for a sha’ah to see what would happen to her infant brother Moshe. The Tosefta (Sotah 4:1) states that the measure of Divine benefit is 500 times greater than the measure of Divine punishment. That means that a person’s reward for doing a good deed is 500 times greater than what is meted out for a single transgression. Thus, if Miriam waited one hour for Moshe, the Israelites should have waited 500 hours for her in the dessert. Yet, they only waited for her for a week, which amounts to 168 hours (Bamidbar 12:15). Clearly, then, “sha’ah” does not always means one hour.

Despite this proof and the Maharit’s opinion, Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Responsa, second edition, 47) argues that we should not disregard the Rivash’s opinion and we should only assume someone underwater is dead if he remains there for three hours.

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Daf Yomi

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Honoring A Father’s Wishes
He Shall Give It To Whom He Has Trespassed’
(Bava Kamma 40b)

R. Nathan rules that a creditor can collect payment for a loan from the debtor of his debtor based on the words (Bamidbar 5:7) “venassan la’asher asham lo – and he shall give it to him against whom he has trespassed.” Thus, if Shimon owes Reuven $100 and Levi owes Shimon $100, Reuven has can go directly to Levi for payment, bypassing Shimon (if Shimon, for example, doesn’t currently have the funds to repay the loan). This rule is known commonly as “Rabbi Nathan’s lien” (Shi’buda deRabbi Nathan).

This rule is based in part on Tehillim 37:21, as well, which states, “Loveh rasha ve’lo yeshalem – The wicked borrows but does not pay back.” Usually, a righteous individual does not want to be classified as a wicked person and wishes to repay whatever he owes. At times, however, his money may be tied up because of loans he has advanced to others, and he is unable to repay his own debt. He is happy, therefore, if his creditor goes to his debtors directly to collect.

A Note As An Asset

The Ran (Kethubbos 19a, cited by Aruch HaShulchan, Choshen Mishpat 86:2) questions the necessity of R. Nathan’s exposition of the law from “venassan la’asher asham lo.” Since Shimon owes money to Reuven, all of Shimon’s assets are applied to the repayment of his debts, including whatever is owed to Reuven. The loan note is obviously considered one of Shimon’s assets. Thus, if Reuven secures that note, he should be entitled to present it to Levi and demand payment.

A Mere Paper

The Ran (as well as the Rashba in his chiddushim at the end of Tractate Kiddushin) maintains that one cannot use a loan document as payment for a debt because the note has no intrinsic value. It is not considered either money or property; it has no value of its own. That is why R. Nathan used Bamidbar 5:7 to rule that Levi’s debt to Shimon is owed directly to Reuven.

Cash Or The Like

The Ketzos HaChoshen (86:1) points out that according to biblical law, only that which is in the debtor’s possession at the time a loan is made is subject to the lender’s lien. Thus, if Shimon borrowed money from Reuven after he lent money to Levi, Levi’s debt would not be subject to Reuven’s lien. Therefore, were it not for R. Nathan’s derivation, Reuven would not be able to collect his debt from Levi directly.

The Ketzos HaChoshen proposes another explanation as well. If Shimon offers to settle the debt by paying Reuven in cash, Reuven would not be entitled to refuse it and demand payment in real property from Levi (which might be more valuable) were it not for R. Nathan’s rule.

Forgive And Forget

The Ritva (Kesubbos 19a ad loc.) remarks that were it not for R. Nathan’s rule, Shimon would be able to waive Levi’s debt to him in spite of the fact that he himself is indebted to Reuven. (This, of course, would cause a loss to Reuven if he himself does not have the means to repay the loan.)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/daf-yomi-241/2016/07/07/

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