Thursday, January 12, 2017

"Adir Apam" and other thoughts on Vaychi

Now this is an interesting variant:

The Samaritans, troubled by the curse to Shimon and Levi among the "blessings" of Yaakov at the end of his life, take away the curse. Our Masoretic text has:
אָרוּר אַפָּם כִּי עָז, וְעֶבְרָתָם כִּי קָשָׁתָה; אֲחַלְּקֵם בְּיַעֲקֹב, וַאֲפִיצֵם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל. {פ}
"Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel; I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. "

The Samaritans change arur ("cursed") to adir ("mighty"), by changing the resh to the similarly written daled. And they change 'evrasam ("their wrath") to chevrasam ("their partnership"), which is a switch of one guttural letter for another. By dividing them and scattering them, he prevents their chevra.

Note that it isn't introduced as a blessing. Only at the end (Bereishis 49:28) does it state:

כָּל-אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר; וְזֹאת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר לָהֶם אֲבִיהֶם, וַיְבָרֶךְ אוֹתָם--אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כְּבִרְכָתוֹ, בֵּרַךְ אֹתָם.

BRK also carries the connotation of farewell and greeting (compare with the meeting with Pharaoh), rather than just blessing. But I do think the import of pasuk 28 is to say that he blessed them, and that this is the same as what he said to them, above.

See here (you would need to install the djvu extension):

Also, the following thoughts on parshas Vayechi:

1) If Yaakov is indeed bowing down to Yosef (Bereishis 47:31), then it isn't subserviance but an expression of gratitude.
2) Alternatively, this is a fulfillment of Yosef's dream, of which Yaakov had said (Bereishis 37:10) "Shall your mother and I and your brothers bow down to you?"
3) However, I don't think that Yaakov is bowing here at all. There is an
intended contrast between the end of this pasuk:
וַיֹּאמֶר, הִשָּׁבְעָה לִי--וַיִּשָּׁבַע, לוֹ; וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַל-רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה.
and two pesukim later (Bereishis 48:2):
וַיַּגֵּד לְיַעֲקֹב--וַיֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה בִּנְךָ יוֹסֵף בָּא אֵלֶיךָ; וַיִּתְחַזֵּק, יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיֵּשֶׁב, עַל-הַמִּטָּה.
Namely, we should redraw the pasuk division lines in our pasuk. (47:21) Yisrael's **laying prostrate** in bed has nothing to do with Yosef's oath. It happened later, and this is indicated that he is weak and sick. And (48:1) Yosef is informed of his father's illness and comes. And (48:2) Yisrael hears that Yosef has come and strengthens himself, and is able to sit up in bed.
4) I forget if it was Ibn Caspi or Shadal, that the whole purpose of the Torah mentioning the rape of Dinah was so that we would understand the reference in Vaychi in Yaakov's message to Shimon and Levi.
5) There is a hidden criticism of Yehuda for the incident with Tamar, just as Shimon and Levi are criticized, and just as what was done to Yosef was criticized.
לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה, וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו, עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה, וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים.
Recall what Yehuda gave as tokens to Tamar as the wages of prostitution. Staff, cord, and engraved seal (signet). They shall not leave Yehuda. Except for that which is between his legs. Why? Because he said "until Shelah shall come," that is, kept postponing Shelah's levirate marriage to Tamar. The word Shiloh is spelled (has a ksiv) with a heh at the end, such that it reads Shelah.

Bava Metzia 108: The special derasha on ve'asisa hayashar

1) Amud Aleph:
הרדעי אמרי אפילו משום דינא דבר מצרא מסלקינן ליה משום שנאמר (דברים ו, יח) ועשית הישר והטוב בעיני ה

Is this just an idea of being nice? This is understood to be a Rabbinic enactment, guided by that principle, so that they will (according to the Nehardeans) even eject the interloper from his purchased property, such that he would have to give it to the abutting neighbor (with recompense). Or that when he buys it, he is acting as an (unwilling) agent for the abutting neighbor.

I would suggest that it is not the **standard** interpretation of ve'asisa hayashar vehatov, that is, introducing the idea of lifnim meshuras hadin. If so, it is difficult to say that lifnim mishuras hadin is being established as din, that we chase him off his purchased property.

I would suggest that this is rather a derasha on hayashar vehatov. The pasuk in full is:

וְעָשִׂיתָ הַיָּשָׁר וְהַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵי ה לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ וּבָאתָ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע ה לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ.

So it is related to inheriting the land. And hayashar doesn't just mean what is righteous. It literally means "you shall do straight and good". In the context of bar metzra, contiguous land is literally straight and good. So we have a *Biblically* established principle of making land good by being contiguous. And that is enough to chase off the interloper.

2) Don't miss out on the long Rashi on amud beis:

שכיני העיר ושכיני השדה שכיני העיר קודמין - נראה בעיני דלאו בדינא דבר מצרא איירי אלא להשיא עצה דרך ישר וטוב למוכר שאם יש לו שדה למכור ובאו עליה ללוקח שכינים הדרים אצלו בדירה ושכן שיש לו בשדה ששדותיהן סמוכות זו לזו וזו שיש לו למכור אינה סמוכה למצרן שכיני העיר קודמין ואני לא דקדקתי בה מפי רבינו כל צרכי ועד הנה פירשתי דבמצרן דיליה קאמר והשתא לא נראה לי דאם כן הוה ליה למיתנינהו בהדי הנך דלעיל ולמימר הכי לאשה וליתמי ולשותפי ולשכיני העיר ולת"ח לית בה משום דינא דבר מצרא מאי שנא דשני בלישנא דכולי שמעתא למינקט לישנא דקודמין ותו דקאמר שכן ותלמיד חכם ת"ח קודם אי האי שכן מצרן הוא אמאי ת"ח קודם תלמיד חכם לאו בר ועשית הישר והטוב הוא דהאי ועשית אלוקח שדיוה רבנן כדאמרינן לעיל גבי זבין לעכו"ם עכו"ם לאו בר ועשית כו' ותו קרוב ותלמיד חכם מאי דינא דבר מצרא איכא וא"ת כששניהן מצרנין אטו משום דת"ח הוא משלח גלימא דאינשי:

He basically says that, despite the words שכיני השדה, we are not speaking of an abutting neighbor (bar metzra), but of a neighbor in town vs. a neighbor of a different field of his, located elsewhere. Tosafot meanwhile makes this a case of bar metzra, but both the town person and the field person are abutting neighbors.

What is interesting about this Rashi is: ואני לא דקדקתי בה מפי רבינו כל צרכי ועד הנה פירשתי 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bava Metzia 107b: "Be chopped, and then they shall chop"

Daf Yomi, 
1) One thing that pas shacharis accomplishes is:
והורגת כינה שבבני מעים
Though the following pasuk only appears later in the text about pas shacharis, I would suggest the source for this is:
וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּבֵרַךְ אֶת לַחְמְךָ וְאֶת מֵימֶיךָ וַהֲסִרֹתִי מַחֲלָה מִקִּרְבֶּךָ.
with mikirbecha means from within your innards.

א"ל רבה לרבא בר מרי מנא הא מילתא דאמרי אינשי שיתין רהיטי רהוט ולא מטו לגברא דמצפרא כרך ואמרו רבנן השכם ואכול בקיץ מפני החמה ובחורף מפני הצינה א"ל דכתיב...
Interesting that the prooftext from the pasuk really only directly addresses the Rabbinic statement, rather than the popular saying about which the question was really asked.

3) Regarding this:
רב הונא הוה ליה ההוא אבא אגודא דנהרא אמרו ליה ניקוץ מר אמר להו קוצו עילאי ותתאי והדר ניקוץ אנא היכי עביד הכי והכתיב (צפניה ב, א) התקוששו וקשו ואמר ריש לקיש קשוט עצמך ואחר כך קשוט אחרים
I would suggest that, disregarding the follow-up citation of Resh Lakish, the derasha is hitkosheshu as in the mekoshesh etzim, gatherer of chopped wood, or else changing each of the sibilant shins to sibilant tzadis. Thus, be chopped and then they shall chop. Resh Lakish's interpretation is dragged along, as it appears with the pasuk in Tzefania in Sanhedrin 2:1, and "correct yourself" is applicable. But this might not be the intended derasha.
Kotzu to Hitkosheshu vaKoshu,
הִתְקוֹשְׁשׁוּ, וָקוֹשּׁוּ
is just too tempting, to say that this isn't Chazal's derasha.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Seventy souls

In Vayigash (Bereishis 46), we are told that Yaakov went down to Egypt with seventy souls, and they are enumerated. The count equals 69, and there are various answers, such as that we are counting Yosef, who also came to Egypt earlier and came from Yaakov's loins; or that we are counting Yaakov himself; or that we are counting Hashem; or that Yocheved was born between the walls; or that 69 is essentially the same as 70, and that is the way Scripture speaks. There is also the irregularity that we have only Dinah bat Yaakov and Serach bat Asher listed for the women; is it really plausible that these were the only daughters, especially when elsewhere (Bereishis 37:35) we have reference to Yaakov's daughters, in the plural?
We can answer, perhaps, by considering the purpose of mentioning the seventy souls. In Torah, it serves two purposes. First, to show how far Yaakov has become. They start out as a small family, in the time of Avraham and Yitzchak, and now, when coming down to Egypt, they are an entire clan. That is the point in Vayigash as well as in parshas Shemos (perek 1) when, again, the figure of seventy souls is mentioned. The second purpose, to provide contrast of small clan to a nation. In Devarim 10:22, Moshe says that with (merely) seventy souls you have come down to Egypt and now Hashem has made you multitudinous like the stars of the heavens.
If we consider this seventy souls canonical and the main point, then the specifics of who the seventy souls are is not so important. And it can be idiomatic, or even excluding all the daughters and sisters. But in the thread of the Torah in which genealogy is important (call it P if you want), especially to set the stage for the next stage of Jewish history, then we want to spell out those seventy. And so, by pulling from genealogical lists found elsewhere in Torah, the Author puts together a list of mentioned personalities who can make up those 70. And we know of Dinah because of the incident with Shechem, and we know of Serach from Bemidbar 26. We *apparently* don't want to include Er and Onan, because even though they came from Yaakov's loins, they did not descend to Egypt. But maybe they should be included instead of the two exceptional daughters.

Bava Metzia 100b-101 - Olive trees and clods of earth

1) The Mishna at the bottom of Bava Metzia 100b says that a seah produced only a reviit, presumably of oil. There are two ways to understand this. One is as Rashi explains it:

that the olives were not very juicy, so they weren’t able to extract much oil from them. So one seah of olive fruit produced one reviit of oil. Here are some rough calculations I made. Hopefully I have it right.

1 seah = 24 log = 96 reviis. So approx 1%

Typical yield for olive -> olive oil is 10%-30% on a dry weight basis.

So that means that these olives only produced 1/10th of the amount of oil they normally do.

Perhaps endorsing this read is the Mishna in Sheviis:
Mishna Sheviit 4:9:
זיתים משיכניסו רביעית לסאה. פוצע ואוכל בשדה. הכניסו חצי לוג כותש וסך בשדה. הכניסו שליש כותש בשדה וכונס לתוך ביתו. וכן כיוצא בהם בשאר שני שבוע חייבים במעשרות. ושאר כל פירות האילן כעונתן למעשרות כן עונתן לשביעית:
And see Rashi there. In Sheviis, it seems to be addressing different stages of olive growth. So at a quarter log to a seah you can break and eat them in the field. Once they produce half a log, you can crush and anoint yourself in the field. A third of their growth, you can crush in the field and take into your house.

The Meiri, in Meiri, Bet Habechira gives that same explanation, but also an alternative explanation that a seah is not how many olives you have but a measure of the size of the field, that is, a bet seah. Again, some rough calculations:

Bet Seah = 2500 square amos, 50 amot X 50 amot.
If 1 amah = 1.5 feet,
75 feet X 75 feet = 5,625 square feet.

An acre = 43,560 square feet. So bet seah = 1/7 of an acre. Others have defined it as about 1/5 of an acre.

An olive orchard produces about 1 to 9 tons of olives per acre. Further, usual to extract 40 gallons of olive oil per ton of olives. 40 gallons / 7 = 5.7 gallons for a bet seah. A gallon is 128 ounces, so 729.6 ounces. And if a reviis = 3.5 ounces, we are talking about 3.5 / 730 = 1/208, or 0.5%, of the normal yield for a bet seah.

That seems difficult.

Then again, we are dealing in the Mishna with olive trees being sold for their wood, so maybe they are very unproductive.

See also the Mishna in Bava Batra. Could we read rova instead of reviit, or revi’ (with a trailing apostrophe) as some Mishnayot have it:
Mishna Bava Basra:
דף קג,ב משנה  בית כור עפר אני מוכר לך מדה בחבל פיחת כל שהוא ינכה הותיר כל שהוא יחזיר ואם אמר הן חסר הן יתר אפילו פיחת רובע לסאה או הותיר רובע לסאה הגיעו יותר מכאן יעשה חשבון מה הוא מחזיר לו מעות ואם רצה מחזיר לו קרקע ולמה אמרו מחזיר לו מעות לייפות כחו של מוכר שאם שייר בשדה בית תשעה קבין ובגינה בית חצי קב וכדברי ר' עקיבא בית רובע מחזיר לו את הקרקע ולא את הרובע בלבד הוא מחזיר אלא את כל המותר:

2) In the gemara, Resh Lakish says that the olive trees transported to another field by a flood comes with the clods of earth surrounding them, and either (Ulla) that we are dealing after the first three years that they split or (Ravin) that we are dealing with the first three years that they split. Tosafot says that the reason for 3 is Orlah considerations. Rambam holds that even Orlah considerations aside, he wouldn’t get any aspect (half) of the oil even during the first three years because of lack of contribution. Even though the trees themselves should be considered a contribution, one would think.

In one of the two articles linked above, I found this:

So the earth itself is not so important. Water is more important. Though other growth surrounding it can undermine it.

Maybe we can say that the clods themselves would suffice to sustain the trees for those first three years or longer, and the other land is not really so important as much as water is important and the trees themselves as factories are important.

3) The parallel Yerushalmi is interesting:

דף לא, א פרק ח הלכה ה משנה  המוכר זיתיו לעצים ועשו פחות מרביעית לסאה הרי הן לבעל הזיתים עשו רביעית לסאה זה אומר זיתיו גידילו וזה אומר ארצי גידלה יחלוקו שטף הנהר את זיתיו ונתנן לתוך שדה חבירו זה אומר זיתיי גידילו וזה אומר ארצי גידילה יחלוקו:
דף לא, א פרק ח הלכה ה גמרא  ר' יוחנן בעי הרטיבו מה הן.  רב הונא אמר בששטפן בגושיהן ר' יוסי בן חנינא אומר שני ערלה ביניהן:

We would have expected Resh Lakish to surface here, since we have a statement from both Ulla and Ravin as to Resh Lakish’s position. Instead, we have a statement from a Babylonian Amora, Rav Huna.

Note also that the statement in Yerushalmi is just begusheihen, and no mention of within 3 or out of three. Bring the orlah aspect of it is Rabbi Yossi ben Chanina, who is a student / colleague of Rabbi Yochanan.  So maybe what happened is Resh Lakish taught something explicitly similar to Rav Huna, and there were two ways of understanding it, as it relates to orlah. And so Ulla and Ravin both came with an expansion of the original statement, and our gemara is coming to determine which works out better.

4) The arguments put forth by the various parties are entirely the setama degemara. You can see the distinction between the primary text of the Amoraic statement in Hebrew, which uses she to mean that, and the Aramaic arguments, which use de to mean that.

Interesting about the plantings underneath the tree. That would have undermined the growth, but then again, if it would have been orlah during those three years, then there would be no care about the growth. Someone this morning raised the point that, according to someone who grew up in Italy, olive trees don’t produce anything for the first X years. He thought it was five to seven, but a google search mentioned three.

Aside from what the competing claimants can advance, we could say that the concern is really what each party is really contributing, given that olive trees don’t need fertile ground and that they have been transported with their clods. Maybe we should not be so quick to reject Ulla’s account of Resh Lakish.

4) An interesting Tosafot at the bottom of 101a, d”h סברוה, about who exactly is being forced, and Rabbenu Chananel’s girsa.

5) The Mishna at the top of 101b is really being kvetched from its primary meaning. The simple meaning is that there are two cases - (a) rental in the rainy season and (b) rental in the sunny season. To kvetch it into a single can, and so reread the words as if it says “in the rainy season unless notice was given in the sunny season 30 days” is difficult.

It is made more difficult if we look at various manuscript Mishnayot which have a leading vav for the sunny season, that is, ובימות החמה שלשים יום.

I don’t like the gemara’s rejection. The concern is that one cannot readily find a new rental in the rainy season. So you object that, in the sefa, the 12 month period in the big city will expire in the middle of the rainy season?! The ready answer to that is that since he has prior notice, he can plan in advance and then have a house to move into even in the middle of the rainy season. Indeed, the thirty days, just like the 12 months, are talking about giving notice prior to eviction. But once you enter into the rainy season itself, for the duration of the rainy season (that is, from Succot until Pesach) notice doesn’t help, because all the rental properties have been grabbed.

We see that Rav Assi reads it similarly, that there are two clauses, and that even one day into the rainy season, now that it has commenced, he cannot be evicted. The gemara has a problem with Rav Assi and rereads, that is kvetches, his words, to accord with the kvetch of the Mishna.

6) In the story of the man with the boatload of wine, see the Rif, who has a slightly different version of the story. The Rif has the woman explicitly ask that the man marry her if he wants to store his wine in her property.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Bava Metzia 98 - Rav Yehudai Gaon's contribution

Bava Metzia 98

כדרבא  דאמר רבא מנה לי בידך והלה אומר אין לך בידי אלא חמשים והשאר איני יודע מתוך שאינו יכול לישבע משלם

See Tosafos.
דאמר רבא מנה לי בידך כו'. פי' ר"ח דדברי רבא בהאי לישנא לא מצינו עיקרה בגמ' ומיהו קבלנו מרבותינו דעיקרה בפרק כל הנשבעין (שבועות דף מז.) דאמר רבא כוותיה דרבי אבא מסתברא מתוך שאינו יכול לישבע משלם:

Generally, when you have a statement in the gemara, "in accordance with X, as X says", and then the statement, this is NOT the home location of the statement. It is the setama degemara looking at another sugya where named Amoraim are conversing, and pulling out a specific position. It is always good to know the home, primary location of a statement and the foreign locations where the statement is used. And here, there does not seem to be any such home location for the statement. Except Tosafot has a tradition / explanation for what that location is.

דאמר רבא מנה לי בידך והלה אומר אין לך בידי אלא חמשים והשאר איני יודע מתוך שאינו יכול לישבע משלם משכחת לה

According to a note in my Talmud Bavli Hashalem veHamefoar (Mahadurat Freidman), there are some old manuscripts that have the word "peirush" before the words משכחת לה. And that the Ritva and Ramban note that this section until the seifa is from Rav Yehudai Gaon.

That is, it is post-Talmudic. And that Rav Yehudai put this in as a commentary, and it was copied / adopted into the standard text of the gemara.

Possible repercussion - can you (or can a Rishon, if you want) argue with this **Geonic** text, which is well post-Ravina / Rav Ashi / Savoraim?

This gemara in general seems to be quite far-fetched in its situational setup. There is a much Tosafot to Talmud ratio, and thus very little daf. This is often indicative of a difficult gemara.

3) See Tosafot on amud bet, d"h, שאלה בבעלים שכרה, and the discussion of what Rashi's girsa was.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bava Metzia 93: Mostly dead

Three thoughts on this daf:


אפילו תימא ר' יאשיה לחלק הכא לא צריך מ"ט סברא הוא מה לי קטלה כולה מה לי קטלה פלגא

What is this half-killing and whole killing? The standard explanation is as Rashi writes.

סברא הוא - דנשבר בלא מת נמי מחייב דהוה ליה קטלה פלגא:

That is, that a break in the animal, which is considered half-killed, he should also be liable for, for half-killed is like whole-killed.

My issue with this is that a broken leg is not half-killed. It is damaged. It is so obvious that there should be no distinction between (what we are really saying) full and half damage?

I would suggest that whole killed is the broken + died. That animal is really really dead. And half-killed is where it died without first sustaining an injury which broke it. The sevara is then this: are you truly going to say that it needs to be both broken and dead for him to pay, but simply dead with no break, he would be exempt? That would be ridiculous. And once we have dead alone for liability, if broken is mentioned, it is also a separate case for liability. Therefore, we don't need an או to divide, since even with a ו, we would know that we are dealing with separate cases.

2) The sometimes forced-seeming derashot aside, how can we read the pesukim on a peshat-like level to arrive at this conclusion, that even by other shomrim, if the owner is hired/borrowed with the onset of the animal, he is exempt?

The two pesukim were:
וְכִי יִשְׁאַל אִישׁ מֵעִם רֵעֵהוּ וְנִשְׁבַּר אוֹ מֵת בְּעָלָיו אֵין עִמּוֹ שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם.
אִם בְּעָלָיו עִמּוֹ לֹא יְשַׁלֵּם אִם שָׂכִיר הוּא בָּא בִּשְׂכָרוֹ.

The first pasuk speaks of the borrower, and comes to teach that unlike the watchmen of previous pesukim, he is liable for ones. So long as there is not this overriding be'alav imo, which would exempt him.

The second pasuk does not explicitly say he is a borrower. It lays out an exemption if the owner is there with the animal. So the question is how far this exemption of be'alav imo applies. Is it a mere exemption to the higher liability for ones? Or is it a trump card for everything, which was finally brought in here, because it is the (generally applying) exemption exception that sustains even now that we have made him liable for ones.

ת"ש שאלה ושאל בעליה עמה שכרה ושכר בעליה עמה שאלה ושכר בעליה עמה שכרה ושאל בעליה עמה אף על פי שהבעלים עושין מלאכה במקום אחר ומתה פטור

Renting the animal / owner isn't just an random example. I think there is a hidden derasha operating, about אִם שָׂכִיר הוּא בָּא בִּשְׂכָרוֹ

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Bava Metzia 94: Equivalence classes and Samaritan verses

מתני' מתנה שומר חנם להיות פטור משבועה והשואל להיות פטור מלשלם נושא שכר והשוכר להיות פטורין משבועה ומלשלם כל המתנה על מה שכתוב בתורה תנאו בטל וכל תנאי שיש מעשה בתחילתו תנאו בטל וכל שאפשר לו לקיימו בסופו והתנה עמו מתחילתו תנאו קיים:

In terms of the authorship of the Mishna at the top of 94a, the gemara was doing so well with attributing it to Rabbi Yehuda, only to veer off at the end and attribute it to Rabbi Meir (with a possibly far-reaching exception within the position of Rabbi Meir.) While the final objection, from the sefa of the sefa, is something that we need to come up with an answer for, it is much more convincing to say that this is Rabbi Yehuda. See also the Yerushalmi which concludes as a matter of course so, citing a brayta that allows masna al ma shekasuv baTorah for monetary stipulations, in general.

ושאני הכא דמעיקרא לא שעבד נפשיה
Indeed, this is a difference in kind. Marriage is marriage as defined by the Torah, carrying along all its benefits and obligations, monetarily or otherwise. If you want to buy into Biblical marriage, this is what it entails. But there are all sorts of monetary transactions or watchman obligations one could set up, and so one can set up a non-Biblical set of obligations…

פרק שמיני - השואל את הפרה
מתני' השואל ה"ג השואל את הפרה
An interesting Rashi establishing the correct girsa of the Mishna.

אם גנוב יגנב מעמו ישלם לבעליו
Throughout, the pasuk is quoted without the leading vav. So im instead of ve’im. This corresponds to the Samaritan text, rather that to the Masoretic text.

אם גנוב יגנב מעמו ישלם לבעליו

Derashos aside, the structure of the halachos makes logical sense and can be read, in peshat manner, into the pesuk. Afterwards, we can bring the midos shehaTorah nidreshes bahen to come to those conclusions within the framework of midrash halacha.

The setup is that “stolen or lost” form an equivalence class. What happens to one happens to the other. We first encounter this by the unpaid watchman (first paragraph), who swears and is exempt. Stolen is most explicit there, but in the intervening verse (al kol devar pesha), if we don’t take this as an out-of-context interjection (eruv parshiyos), mentions any loss (al kol aveida asher yomar ki hu zeh). So “stolen or lost” is an equivalence class.

When we reach the next tier, the paid watchman (second paragraph), we see that he pays for “stolen”, but only swears for the next level up, in the category of ones. So “lost” would come along as part of the equivalence class.

Meanwhile, the paid watchman swears and is exempt for a different equivalence class - dies of normal causes, broken, captured. So when we reach the next tier of borrower, and are told that he must pay for two members of that equivalence class, we understand that as a shorthand for every member of the class. The gemara sort of suggests this as a derivation, but it is pushed off, and we seek another derasha. Regardless, the structure of the halacha is as described above, even if the particular way of arriving at it via midrash halacha is different.
6) Dibra Torah
Tosafot note:
אלא למאן דאמר דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם כו'. אע"ג דלדידיה דרשינן בכל מקום לבד מהיכא דלא מיסתבר כדפי' בפ"ב (לעיל דף לא: ד"ה דברה) ה"נ לא מסתבר לרבות אבידה כיון דכתיב בלשון גניבה ואית לן למימר דברה תורה כלשון בני אדם:

That is, elsewhere, earlier in the masechta, we saw that even the one who says dibra Torah such that we don’t make a derasha will still make the derasha if needed and it is mistabar. So Tosafot explains how here it must not be mistaber, because the language of geneiva is not the same as loss. I would say it is mistaber since it was part of the same group for an oath to exempt by shomer chinam.

In truth, it is that other gemara earlier in Bava Metzia which is somewhat questionable, in attributing a bunch of duplicate language derashot to the side that says dibra Torah. Our local gemara does not strike me as problematic. It indeed may serve as a counterexample to the claims in that other gemara.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thoughts on Bava Metzia 93b

1) The Mishna has listim, with a yud mem sofit. Rashi writes to fix the girsa as without the yud, because it speaks of a single robber:

הלסטם - גרסינן וחד לסטם קאמר:

After all, the gemara speaks of one (watchman) opposing the one listim. One need not change the girsa to say this, because whether malei or chaser, it can mean a single robber. Here is Jastrow, discussing it as the Greek listes  (see more here), with the mem sofit coming mistakenly in place of the samech.

2) There is an interesting pattern in the Mishna of a general rule about one, about two, and then a Tanna dividing even further between the two. Not exactly like a machria, but it feels similar in tone.

 זאב אחד אינו אונס שני זאבים אונס רבי יהודה אומר בשעת משלחת זאבים אף זאב אחד אונס
One wolf vs. two wolves. With Rabbi Yehuda elaborating (arguing? or while coming from the side, in a way even the Tanna Kamma would agree?). At a side wolves are common, they are emboldened.

שני כלבים אינו אונס ידוע הבבלי אומר משום רבי מאיר מרוח אחת אינו אונס משתי רוחות אונס
Two mere dogs. Strip out any opposing named Tanna, and the setup here is two mere dogs as opposed to two the wolves of the reisha. Rabbi Meir argues or elaborates that there are times, in a coordinated attack, that the shepherd cannot fend them off.

הלסטים הרי זה אונס
If we look at the Tosefta, we see an elaboration. Firstly, that Tosefta uses ganav rather than listes. But it contrasts one ganav vs. two ganavim. With one, he can stand and oppose him. This is precisely the gemara's initial objection. It also clearly supports Rashi in claiming the Mishna speaks about only one.

In the Tosefta, it is Rabbi Yehuda again who elaborates / argues, and says that if it is an armed robber, even one.

This is exactly Rav's answer, in explaining the case of our Mishna. So the stam Mishna here is like Rabbi Yehuda, and endorsed by Rav.

מי אמרינן אוקי גברא להדי גברא או דלמא האי מסר נפשיה והאי לא מסר נפשיה 
מסתברא דהאי מסר נפשיה והאי לא מסר נפשיה 

Some kitvei yad, and also in some Rabbinic writings quoting the gemara, have a teku in place of  מסתברא דהאי מסר נפשיה והאי לא מסר נפשיה .


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