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Bava Basra, 16

BAVA BASRA 16 (23 Nisan) - dedicated by Mr. Avy Reichman of Queens, NY, l'Iluy Nishmas his father, Dovid ben Avraham, on the day of his Yahrzeit.


QUESTION: Rava expounded the verse, "The blessing of the despondent one shall come upon me, and the heart of the widow I shall make rejoice" (Iyov 29:13). "The blessing of the despondent one shall come upon me" teaches that Iyov would steal a field from orphans, work it and improve it, and then return it to them.

How could Iyov do such a thing? The Gemara in Bava Metzia (61b) states clearly that it is forbidden to steal something even with intention to return it, and even with intention to return *double* the value of the object. How, then, can the Gemara here *praise* Iyov for doing such a thing? (YAD RAMAH, ME'IRI, TORAS CHAIM, KOVETZ SHI'URIM)


(a) The YAD RAMAH writes that Rava agrees with the view earlier (15b) that maintains that Iyov was not Jewish (see also TOSFOS 15b, DH b'Ferush). Only a Jew is prohibited from stealing with intention to return the stolen object (for that prohibition is based on an extra word in the verse, as the Gemara in Bava Metzia teaches). A Nochri is permitted to steal in order to return double the value of what he stole, and, on the contrary, it is even praiseworthy.

(b) The ME'IRI writes that it was clear to all who saw what Iyov did that his intentions were for the benefit of the orphans; Iyov indeed had no intention to steal their land. The Gemara uses the word "Gozel" merely to emphasize the extent to which Iyov cared for poor orphan's (i.e. that had he been permitted to do so, he even would have stolen their land in order to improve its value for them).

(c) The PNEI SHLOMO answers based on the words of the RAMBAM who writes that the reason why it is prohibited to steal with intention to return double the value of the stolen object is in order to prevent a person from becoming accustomed to stealing. This, however, applies only to *Geneivah*, stealing clandestinely. Since nobody knows that the person is stealing, he will become accustomed to doing it. *Gezeilah*, or openly robbing, on the other hand, is permitted when one intends to return double the value, since the victims or other onlookers see clearly who is robbing them, and the person will not become accustomed to doing this.

The KOVETZ SHI'URIM also differentiates between Geneivah and Gezeilah. He cites the words of Tosfos in Bava Kama (11a, DH Ein Shamin) who says in the name of the Yerushalmi that two verses are necessary to teach that the principle of "Ein Shamin" applies both to Geneivah and to Gezeilah, and we cannot learn one from the other. We see from there that the Halachos that are stated with regard to one form of stealing, Geneivah or Gezeilah, do not necessarily apply to the other form of stealing. The verse cited in Bava Kama to teach that one may not steal with intention to return even double the value of the stolen object is written with regard to Geneivah. We have no source that the same prohibition applies to Gezeilah.

(d) RAV YAKOV KAMINETZKY zt'l (in EMES L'YAKOV) answers that since land cannot be stolen ("Karka Einah Nigzeles"), and a Kinyan of Geneivah or Gezeilah cannot take effect, the prohibition against stealing with intention to return double does not apply.

(RAV CHAIM KARELENSTEIN zt'l adds that this answer depends on a Machlokes Rishonim. Some Rishonim maintain that "Karka Einah Nigzeles" means that there is not even an Isur (d'Oraisa) to steal land (TOSFOS, Bava Metzia 61a, DH Ela Lav, and PNEI YEHOSHUA there). Others maintain that even though "Karka Einah Nigzeles," there still is an Isur to steal land, but the laws of Gezeilah do not apply (RAMBAM, Hilchos Geneivah 7).)

(e) RAV CHAIM KARELENSTEIN zt'l answers further based on the words of the RITVA (5a, DH Runya). The Ritva there writes that when one steals with intention to repay but intends to benefit the Nigzal and *not* to cause him distress, then it is permitted. (I. Alsheich)

QUESTION: The Gemara derives from the verse, "I now know that you are a woman of fine appearance" (Bereishis 12:11), that until that point Avraham Avinu had never looked at his wife.

The MAHARSHA asks how could it be that Avraham never looked at his wife? The Gemara in Kidushin (41a) teaches that it is prohibited for a man to marry a woman before he sees her, lest he find something unbecoming in her. We know that Avraham Avinu fulfilled even rabbinical enactments (Yoma 28b). How, then, could he have married Sarah without looking at her?


(a) The MAHARSHA answers that Avraham certainly saw Sarah in her youth, before he married her. *After* he married her, though, he never looked at her, due to her greatness in the attribute of Tzeni'us. He looked at her now, after more than sixty years of marriage, because he thought that she no longer had the same degree of beauty that she had in her youth. He saw, though, that she indeed was as beautiful now as she was in her youth.

(b) The Maharsha answers further that Avraham Avinu did not fulfill all of the dictates of the Torah and the Rabanan until *after* he had performed Bris Milah (as the Maharsha proves elsewhere). Since he married Sarah before he performed Bris Milah, he chose not to fulfill the rabbinical requirement of looking at a woman before marrying her.

(c) RAV CHAIM KARELENSTEIN zt'l answers based on the well-known view of the RAMBAN (to Bereishis 26:5) that the Avos fulfilled all of the Mitzvos only when they were in Eretz Yisrael. Accordingly, Avraham did not have to look at Sarah before he married her, since he had not yet come to Eretz Yisrael.

(d) Others answer (see SEFER MAR'EI MEKOMOS) that the Gemara in Kidushin says that the reason why one must look at his prospective bride before marrying her is so that later he will not see something unbecoming in her and be disgusted by her. Avraham, though, intended *never* to look at his wife, and therefore he would never see anything unbecoming in her. Therefore, he had no need to look at her before marrying her.

However, HE'OROS B'MASECHES KIDUSHIN (Rav Elyashiv shlit'a) rejects this answer for two reasons. First, we see that in the end Avraham indeed looked at his wife. He should have taken into account, at the time that he married her, that such a need to look at her might some day arise. Second, it is logical that with such a rabbinical enactment, we apply the principle of "Lo Plug" and require that *every* man look at his prospective bride before marrying her. (I. Alsheich)


OPINIONS: The Gemara relates that when a daughter was born to Rebbi Shimon bar'Rebbi, he was distressed. His father comforted him by pointing out that with the birth of a daughter, propagation ("Reviyah") comes into the world. In what way does "Reviyah" come into the world more with the birth of a daughter than with the birth of a son?
(a) RASHI explains that "Reviyah" comes into the world more with the birth of a daughter becomes a female's reproductive system matures sooner than that of a male's (as the Gemara in Sanhedrin 69b implies).

(b) The MAHARSHA explains that the reason why there is more propagation in the world when there are more women is based on the Midrash (in Shemos Rabah) which the Maharsha cites in his commentary to Sotah (12a, DH Shalosh Gezeiros Gazar Par'oh). The Midrash says that Pharaoh's decree to kill all of the sons that were born to the Jews was not a wise decree, for it would not accomplish his purpose, because one man may marry a number of women and have children from all of them. One woman, though, cannot marry more than one man, and thus Pharaoh should have decreed that all of the girls be killed, and not all of the boys. We see from there that when there are more women in the world, there can be greater propagation. (I. Alsheich)

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