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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.
1) STEALING FROM THE POOR IN ORDER TO BENEFIT THEM
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.
2) AVRAHAM NEVER LOOKED AT HIS WIFE
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
(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)
3) THE BIRTH OF A DAUGHTER
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)