THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
Bava Basra, 122
BAVA BASRA 122 - This Daf has been dedicated by Rabbi Dr. Eli Turkel of
Ra'anana, Israel, to the memory of his father, Reb Yisrael Shimon ben Shlomo
ha'Levi Turkel (Yarhzeit: 10 Av).
1) THE DIVISION OF ERETZ YISRAEL
QUESTIONS: The Gemara states that the
original division of Eretz Yisrael, in the times of Yehoshua bin Nun, was
done with the augmentation of monetary payments. Rebbi Yehudah explains that
one Se'ah of land in the region of Yehudah was worth five Se'ah of land in
the region of Galil. Consequently, one who received his portion in Yehudah
was required to pay money one who received his portion in Galil to
compensate for the lower value of his portion.
The Gemara states that the advantage of receiving land of greater value
cannot be that one received land of high quality, and the other received
land of low quality, because certainly no one would agree to forego a land
of high quality as his family inheritance for all generations to come in
return for a mere one-time monetary payment. Rather, the Gemara explains,
the advantage of land in Yehudah over land in Galil is that Yehudah is
closer to the Beis ha'Mikdash. The RASHBAM (DH l'Krovah) explains that one
who received property near Yerushalayim was obligated to pay a monetary sum
to one who received his portion far from Yerushalayim.
The CHASAM SOFER (Teshuvos OC 29) questions the Rashbam's explanation.
(a) First, the Gemara is discussing the division of Eretz Yisrael at the
time of Yehoshua. At that time, the Mishkan was not in Yerushalayim, but
rather in Shilo, where it remained for 369 years (see Zevachim 118b)! The
identity of the future location of the permanent Beis ha'Mikdash would be
revealed hundreds of years after the division of the land, in the times of
David ha'Melech! What advantage, then, did Yerushalayim have over any other
city at that time? The Rashbam should have explained that one who received
property near *Shilo* was required to compensate one who received property
far from Shilo!
(b) Second, being near to Yerushalayim is not entirely advantageous. The
Gemara in Sotah (22a, see Insights here) cites a dispute between Rav and
Rebbi Yochanan with regard to whether it is better to live near a Beis
ha'Kneses or to live farther away. Rebbi Yochanan, who says that one should
live farther away from a Beis ha'Kneses, explains that one receives "Sechar
Pesi'os" as reward for walking a longer distance to get to the Beis
ha'Kneses. Accordingly, those living father away from Yerushalayim receive
more reward for walking the greater distance, and thus *they* should have to
pay those living *closer* as compensation!
(a) The CHASAM SOFER answers that, indeed, at the time of the division of
Eretz Yisrael, the Shevet which received land near Shilo needed to pay money
to the Shevet which received land far from Shilo. Later, though, when
Yerushalayim was revealed as the permanent place of the Beis ha'Mikdash, the
Shevet which received land near Yerushalayim needed to pay money to the
Shevet which received land far from Yerushalayim.
(b) The Chasam Sofer explains that the advantage (or disadvantage) in having
property near to Yerushalayim was not in that the distance in traveling to
the city is shorter. Rather, the advantage is that a place closer to
Yerushalayim is a more *important* place due to its proximity to the city.
Since a place closer to Yerushalayim is more important, those living there
receive more honor and respect, and therefore they have to compensate those
living farther away.
2) RULING IN ACCORDANCE WITH A "STAM MISHNAH"
QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a son and a daughter are equal with regard
to inheritance. Rav Ashi explains that the meaning of the Mishnah is that
when a man has several sons, or when a man has several daughters (and no
sons), he is able to declare that one of his children should receive all of
his possessions when he dies. The Gemara objects to this explanation, saying
that this is the opinion of Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka, cited by the Mishnah
later (130a), and thus it would be unnecessary for the Mishnah here to
express his opinion again. The Gemara continues and says that it is not
reasonable to suggest that the Mishnah here is expressing his opinion
anonymously in order to teach that the Halachah follows his opinion (in
accordance with the general rule that the Halachah follows the opinion of an
anonymous Mishnah), because in this case, the anonymous Mishnah (here) is
followed by a Mishnah later (130a) in which the Chachamim disagree with
Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka. In such a situation -- when an anonymous Mishnah
is followed by a Machlokes regarding the topic of the anonymous Mishnah --
the Halachah follows the dissenting opinion expressed in the later Mishnah.
TOSFOS (DH Stam) asks that there is another rule, though, which states that
even though the fact that the anonymous Mishnah is followed by a dispute
means that the Halachah does not automatically follow the anonymous Mishnah,
nevertheless the anonymous Mishnah still gains the status of being the
opinion of *several* Tana'im, rather than being a single, minority opinion.
The MAHARAM explains that this means that even though several Tana'im
disagree later with Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka, the Machlokes should not be
considered to be a Machlokes between a single, isolated opinion, and a
majority opinion (Yachid v'Rabim). Rather, the Machlokes should be
considered to be a Machlokes between two groups of Tana'im (of equal
numbers). Consequently, it is possible, although not certain, that the
Halachah follows Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka. How, then, can the Gemara here
say with certainty that the Halachah does not follow Rebbi Yochanan ben
ANSWER: The RASHASH in Beitzah (28b, to Tosfos DH Gabei) suggests that the
later Mishnah to which our Gemara refers is not the Mishnah on 130a, but
rather it is the Mishnah on 126b. There, an anonymous Mishnah discusses the
case of a deathly ill person who decides to give away his property, and he
gives more of his property to one son than to another, or he gives to the
firstborn son and equal portion as he gives to the other brothers. The
Mishnah states that if the father articulates that he is giving away his
property as an *inheritance* (and not as a *gift*), his declaration is not
binding because he is contradicting the Torah, which says that "inheritance"
means that the firstborn son receives a double share, and the other sons all
receive equal shares. The RASHBAM there (126b, DH v'Im Amar) says that the
Mishnah there does *not* follow the opinion of Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka,
because Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka maintains that if the person receiving an
extra portion has the status of an heir (even if, according to the priority
of inheritance, he is preceded by heirs with a higher priority), the
father's declaration is valid even as an inheritance.
According to this, the Rashash asserts that the Mishnah here (122b) and the
Mishnah there (126b) should be considered an anonymous Mishnah followed by
another anonymous, but opposing, Mishnah. In such a case, the Halachah
always follows the second anonymous Mishnah (and the first Mishnah is
considered an isolated opinion, and not the opinion of several Tana'im).
It seems that the logic behind this is that when Rebbi compiled the
Mishnayos, by writing the second Mishnah anonymously he intended to show
that he did not accept the opinion expressed in the first Mishnah. This is
why it is obvious to the Gemara here that the Halachah follows the later
Mishnah and does not follow Rebbi Yochanan ben Beroka's opinion which is
expressed in the Mishnah here. (See Tosfos, who gives a different answer to
this question.) (Y. Marcus)