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Bava Basra, 141

BAVA BASRA 141 (30 Av) - This daf has been dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Esther Chaya Rayzel (Friedman) bas Gershon Eliezer, upon her Yahrzeit and Yom Kevurah, by her daughter and son-in-law, Jeri and Eli Turkel. Esther Friedman was a woman of valor who was devoted to her family and gave of herself unstintingly, inspiring all those around her.


OPINIONS: Rebbi Yochanan says in the name of Raban Shimon bar Yochai that Hashem becomes "filled with anger upon" anyone who leaves no son to inherit him. What is the meaning of this statement?
(a) The YAD RAMAH (116a) writes that this applies only when the person did not engage in fulfilling the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah. If, however, he did attempt to fulfill the Mitzvah but was unable to because of circumstances beyond his control, then Hashem does *not* become angry with him.

(b) The RASHASH explains that this refers to one who has a son but does not let the son inherit him, but rather he gives away all of his possessions as a gift to someone else.

(c) The KOVETZ SHI'URIM (#480) explains that having no sons is not a *reason* for why Hashem becomes angry at a person; it is beyond a person's control to have sons. Rather, the fact that he has no sons is a *sign* that Hashem is angry with him for some other reason, and Hashem therefore is not granting a son to him. (I. Alsheich)

QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan says in the name of Raban Shimon bar Yochai that Hashem becomes "filled with anger upon" anyone who leaves no son to inherit him. However, earlier (116a) the Gemara relates that Rebbi Yochanan himself would comfort mourners who had lost children by showing them the tooth or bone (see Background to the Daf there) of his tenth son who died. If Rebbi Yochanan maintains that one who leaves no sons is subject to Hashem's anger, then why was he publicizing the fact that he left no sons? Having no sons is indicative of wrongdoing (see previous Insight), and one is supposed to be ashamed and hide his wrongdoing from others, as they verse states, "Praiseworthy is the one who bears his iniquity, who hides his sin" (Tehilim 32:1), as the Rashbam writes earlier!

Indeed, the Gemara there already questioned Rebbi Yochanan's actions from a different statement of Rebbi Yochanan. The Gemara asks how could Rebbi Yochanan comfort mourners by showing them that he had lost all of his sons, when Rebbi Yochanan himself stated that the verse, "Asher Ein Chalifos Lamo..." (Tehilim 55:20), refers to one who leaves no sons after him. Why, though, does the Gemara there not find any difficulty with the statement of Rebbi Yochanan in the name of Raban Shimon bar Yochai? How could Rebbi Yochanan say that Hashem is filled with anger with one who leaves no sons to inherit him, when Rebbi Yochanan himself would publicize the fact that he left no sons?


(a) The RASHASH explains, based on his approach (see (b) of previous Insight) to the meaning of Rebbi Yochanan's statement in the name of Raban Shimon bar Yochai, that in truth Hashem does *not* become angry with someone who has no sons. Rather, He becomes angry only with someone who has sons and redirects his inheritance away from his sons, giving his property to other people. Accordingly, there is no contradiction in the acts and statements of Rebbi Yochanan.

(b) The RAMBAN (116a) writes that the Gemara earlier answers its question by saying, "This statement is his, and the other statement is his teacher's." That is, the statement that Rebbi Yochanan said in which he applied the verse, "Asher Ein Chalifos Lamo," to a person who leaves no sons was actually his teacher's statement, and he, personally, did not agree with that way of expounding the verse. Accordingly, the statement that Rebbi Yochanan says here in the name of Raban Shimon ben Gamliel might also be merely his teacher's opinion, but Rebbi Yochanan himself does not agree. (I. Alsheich)

OPINIONS: The Gemara discusses why a man would prefer to have a daughter than a son, as the Mishnah (140b) implies. The Gemara suggests that the Mishnah is referring to a woman giving birth to her first child, and it is in accordance with the view of Rav Chisda who says that having a daughter as the first child is a "Siman Tov," a "good sign," for sons (the Gemara goes on to explain why that is so). Rav Chisda adds, "And as for me, daughters are more preferable to me than sons."

Why did Rav Chisda personally prefer daughters over sons?

(a) The RASHBAM explains first that Rav Chisda was referring to the first child that was born to him, consistent with Rav Chisda's own statement that a daughter born first is a good sign. However, he immediately rejects this explanation, since the Rav Chisda's wording does not imply that he is referring here only to a daughter who was born first. Instead, the Rashbam explains that Rav Chisda said that he prefers daughters because none of his sons survived, and therefore he cherished his daughters so much more. The Rashbam concludes, however, that he is not satisfied with this explanation of the statement of Rav Chisda.

(b) TOSFOS questions the Rashbam's explanation as well, saying that we know that Rav Chisda had many sons, and we do not find that they died before him. Among his sons mentioned throughout the Gemara are Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda, Mar Yenuka and Mar Keshisha, Rav Chanan bar Rav Chisda, Rav Mari and Rav Pinchas. Tosfos therefore explains that the reason why Rav Chisda said that daughters are preferable to him is because even though his sons were great Amora'im, his *sons-in-law*, the husbands of his daughters, were the Gedolei ha'Dor -- Rava, Rami bar Chama, and Mar Ukva bar Chama (as mentioned in Bava Basra 12b and Berachos 44a).

RAV YAKOV EMDEN gives a similar explanation to that of Tosfos, but he adds that perhaps at the time that Rav Chisda made this statement, his daughters were already married to the Gedolei ha'Dor, while his sons were still young and he did not know yet whether they would achieve such greatness or not. He also adds that certainly the daughters of Rav Chisda were great and wise women in their own right, as the Gemara in Berachos (56a) implies, where Rava says to Bar Hedya, the dream-interpreter, that he could forgive Bar Hedya for all of the hardships that he caused him except for the death of his wife, the daughter of Rav Chisda.

Rav Yakov Emden writes further (as printed in the new Wagshal Gemara) that Rav Chisda's sons-in-law were also his students, and thus he considered them to be like his own sons. Therefore, he said that his daughters are more preferable to him, because not only are their husbands the Gedolei ha'Dor, but their husbands are like sons to him, since they are his students as well.

(c) REBBI TZADOK HA'KOHEN (in Divrei Sofrim) writes that Rav Chisda already had seven sons who were Talmidei Chachamim, but he did not yet have one daughter. Therefore, he prayed to Hashem to have a daughter so that he could properly fulfill the Mitzvah of Piryah v'Rivyah, and he prayed for additional daughters because daughters bring propagation to the world (as the Gemara says earlier on 16b; see Insights there). (I. Alsheich)


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses a case in which a man said to his pregnant wife, "My property is hereby given to the fetus with which you are pregnant." Rav Huna ruled that it is a case of attempting to grant ownership to a fetus, and a fetus cannot acquire ownership (since it is not considered to have come into the world yet).

It is clear from the continuation of the Gemara that the case being discussed is that of a gift being given by a Shechiv Mera, a dying man. Even though there is a rule that the words of a Shechiv Mera are binding as if they are written in a Shtar, here the Shechiv Mera's gift does not take effect. TOSFOS points out that even if the benefactor was a healthy man who committed himself to give the gift with an act of a Kinyan, the gift does not take effect.

Why, though, does the gift of a Shechiv Mera not take effect in this case? The Gemara later (145a) says that the gift of a Shechiv Mera takes effect even when the gift of a healthy person would not take effect, such as in transferring the ownership of a debt. When a Shechiv Mera gives the debt (that is, the right to collect it from the debtor) to someone else, the recipient acquires it. When a healthy person gives a debt to someone else, its ownership is not transferred to the recipient even when a Kinyan is made (because a debt is a non-tangible entity which cannot be transferred to a different owner; the ownership of a debt can be transferred only when it is written in a Shtar and the Shtar is transferred, or when the debt is transferred through the rabbinical instrument of "Ma'amad Sheloshtan"). The Gemara here, though, is saying that since a healthy person cannot transfer the ownership of this gift (to an unborn fetus) even with a Kinyan, a Shechiv Mera also cannot transfer the ownership through the enactment of Matnas Shechiv Mera!

TOSFOS writes that the cases are different and cannot be compared, but he does not write why they are different. What is the difference between the case of the Gemara here, and the case of the Gemara later (145a)?

ANSWER: The OR SAME'ACH (Hilchos Zechiyah u'Matanah 9:13) writes that in the Gemara later, Rav Papa says that the reason why a Shechiv Mera is able to transfer the ownership of a loan is "because it is inherited by his heirs." The RASHBAM there explains that the Gemara later (149a) says that the Rabanan made a Matnas Shechiv Mera work like an inheritance, and therefore it works for a loan, since a man's heirs inherit any loans owed to him when he dies.

This applies, though, only to a loan, where the impediment in the transfer of ownership is not in the giver or the recipient, but in the object itself (the loan). Since a loan *can* be inherited, it therefore can be given to someone else through a Matnas Shechiv Mera. In contrast, when the impediment in the transfer of ownership of an object is in the recipient of the object (as in our case, in which the recipient does not yet exist in the world and thus cannot be Koneh), the fact that the item can be inherited does not help, since this person cannot inherit or be Koneh the object.

(RAV SHMUEL ROZOVSKY zt'l explains (in Shi'urei Reb Shmuel, Gitin 14:2, #278) that when the Rabanan enacted that a Matnas Shechiv Mera is effective because it works like Yerushah, they did not give the status of a Yoresh to the recipient of the gift. Rather, they said that the manner in which the transfer of ownership works is like that of Yerushah. Consequently, where the recipient is able to be Koneh, the Rabanan made the transfer of ownership of the object work like Yerushah. Where the recipient is unable to be Koneh, such as in the case of a fetus, even if the transfer of ownership works like Yerushah, the fetus cannot acquire the object because the fetus itself is unable to be Koneh anything.) (See SHI'UREI REB SHMUEL there for an alternative approach.) (I. Alsheich)

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