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Bava Basra 74

BAVA BASRA 71-75 - Sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


(i) The guide showed us those who died in the wilderness: their faces were happy like drunkards, they were sleeping with their faces up [showing that they trusted in Hash-m]. One had his knees bent; our guide passed underneath, riding a camel and holding a spear, without touching him (Etz Yosef - Zimri's knees were bent, Eliyahu (Pinchas) killed him with a spear, no one was able to touch (i.e. stop) him).
(j) I cut the corner of one of their garments, with Tzitzis on it; we were unable to travel. 1. The guide: Perhaps you took something from them?
Return it, for one who takes something from them is unable to go [Hash-m swore that they will not enter Eretz Yisrael, this applies even to their garments].
2. I returned it, and we were able to proceed.
3. When I returned, Rabanan rebuked me: you cut the corner in order to determine if the Halachah follows Beis Shamai or Beis Hillel - you should have counted the number of strings and knots!
(k) The guide showed us Har Sinai: It was surrounded by scorpions, guarding it like white donkeys [allusions to Chachamim].
1. Voice from Heaven: Woe to Me that I swore; now that I swore, who will permit My oath?!
2. When I returned, Rabanan rebuked me: you should have permitted Hash-m's oath (Tosfos - that those who died in the wilderness will not enter Eretz Yisrael; Rashbam - that Yisrael will be in Galus).
3. Rabah bar bar Chanah thought that Hash-m referred to the oath not to flood the world again.
4. Rabanan reason that Hash-m would not regret that oath so much.
(l) The guide showed us where Korach and his cohorts were swallowed. There were two crevices, smoke was exuding. He soaked wool in water, put it on the end of a spear and put it inside; it became singed. I was able to hear them saying 'Moshe and his Torah are true, (Korach and his congregation) are liars'.
1. The guide: Every 30 days Gehinom returns them to here, like meat in a frying pan, and they say this.
(m) The guide showed us where Heaven touches earth [where prayer can change one's Mazel]. I put my [prayer for] bread in the window; after praying, I did not find it [that my prayer was answered]. I thought this was on account of thieves [that blocked my prayer]!
1. The guide: No, the sphere (on which the constellations are fixed) moved, you will find it [that your Mazel has changed] tomorrow.
(n) R. Yochanan: I was on a ship, and saw a fish [the Mazel of Adar] take its head out of the water. Its eyes were like moons, water {Torah) came from its two nostrils like rivers of Sura (Etz Yosef - on account of the birth of Moshe and the second acceptance of the Torah (in the days of Mordechai), which were in Adar).
(o) Rav Safra: I was on a ship, and saw a horned fish (ha'Kosev (in Ein Yakov) - a kindgom): engraved on the horn it said 'I am a small sea creature, I am 300 Parsa'os, I will fall into the mouth of Livyasan (Edom, to which most kingdoms will be drawn).
1. Rav Ashi: That was the sea-goat, it digs with its horns to seek food.
(p) R. Yochanan: I was on a ship, and saw a chest with precious gems; fish surrounded it. An expert swimmer descended to take it; the fish sought to bite his leg. He threw vinegar at it; it fled.

1. Voice from Heaven: That chest is for the wife of R. Chanina ben Dosa [who convinced her husband not to take any of their reward in this world], it will contain Techeiles for Tzadikim in the world to come.
(q) Rav Yehudah Hindu'ah: I was on a ship, I saw a gem (Torah); a giant crocodile was by it. A swimmer came to take it; the crocodile sought to swallow the ship. A raven came and cut off its head; the sea turned red from all the blood. Another crocodile took the stone, and hung it on the dead crocodile; it revived, and sought to swallow the ship again. The raven cut off its head again, and threw the gem into our ship.
1. We had some salted birds; we put the gem on them, and they revived, took the gem and flew away.
(r) R. Eliezer and R. Yehoshua were on a ship; R. Eliezer was sleeping. R. Yehoshua was agitated, and woke R. Eliezer.
1. R. Eliezer: What agitated you?
2. R. Yehoshua: I saw a great light (Iyun Yakov - he thought it was the light at the head of a great wave ready to sink the ship (73A))!
3. R. Eliezer: Perhaps it was the eyes of Livyasan - "V'Einav k'Afapei Shachar".
(s) Huna bar Noson was travelling in the wilderness; they had a thigh of meat, they opened it, removed the Chelev and Gid ha'Nasheh, and put it on grass; by the time they gathered firewood, the thigh had closed up.
1. The next year, they returned and saw that the coals were still burning.
2. Ameimar: That was Samterei grass (which constricts; R. Gershom - a life-giving drug) and Risma coals (which burn a long time).
(t) (Chachamim of Bavel): "Va'Yivra Elokim Es ha'Taninim ha'Gedolim" - these are Re'emim (great creatures) of the sea.
(u) (R. Yochanan): This is the male Livyasan, it is straight as a bolt; and the female Livyasan, it surrounds the world - "...Livyasan Nachash Bari'ach v'Al Livyasan Nachash Akalason".
(i) [The simple meaning of these accounts is also true.]
(j) (Rav Yehudah): Hash-m created all creatures male and female, also a male Livyasan (Rashba - Sechel) and female (Nefesh);
1. If the male and female Livyasan would mate (all would be according to Sechel), the world would be desolate (no one would have children). Therefore, Hash-m castrated the male (Rashbam - so it should not mate with other fish, or be pained by unfulfilled lust) and killed and salted the female for Tzadikim to eat (Rashba - to draw close to Hash-m; Shita - it will sustain every Tzadik, joining his Nefesh and body, so it will not return to dirt) in the world to come - "V'Harag Es ha'Tanin Asher ba'Yam".
2. Also the giant Behemos of Harerei Elef (Resha'im) would destroy the world if they would mate; Hash-m cooled (removed lust from) the female (physical bodies) and castrated the male (their forms) - "Hinei Kocho v'Masnav v'Ono bi'Shriri Vitno".
(k) Question: Why didn't He likewise cool the female Livyasan?
(l) Answer: Fish are different, they are lewd (Iyun Yakov - even though they are naturally cold. Shita - if the castrated male would see the female, he would destroy the world).
(m) Question: Why didn't He kill the male and castrate the female?
(n) Answer #1: A salted female is better (Shita - the flesh is fatter).
(o) Answer #2: "Livyasan Zeh Yatzarta Lesachek Bo" - it is improper to frolic with a female.
(p) Question: Why didn't He likewise salt the female giant Behemah?
(q) Answer: Salted fish is good, salted meat is not.
(i) (Rav Yehudah): When Hash-m wanted to create the world, he told the Sar (angel appointed over) of the sea to open its mouth and swallow all the (Ben Yehoyada - evaporate the excess) water.
1. The Sar: It is enough that I swallow my water!
2. Hash-m kicked it (made it physical) and killed it - "B'Kocho Raga ha'Yam uvi'Svunaso Machatz Rahav";
i. (R. Yitzchak): This teaches that the Sar of the sea was called Rahav.
3. If the water would not cover it, no creature could stand its smell - "Ka'Mayim la'Yam Mechasim";
i. We understand this, it covers the Sar of the sea. (R. Yitzchak E. Chaver - the Sar is the evil inclination. Hash-m asked it to contain all illusory temptations; it refused, it wanted to dominate this world. Hash-m reduced its power, this is called 'killing' it.)
(j) (Rav Yehudah): The Yarden emanates from the Pamyus cave.
(k) (Beraisa): The Yarden emanates from the Pamyus cave (Rashba - the Nefesh is a emanation whose first source is Sechel of Hash-m), passes through the seas of Sivki and Tiveryah, goes to the Yam ha'Gadol (where it becomes a Nefesh) and enters the mouth of Livyasan - "Yivtach Ki Yagi'ach Yarden El Pihu".
(l) Question (Rabah bar Ula): That refers to animals (physical bodies)!
(m) Answer: It means, animals are secure until the Yarden enters the mouth of Livyasan (ha'Kosev - the Nochrim are not worried as long as Yisrael is in exile, for they will not be judged until Mashi'ach comes).
(n) Question (Rav Dimi): What does it mean "Ki Hu Al Yamim Yesadah v'Al Neharos Yechoneneha"?
(o) Answer: These are the seven seas and four rivers that encompass Eretz Yisrael:
1. The seas Tiveryah, Sedom, Chilas, Chilta, Sivki, Aspamya and Yam ha'Gadol;
2. The rivers: Yarden, Yarmoch, Kidomiyon, and Pigah.
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