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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Bava Basra 89

BAVA BASRA 89 - dedicated on the occasion of the Shloshim of Reb Dovid Tuvia ben Harav Yechiel Mechel Halevi (David Kramer), by the Lomdei Daf Ha'Yomi in White Oak, Maryland (Jack Delman, Howie Feldman, Yitz Gedalowitz, Shlomo Katz, Jay Levine, Rabbi Sanders, Kenneth Schor, Raanan Shames, and Sheldon Meth). David was a founding member of the White Oak Daf Ha'Yomi, a frequent Magid Shiur, and an integral part of its continuation for over 10 years. David was also a pillar of the White Oak community for over 25 years. May his memory serve as a blessing for all of Klal Yisrael!


(a) (Mishnah): In a place where they normally measure in big vessels...
(b) (Beraisa): In a place where people sell even measures, he should not give a heaping measure, or vice-versa - "Eifah Shelemah" (the measure should be full);
(c) If one says (in a place where people give a heaping measure) 'I will give an even measure and deduct from the price', or (in a place where they sell evenly) 'I will take a heaping measure and pay more, we do not allow this - "Eifah Shelemah va'Tzedek Yihyeh Lach" (this could lead to swindling, if onlookers do not know that there was compensation for the deviation from the custom).
(d) (Beraisa): In a place where they are Machri'a, one may not weigh evenly, and vice-versa - "Eifah Shelemah";
1. If one says, I will deviate from the custom and compensate for this, we do not allow this - "Eifah Shelemah va'Tzedek Yihyeh Lach"
(e) (Beraisa): "Lo Yihyeh Lecha this teaches that we appoint people to inspect and punish for false measures, but (reasoning says,) not for prices (if someone charges too much, people will buy from others).
(f) The Nasi's house appointed people to supervise measures and prices.
(g) Shmuel told Karna to teach them that we appoint for measures, not for prices; Karna taught, we appoint for measures and prices.
1. Shmuel cursed Karna, that a Keren (horn) should grow between his eyes.
(h) Question: As whom did Karna hold?
(i) Answer: Like R. Yitzchak.
1. (R. Yitzchak): We appoint for measures and prices, on account of swindlers.
(j) (Beraisa): If Reuven wanted to buy a liter, half or quarter liter, we measure that amount for him.
(k) Question: What is the Chidush?
(l) Answer: We make measures of these sizes (but not others, lest people use them to swindle, the buyer will not know that he got a smaller amount).
(a) (Beraisa): If Reuven wanted to buy a three quarters of a liter, we do not weigh for him a quarter liter three times (for we are careful not to give less, and he profits from the inaccuracies), rather, we put a quarter liter weight with the meat and weigh it against a liter.
(b) (Beraisa): If Reuven wanted to buy 10 liters, we do not weigh for him a liter 10 times (with a Hachra'ah each time, like above), rather, we weigh it all at once, there is only one Hachra'ah).
(c) (Beraisa): A (hanging) scale should be at least three Tefachim below the ceiling and at least three above the ground (so one can make a Hachra'ah of three Tefachim);
1. The crossbar and two ropes (from which the pans hang) should be 12 Tefachim (four Tefachim each).
2. A scale of people who sell wool or glass should be at least two Tefachim from the ceiling and ground (when weighing lighter things, less Hachra'ah is needed), the crossbar and two ropes should be nine Tefachim (three each).
3. A scale of a grocer or regular person should be at least one Tefach from the ceiling and ground, the crossbar and ropes should be six Tefachim (two each).
4. A scale of one who sells gold and silver should be at least three fingers from the ceiling and ground, I do not know the length of the crossbar and ropes.
(d) Question: The first scale mentioned, what is it for?

(e) Answer (Rav Papa): For smiths of iron and copper.
(f) (Rav Mani bar Patish): It is forbidden to use a scale that is too small; likewise, it does not receive Tum'ah.
(g) Question: We already learn this from a Mishnah!
1. (Mishnah): The string from which the scale of a grocer or regular person hangs must be at least a Tefach (if not, it does not receive Tum'ah).
(h) Answer: The Mishnah only teaches about how low it must hang, Rav Mani teaches that also if the crossbar and ropes are too small, it is Tahor.
(i) (Beraisa): We do not make weights out of tin, lead or other metals (because they decrease in weight), one may make from rock or glass.
(a) (Beraisa): A Machak (a rod used to scrape off the excess from a measure) should not be made of gourd wood (it is too light, it does not bend down enough to scrape off the proper amount), nor of metal (it is too heavy, it bends down and scrapes off too much);
1. Rather, it should be made of olive, sycamore or box wood.
(b) (Beraisa): The thickness of a Machak should be the same on both sides (a thin Machak scrapes off more than a thick one; we are concerned lest one use the thin side when selling, and the thick side when buying);
(c) One may not scrape quickly all at once, for this does not scrape off enough, nor very slowly, for this scrapes off too much (rather, gently, in one or two sweeps).
(d) R. Yochanan Ben Zakai: Woe to me if I teach these laws, woe if I do not!
1. Woe if I teach them - perhaps swindlers will learn how to cheat!
2. Woe if I do not teach them - perhaps swindlers will think that Chachamim do not understand their ruses!
(e) Question: Did he teach them?
(f) Answer (Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak): Yes - "Yesharim Darchei Hash-m v'Tzadikim Yelechu Vam u'Foshe'im Yikashlu Vam".
(g) (Beraisa): "Lo Sa'asu Avel ba'Mishpat ba'Midah ba'Mishkal uva'Meshurah":
1. 'Ba'Midah' refers to measuring land, one may not measure for two people that should divide evenly, one in winter and one in summer (Rashbam - because the rope (is moister and) stretches more in winter; R. Chananel - the land is more constricted in winter);
2. 'Ba'Mishkal' - one may not store his weights in salt (Rashbam - this makes them heavier; Tosfos - this makes them lighter).
3. 'Uva'Meshurah' - one may not make a liquid foam when pouring it into the measure (for it will appear full even though it is not full; some explain, one may not heat the liquid before pouring it).
i. We learn a Kal va'Chomer: even though Meshurah is a tiny measure, one part in 36 of a Lug, the Torah demands that the full measure be given, all the more so regarding bigger measures!
(h) (Rav Yehudah): It is forbidden to keep a measure that is too big or too small in his house, even to use as a urinal (lest he will wash it and use it to measure).
1. (Rav Papa): This is only in a place where the government does not give a seal of authentication on measures;
i. Where it does, he may keep an incorrect measure, people will demand an authenticated measure.
ii. Even where it does not, in a place where people are appointed to inspect measures (and punish for false measures), we are not concerned.
iii. Rejection: This is wrong - we are concerned that the measure will be used just before Shabbos, when the inspectors are not around (R. Chananel; Rashbam - even where the government authenticates measures, it is forbidden, the buyer will not be careful just before Shabbos).
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