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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Bava Basra 90


(a) Support (for Rav Yehudah - Beraisa): It is forbidden to keep a measure that is too big or too small in his house, even to use as a urinal;
1. He may keep the following (dry) measures (these are standard, we are not concerned that he will claim it is a different measure, for each is very far from the next standard measure): a Se'ah, a half Se'ah, a quarter Se'ah (which is one and a half Kavim), a Kav, a half Kav, a quarter Kav (a Lug), a Tuman (half a Lug), a half Tuman, and an Uchla.
2. Question: What is an Uchla?
3. Answer: A fifth of a Lug.
(b) He may keep the following liquid measures: a Hin, a half Hin, a third of a Hin, a quarter Hin, a Lug, a half Lug, a Revi'is (of a Lug), an eighth of a Lug, and an eighth of an eighth of a Lug (a Kortov).
(c) Question: Why not make a two Kavim measure?
(d) Answer #1: It might be used (to cheat) in place of three Kavim.
(e) Rejection: If so, we should not allow a Kav, it might be used in place of one and a half Kavim!
(f) Answer #2: It might be used in place of one and a half Kavim.
(g) Inference: People might not notice if the measure is a quarter less than it should be.
(h) Question: We should not allow a half Tuman and an Uchla (the later is only a fifth less than the former)!
(i) Answer (Rav Papa): People have better estimation of small measures.
(j) Question: We should not allow a third of a Hin and a quarter Hin!
(k) Answer: Since these two measures were used in the Mikdash (for measuring wine and oil), Chachamim did not decree against them.
(l) Question: Chachamim should have decreed in the Mikdash not to use them!
(m) Answer: Kohanim are zealous, they would not come to err.
(a) (Shmuel): People of the city may not increase the measures more than a sixth, nor may they increased the (weight of the) coins by more than a sixth;
1. A grocer may not charge more than a sixth above the price he pays for produce (unless the market price increased).
(b) Question: Why it is forbidden to increase the measures more than a sixth?
1. Suggestion: When merchants see that the measures increased, they will raise prices more than they should.
2. Rejection: If so, it should be forbidden to increase them even a sixth!
(c) Answer #1: We do not want the sales should be invalidated (perhaps merchants (from outside the city did not know that the measures increased, buyers will take the new measure, underpaying more than a sixth)!
(d) Rejection: But Rava taught, if the wrong measure, weight or number was given, even less than a sixth, the sale is invalid (Rashbam; Rambam - the sale stands, but the additional amount must be given or returned).
(e) Answer #2: We do not want merchants to lose money (they normally profit a sixth, they will only lose their profit).
(f) Objection: A merchant's income is from his profit, we should be concerned for his livelihood!
(g) Answer #3 (Rav Chisda): Chachamim expounded "Twenty Shekalim 25 Shekalim 15 Shekalim ha'Maneh Yihyeh";

1. Question: A Maneh is (100 Dinarim,) not 240 (60 Shekalim, which is 20 and 25 and 15)!
2. Answer (Rav Chisda): We learn from this three things: the Maneh of Hekdesh is double a normal Maneh;
i. We may increase measures, but no more than a sixth; (a double Maneh should be 200 Dinarim, and the verse considers it 240);
ii. The sixth is of the total (the new measure (240), i.e. a fifth of the old measure).
(h) Rav Papa bar Shmuel enacted that people use a measure of nine Lugin [some say, three Lugin].
1. Rabanan: But Shmuel taught, we may not increase the measures more than a sixth (but this is a third more than the previous measure of six [or two] Lugin)!
2. Rav Papa bar Shmuel: That does not apply to making a new measure. (Rashbam - he was not concerned for cheating, since his city did not use measures of six or 12 [one and a half or three] Lugim, this was not close to any measure in use).
3. Chachamim of Pumbadisa did not agree to this, Chachamim of Papunya did agree.
(a) (Beraisa): "Nishba Hash-m...Im Eshkach la'Netzach...Na'avor ha'Chodesh v'Nashibrah Shever" - these are people who (delay selling in order to) raise prices;
1. "Veha'Shabas v'Niftecha Bar" - they buy produce to sell it (in Shemitah), when it will be expensive;
2. "Lehaktin Eifah" - people who decrease the Eifah;
3. "U'Lhagdil Shekel" - they lend on Ribis.
(b) Question: What is meant by 'people who buy produce to sell when it will be expensive'?
(c) Answer: They buy in order to sell to poor people (at the high price) when it will be expensive.
(d) Shmuel's father would sell at the early (low) price (when grain is finished in the granaries).
1. Shmuel would not sell his own produce until later (at the higher price).
2. Chachamim of Eretz Yisrael: Your father was better than you!
3. Question: What is the reason?
4. Answer: By deflating the early price, he ensured that prices would be low the whole year.
(e) (Rav): One may delay selling his own produce until the price rises.
(f) Support (Beraisa): One may not hoard life-essential produce (to sell later at a higher price), such as wine, oil and flour;
1. This is permitted regarding spices, such as peppers.
2. It is only forbidden to buy and hoard, one may hoard what he grows himself.
3. One may buy and hoard in Eretz Yisrael (starting in the year before Shemitah) in order to sell in Shemitah and the following year (so there will be enough food in those years);
i. In famine years, one may not hoard even one Kav of carobs, lest this increase prices.
(g) R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina (to his servant): Buy and hoard for me starting in the year before Shemitah, in order to sell in Shemitah and the following year.
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