ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Basra 3
BAVA BASRA 3-5 - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, N.Y., out of
love for Torah and those who study it.
(a) In the second Lashon, we translate 'Mechitzah' as a partition, adopting
the interpretation that we rejected in the first Lashon, concluding 'Hezek
Re'iyah Sh'meih Hezek'. We resolve the initial problem that we had with this
('I Hachi, "she'Ratzu La'asos Mechitzah", she'Ratzu La'chatzos' Miba'i
Leih') - by ascribing this to colloquial speech, like people say 'Ta
Na'aveid P'lugta' ('Come let's make a division' [instead of 'Come, let's
(b) And we refute the suggestion that Mechitzah should mean a stone-wall,
like the Beraisa 'Mechitzas ha'Kerem she'Nifretzah' (as we concluded
according to the first Lashon) - because then, the Tana ought to have said
(instead of 'Bonin es ha'Kosel') 'Bonin Oso'(though we actually answered
this in the first Lashon).
(a) Since the Tana holds 'Hezek Re'iyah Sh'meih Hezek', he really should
have obligated them to build a Mechitzah even if 'Lo Ratzu' (i.e. if just
one of them demands it). In order to explain why the Tana confines the
Halachah to 'Ratzu', Rebbi Asi Amar Rebbi Yochanan establishes our Mishnah -
by a Chatzer of less than eight by four Amos (which is not generally fit to
divide in two.
(b) From the Mishnah later in the Perek 'Eimasai, bi'Zeman she'Ein Sheneihem
Rotzin, Aval bi'Zeman she'Sheneihem Rotzin, Afilu Pachos mi'Ka'an, Cholkin',
we do indeed know that, once they decide to divide such a Chatzer, they are
obligated to put up a Mechitzah - but if not for our Mishnah, we would have
thought that a Mesipas would suffice.
(c) In spite of our Mishnah, which teaches us the obligation to put up a
proper Mechitzah, the Tana needs to add the Mishnah later - because of the
Seifa 've'Chisvei ha'Kodesh, Af-al-Pi she'Sheneihem Rotzim, Lo Yachloku'.
(a) Since our Mishnah is talking about a Chatzer which is normally too small
to divide, 'Ratzu' alone would be of no significance, because either of them
would be entitled to retract. Rebbi Asi Amar Rebbi Yochanan answers
'she'Kanu mi'Yado' - which means that they reinforced their decision with a
(b) We object to Rebbi Yochanan's answer however, on the grounds - that a
Kinyan Chalipin can only take effect on something tangible, not on something
abstract (such as a decision to divide a Chatzer).
(c) We overrule this objection by establishing Rebbi Yochanan 'she'Kanu
be'Ruchos' - which means that the Kinyan Chalipin was not just on the
decision, but that each one actually picked his half of the Chatzer and
acquired it with the Kinyan.
(d) Rav Ashi gives an alternative answer. He establishes our Mishnah without
the need to come on to 'she'Kanu mi'Yado' - because each one went to the
Chatzer and acquired his half with a Kinyan Chazakah.
(a) We interpret ...
1. ... G'vil as - a complete stone of six Tefachim still with its rough edge
(b) Rabah B'rei de'Rava asked Rav Ashi how we know that the difference
between G'vil and Gazis is that the former is rough and the latter, smooth?
Perhaps G'vil is two half-stones of two and a half Tefachim each, and one
Tefach in the middle for cement and Gazis one stone of five Tefachim (like
the difference between Kefisin and Leveinin). Rav Ashi retorted - by asking
him how he knew that the difference between G'vil and Gazis was what he
quoted it to be; only because it was Halachah le'Moshe mi'Sinai. In that
case, the difference between Kefisin ad Leveinin was also Halachah le'Moshe
2. ... Gazis as - the same stone with its rough edges cut away and
smoothened, reducing it to five Tefachim.
3. ... Kefisin as - two half-bricks of one and a half Tefachim with a Tefach
of cement in between.
4. ... Leveinin as - one three-Tefach brick.
(c) Others cite Rav Acha B'rei de'Rav Ivya, who asked Rav Ashi the opposite,
to which Rav Ashi gave him the same reply. Rav Acha asked him - how we know
that Kefisin and Leveinin are two half-bricks with the cement and a whole
brick, respectively. Perhaps the former is a rough brick, and the latter, a
(a) Abaye extrapolates from the above interpretations that it is standard
practice to leave one Tefach in between two bricks or stones. The
ramifications of this statement are - that a contractor is expected to
(b) This applies specifically to a wall that is built with cement
exclusively. Someone who is contracted to build a wall using cement and
grit - must leave a gap of more than a Tefach in between.
(c) That is the opinion of the first Lashon. The second Lashon holds - that
it is for cement and grit that one leaves a Tefach, but if one uses cement
alone, less than a Tefach is required.
(a) The Amah T'raksin was - the Amah wall that divided between the Kodesh
and the Kodesh Kodshim.
(b) To build the first Beis-Hamikdash - which was thirty Amos tall, Shlomoh
used Avnei Gazis.
(c) Based on Gazis in our Mishnah, the problem with the proportion between
the height of the Beis-Hamikdash and the thickness of the Amah T'raksin is -
that it ought to have been at least thirty-seven and a half Tefachim thick
(five Tefachim per four Amos), when in fact, it was only six!
(d) We answer - that this did not work on a sale, as we thought, but that
one extra Tefach rendered the wall sufficiently strong to hold up a wall of
(a) Rav and Shmuel (or Rebbi Yochanan) and Rebbi Elazar argue over the Pasuk
in Chagai "Gadol Yih'yeh Kavod ha'Bayis ha'Zeh ha'Acharon min ha'Rishon".
According to one of them, the Navi is referring to the size, according to
the other, to the years. We accept - both opinions.
(b) The first Beis-Hamikdash stood for four hundred and ten years, the
second, for four hundred and twenty.
(c) The second Beis-Hamikdash was a hundred Amos tall.
(d) Given that the Amah T'raksin had to be one Amah thick in the second Beis
Hamikdash (just as it was in the first), and that they put up two curtains,
because a six Tefachim wall would not be strong enough for a wall a hundred
Amos tall, they did not build a wall of thirty Amos, and put up two curtains
for the remaining seventy Amos - because even the thirty Amah wall in the
first Beis-Hamikdash was only sufficiently strong at a thickness of six
Tefachim because it was cemented to the roof above it. According to our
suggestion, the thirty Amah would have stopped in mid-air and would have
required a greater width in order to stand firm.
(a) In the second Beis-Hamikdash, they could not build as much wall as one
can at six Tefachim, and put up the rest as curtains - because
traditionally, either one separates the Kodesh and the Kodesh Kodshim with a
wall or with curtains but not with a combination of both.
(b) We know that one may use ...
1. ... a wall - from the first Beis-Hamikdash.
(c) We ask whether the Shiurim of three, four, five and six Tefachim in our
Mishnah include the lime, or exclude it, to which Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak
replies - that they must include it, because if not, why did the Tana not
add the thickness of the lime?
2. ... or a curtain - from the Mishkan.
(d) We counter Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak's proof - by pointing out that the
Tana is not concerned with Shi'urim that are less than a Tefach.
(a) In spite of what we just said, our Mishnah teaches that in building a
wall of Leveinin, each partner gives one and a half Tefachim (not because
the Tana deals with half-Shiurim, but) - because there, the two
half-Tefachim add up to one Tefach.
(b) The Mishnah in Eruvin gives the width of the beam that one places at the
entrance of a Mavoy, as sufficiently wide to hold an Ari'ach, which is half
a Leveinah, which the Tana specifies as - three Tefachim (half a Leveinah of
(c) We try and prove from there - that the six Tefachim of a Leveinah is
without the lime (seeing as the Tana is referring there to a brick that has
not been limed), a Kashya on Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak.
(d) We answer - that the Tana in Eruvin is referring to large bricks, which
are six Tefachim widfe without lime, whereas out Tana is referring to small
bricks, which are only six Tefachim together with the lime.
(a) Rav Chisda forbids the demolishing of a Shul before another is standing
to replace it. Some say this is because we are afraid that one may be
prevented from building another one. Others say - that it is because, in the
meantime, there will be nowhere to Daven.
(b) The difference between the two answers will be - when there is an
alternative location to Daven in the interim, in which case the first reason
will still apply, but not the second.
(c) To circumvent the above problem - Mereimar and Mar Zutra - who had two
Shuls, a low-ceilinged Shul with fewer widows and thicker walls for the
winter, and a taller, more airy one for the summer, would rebuild the summer
Shul in the winter and the winter Shul in the summer.
(a) When Ravina asked Rav Ashi whether it would be permitted to demolish the
old Shul first, if ...
1. ... they had already collected the money to build a new one - he replied
in the negative because the money might be needed for the Mitzvah of Pidyon
Shevuyim (redeeming a Jewish captive).
(b) And when he pressed him further why we do not then forbid demolishing an
old Shul even if the new one was already built, on the suspicion that the
new Shul may have to be sold to obtain funds for Pidyon Shevuyim - he
replied that it is unusual to sell a residence (which is the status of a
Shul until it is used) for Pidyon Shevuyim (because people prefer to make
the effort to obtain funds).
2. ... the bricks and the rafters were already piled up ready for
construction - he still replied in the negative, because, for shortage of
funds, it might become necessary even to sell the bricks and the rafters to
redeem Jewish captives.
(c) Under specific circumstances however, it is permitted to demolish an old
Shul before building a new one, like Rav Ashi, who demolished the Shul in
Masa Mechsaya although no new Shul existed - because he saw that it was
beginning to crack and was threatening to collapse.
(d) To ensure that he would not be lax in building the new one forthwith
however - he moved his bed into the ruins, until the Shul was built (since
it was most uncomfortable sleeping in the sun and rain).
(a) The reason that Bava ben Buta may have instructed Hurdus (King Herod) to
demolish the Beis-Hamikdash (in spite of Rav Chisda's prohibition) may have
been due to the cracks that had appeared in the walls (as we just
explained). The alternative reason was based on a statement of Shmuel - who
said that if a king undertakes to demolish a mountain, you can be rest
assured that he will uproot a mountain, come what may. Consequently, Bava
ben Buta knew that Hurdud would keep his word.
(b) Hurdus was a slave of the Chashmona'i kings.
(c) He rebelled - after becoming infatuated with one of their daughters, and
after hearing a Heavenly Voice announcing that any slave who rebel would
succeed, so he killed all the members of his masters family with the sole
exception of that young girl, whom he planned to marry.
(d) That young girl reacted to Hurdus actions - by ...
1. ... climbing on to the roof and throwing herself off, after declaring ...
2. ... that anyone who claims to descend from the family of the Chashmona'im
is a slave, since she was the last remaining survivor of the entire family.
(a) After that youg girl's death - Hurdus placed her body in honey.
(b) According to those who say that he did not have relations with her, he
did that - to create the illusion that he had married a princess.
(c) He killed all the Sanhedrin (see Tosfos) - because, based on the Pasuk
"mi'Kerev Achecha Tasim Alecha Melech", he was afraid that they would
(d) He kept Bava ben Buta alive however - after blinding him with a
porcupine skin, in order to have someone with whom to consult.