(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

Previous daf

Bava Basra 20

BAVA BASRA 20-25 - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, N.Y., out of love for the Torah and for those who study it.



(a) The Tana of the Beraisa rules that detached grass, grass that is still growing, or a piece of cloth that is less than three by three finger-breadths that stops up part of a window which divides between two rooms, one of which contains a corpse (if the gap that remains is less than a Tefach) - prevent the Tum'ah from passing into the second room.

(b) The significance of ...

1. ... the Shiur of a piece of cloth that the Tana mentions is - that 'less than three by three finger-breadths' is not considered a garment (and is therefore not subject to Tum'ah).
2. ... the loose limb of an animal or a beast which stops up the window and which the Tana adds to the list is - that since it is completely loose, it is considered food (for a Nochri), and is subject to Tum'ah, but only after it has had contact with one of the seven liquids.
(c) The Tana also adds a bird, a Nochri and a still-born baby - none of which is subject to Tum'ah (since the only live 'creature' in the world that is subject to Tum'ah min ha'Torah is a Jew), and a still-born baby is considered like a stone.

(d) The last three in the list are salt, an earthenware vessel and a Sefer-Torah.

1. Salt is not considered a food (in which case it would be subject to Tum'ah) - because it cannot be eaten on its own.
2. An earthenware vessel is not subject to Tum'ah - on the condition that its back end is facing the Tum'ah (and its opening, the other room), as we explained earlier.
(a) Snow, hail, ice, frost and water are precluded from the above list - because they will soon melt or just flow away.

(b) The detached grass mentioned in the list is not fit to use as animal fodder - because the Tana is speaking about a plant that is poisonous to animals.

(c) To answer the Kashya why the grass that is still growing does not stand to be picked (seeing as it damages the wall), we establish the Beraisa by the window of a ruin. Rav Papa establishes it even by a wall still in use. The owner is not worried that it will damage his wall however - because it is actually growing more than three Tefachim away from the wall that contains the window, and it is only the ends that reach the window and stop-up part of the window.

(d) Neither are the pieces of cloth fit to use ...

1. ... as patches in a torn garment - because the Tana is speaking about thick pieces.
2. ... for bloodletting - because they are made from goat's fluff, which scratches.
(a) With regard to the case of a loose limb or flesh of an animal ... , we are not afraid that the animal will walk away - because the Tana is speaking when it is bound.

(b) Neither are we afraid that the owner will ...

1. ... will Shecht the animal - because it is non-Kasher species.
2. ... sell it to a Nochri - because it is weak.
3. ... cut off the loose limb and feed it to his dog - because that would constitute 'Tza'ar Ba'alei-Chayim', which is forbidden.
(c) And with regard to the case of the bird, we are not afraid that the owner will ...
1. ... Shecht it - because here too, he is speaking about a non-Kasher species.
2. ... sell it to a Nochri - because he is talking about a Kalnisa, which is very weak.
3. ... give it to a child to play with - because it might scratch him.
(d) A Kalnisa does indeed not scratch, but the Tana is talking about a bird that is weak like a Kalnisa, though unlike a Kalnisa, it scratches.
(a) The Tana also includes in his list a Nochri and a stillborn baby who
stop up the window. It is not possible ... 1. ... for him to get up and walk away - because he is tied.
2. ... for his friend to untie him and set him free - because he is a Metzora.
3. ... his co-Metzora come and set him free - because he is a national prisoner.
(b) Concerning a stillborn (eighth-month) baby (who is still ostensibly alive), we do not contend with the possibility that his mother will come and carry him away - because we are speaking on Shabbos when he is Muktzah.

(c) The same Beraisa which forbids his mother to pick him up, permits her to feed him (even though, other than to feed her baby, this constitutes an Isur de'Rabbanan). The reason for this is - because the accumulation of milk endangers the mother.

(a) And the Tana also includes salt. He does not contend with the possibility that the owner might take it away ...
1. ... to salt his food - because he is talking about exceptionally bitter salt.
2. ... to salt skins - because it also has thorns in it.
3. ... to save his wall from becoming damaged (as we learned in the previous Mishnah) - because he speaks when the salt is lying on a piece of clay.
(b) The piece of clay itself does not prevent the Tum'ah from passing into the next room, because it doesn't have the Shiur to render it significant. That Shiur is - a sufficiently large piece to place between two boards that are piled one on top of the other, if one of them is warped.

(c) He also includes an earthenware vessel. We are not afraid that the owner will ...

1. ... come and take it away to use - because we are talking about a dirty vessel.
2. ... use it for bloodletting - because it also has a hole in it.
(d) And finally, he inserts a Sefer-Torah in his list. They will not take it away ...
1. ... to Lein from it - because the Tana speaks when it is Pasul.
2. ... to place it in Genizah (Sheimos) - because there where it is, it is already Ganuz.



(a) Rav validates a Mechitzah made of anything except for two commodities. One of them is salt - the other, wax; the former, because it falls apart, the latter, because it melts.

(b) Rav is referring to Hilchos Shabbos.

(c) Shmuel validates even a Mechitzah of salt, yet they do not argue, says Rav Papa - because Rav is talking about (Melach Sedomis), which is soft, and Shmuel, about ordinary salt (Melach Isteruknis), which is hard.

(a) When Rabah permits placing two poles of salt with a beam on top, he is referring to - the Din of Eruv, regarding the entrance to a Mavoy, permitting the members of that Mavoy to carry there.

(b) He is referring to Melach Sedomis - which is normally soft, as we just explained, but which becomes compact when it is compressed by a weight.

(c) In that case, both Rav and Shmuel might be referring to Melach Sedomis, only Shmuel is speaking about a Mechitzah which has a beam on top, and Rav about one which does not.

(a) We learned in our Mishnah that Reuven must place his lower mill-stone three Tefachim away from Shimon's wall, and his upper mill-stone four. If he is working a small, donkey drawn mill, the Shiurim are the same ...
1. ... the base of the mill (Istrubel) - three Tefachim ...
2. ... the top of the funnel through which the grain is channeled (the Keles) - four.
(b) The stringency in this instance cannot be due to the vibrations - because the mill is small and does not cause vibrations.

(c) The reason in this case (see Tosfos 18a DH 'de'Tiraya') is because of the noise of the donkey (or the mill).

(d) We learned in our Mishnah that the base of a Tanur is one Tefach wider at the bottom than it is at the top - Consequently, someone who buys a Tanur can expect to received that for the money that he paid.

(a) When building a Tanur into the ground of his ground-floor apartment, Reuven was obligated to leave a space of - four Amos?

(b) The cement that served as the base of Shimon (the owner of the upstairs apartment)'s oven, if he was building ...

1. ... a Tanur (a single rhombus-shaped oven), had to be ' three Tefachim thick.
2. ... a Kirayim (a double oven, rectangular shaped) - had to be one Tefach thick.
(c) The Tana Kama holds that even someone who adhered to these specifications, is liable, would the oven cause damage. According to Raban Shimon ben Gamliel, when Chazal gave these Shiurim, they did so on the understanding - that whoever adheres to them is exempt from damages.

(d) If, according to the Tana Kama, Reuven wants to build an oven according to the above specifications and Shimon objects - the Din is with Shimon, because he is justifiably afraid that, when it comes to the crunch, Reuven will not have the money to pay.

(a) The Tana also forbids Reuven to open a bakery, a dyeing shop or a stable underneath Shimon's storehouse (of wheat [as we have already discussed]) - because the heat (in the case of the bakery and the dyeing shop) and the smell (in the case of the stable) are harmful to Shimon's crops.

(b) A bakery and a dyeing-shop are permitted underneath a winery, but not a stable - because, whereas heat and smoke improve the quality of the wine, the smell is harmful.

(c) We reconcile our Mishnah with the Beraisa, which gives the Shiur of cement for a Tanur in an attic as three Tefachim with the Beraisa 'be'Tanur Arba'ah, u've'Kirah, Sheloshah' - by establishing our Mishnah by a baker's oven, and the Beraisa by a private one. In fact, a private Tanur is comparable to a baker's Kirayim (and this has ramifications with regard to Hilchos Shabbos, too).

(a) The Beraisa rules that, if the stable was there first - Reuven may leave it standing.

(b) Whether, if Reuven has already swept the roof and cleared it of dust in preparation for turning it into a storehouse, Shimon may open a bakery ... or not - is the first in a series of She'eilos.

(c) We ask the same She'eilah if Shimon added windows for that purpose (where the indication of his intentions is even more marked than in the previous case). Assuming that in the previous two cases, the answer is positive, we ask - whether perhaps, seeing as in this case, Shimon actually built an entire structure, leaving not the least doubt of his intentions, Reuven might not be forbidden to open a bakery ... .

(d) When Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua asks 'Tamri ve'Rimoni Mahu', he means to ask - whether, if Shimon initially stocked his storehouse with dates or pomegranates (which are not damaged by the heat or by the smell), it is an indication that he will at some time, use it to store grain, or not.

(e) The outcome of these She'eilos is - Teiku ('Tishbi Yetaretz Kushyos ve'Ibayos')?

(a) Our Mishnah permitted opening a bakery and a dyeing shop underneath a winery, because smoke and heat enhance the wine. Rav Yosef comments however - that the wine 'nowadays' cannot even take the smoke of a candle.

(b) And Rav Sheishes says - that Aspasta (stubble of produce), which emits excessive heat and smell, is as harmful to a storehouse as a stable.

(a) Our Mishnah permits a resident of a Chatzer to protest if someone wants to open a store in the Chatzer, on the grounds - that he cannot sleep because of the noise made by his customers coming and going.

(b) However, if someone makes vessels in the Chatzer to sell in the market - there are no grounds for protest. His claim that he cannot sleep because of the noise of the worker's hammer or the mill or the voice of the children - will not be unheld.

(c) Assuming that the noise of the children refers to children who come to buy in the man's store, Abaye resolves the discrepancy between this ruling and the Reisha, where the Tana upheld his complaint - by establishing the Seifa by a store in a neighboring Chatzer.

(d) Rava disagrees, on the grounds that the Tana should then have said 'Chatzer Acheres Mutar'. So he explains 'the voice of children' in the Seifa to mean - the voice of children learning Torah ('Tinokos shel Beis Raban'), because of the Takanah of Yehoshua ben Gamla (which we are about to discuss).

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,