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Bava Basra 25

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) Our Mishnah requires a distance of fifty Amos between the town and carcasses, graves and tanneries and the town - because of the stench.

(b) The Tana Kama forbids setting up a tannery anywhere other than on on the east side of the town - because the east-wind is generally warm and gentle, and (in contrast to the other winds) is unlikely to carry the smell into the town.

(c) Rebbi Akiva - permits setting up a tannery on any side of the town other than on the west.

(d) We have already discussed the Machlokes between the Chachamim and Rebbi Yossi. The Chachamim require Reuven to leave a distance between his soaking-house and Shimon's vegetable-garden, his cress and Shimon's onions and his mustard-seeds and Shimon's bees. Rebbi Yossi - permits Reuven to plant his mustard-seeds close to Shimon's bees.

(a) Rebbi Akiva in our Mishnah concludes with the words 'u'Marchik Chamishim Amah', by which he might mean that one may set up one's tannery right up to the boundary of the town on any side except for the west, where he must keep a distance of fifty Amos. Alternatively, Rebbi Akiva means - that on any other side, one may set up one's tannery provided he keeps it at a distance of fifty Amos, except for the west side, where it is forbidden under any circumstances.

(b) We resolve this She'eilah from a Beraisa, where Rebbi Akiva categorically explains his opinion - to conform with the second side of the She'eilah.

(c) Rebbi Akiva in the Beraisa concludes 'Mipnei she'Hi Tedira'. According to Rava, this cannot mean that the west wind is the most common of the winds - because as we learned in the name of Rav, that is a privilege enjoyed by the north wind, which blows with all the other winds ('otherwise, the world could not possibly exist').

(d) What Rebbi Akiva must therefore mean is - that the west wind is 'Tedira bi'Shechinah', meaning that it is the one that is commonly found with the Shechinah, which is in the west.

(a) Based on the Pasuk "u'Tzeva ha'Shamayim Lecha Mishtachavim" (referring to the sun and the moon) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi states - that as they travel from east to west, they are prostrating themselves before Hashem, a proof that the Shechinah is in the west.

(b) Rav Acha bar Ya'akov objects to this proof however - on the grounds that the Pasuk might be referring to their taking leave from Hashem, and their prostration actually reflects their exit, which would then prove that the Shechinah is in the east.

(c) According to Rav Chanan bar Aba (or bar Rava) Amar Rav, the south wind is the strongest of the four winds. What stops it from destroying the world is - an angel called ben Netz (because he is in the shape of a hawk), who keeps the wind in check with his wings.

(d) Rebbi Oshaya disagrees. Based on the Pasuk in Iyov "ha'Sishlach Berakim va'Yeilchu va'Yomru Lecha Hinenu" (and not "va'Yeilchu va'Yavo'u va'Yomru"), he interprets Hashem's uniqueness expressed in the above Pasuk "Atah Hu Hashem Levadecha" - on the fact that Hashem's Shechinah is everywhere. Consequently, when his Sheluchim leave His presence, they do not need to return to Him to report on their Shelichus, but can do so wherever they are.

(a) And Tana de'Bei Rebbi Yishmael extrapolate from the Pasuk "ve'Hinei ha'Mal'ach ha'Dover Bi Yotzei, u'Mal'ach Yotzei Likraso" (rather than "Yotzei Acharav") where we see that the second angel sent to negate the Shelichus of the first, did not follow him to give him the message, but came (from the presence of Hashem) to meet him - the very same thing as Rebbi Oshaya.

(b) Rav Sheishes (who was blind) also prescribes to this opinion. Which explains why he instructed his servant - to place him facing in any direction whenever the time came to Daven the Amidah, but for eastwards.

(c) He declined to face the east (not because he held that the Shechinah is not in the east, but) - because that is the direction which the disciples of Yeshu turned when they prayed.

(a) Rebbi Avahu on the other hand, is of the opinion that the Shechinah is in the west. Assuming that Uri'ah means west in Persian, he describes the word in acronym form as 'Avir Kah' (the area of Hashem).

(b) Alternatively, Uri'ah might mean 'east', and 'Avir Kah' refers, not to the area of the Shechinah, but to the area facing the Shechinah.

(c) Rav Yehudah Amar Rav establishes the Pasuk in Ha'azinu "Ya'arof ka'Matar Likchi ... " in connection with the four winds. The Pasuk is really talking about the Torah, and the connection lies in the fact - that Torah, just like the four winds, is indispensable.

(d) "Ya'arof ka'Matar Likchi" refers to the west because it comes from 'Ma'arafo shel Olam'. This might mean 'the strength of the world', a reference to the west, because that is where the Shechinah is situated. Alternatively - it refers to the back of the world (since that is where the sun sets), and is a derivative of 'Oref' (the back of the neck).

1. "Tizal ka'Tal Imrassi" refers to the north wind - inasmuch as it causes gold to become cheap (from the word 'Zol' cheap). This it does by causing heat-waves, followed by hunger.
2. "ki'Se'irim Alei Deshe" to the east wind - because it stirs up the world (with storm-winds) like a demon.
3. "ve'chi'Revivim Alei Eisev" to the south wind - because it brings rain-drops and causes the grass to grow.
(a) When Rebbi Eliezer says that the world is compared to a sun-porch - he is referring to the revolution of the sun, which traverses three sides of the world, but when it gets to the north-western corner, it rises and disappears over the roof of the sky (to reappear over the earth in the north eastern corner the next morning).

(b) Rebbi Yehoshua disagrees. He compare the world to a box - inasmuch as the sun traverses all four sides, only when it arrives at the north-western corner, it enters a window and travels along the northern border behind the world.

(c) Rebbi Yehoshua bases his statement on the Pasuk in Koheles "Holech el Darom ve'Sovev el Tzafon ... ". In this context ...

1. ... 'Holech' refers to - the path that the sun takes during the day.
2. ... 'Sovev' refers to - the path it takes during the night.
(d) When the Pasuk writes "Sovev Sovev, Holech ha'Ru'ach ... ", it refers to - the east and the west, which the sun traverses in the long summer days, but not in the short witer days.



(a) The Tana of the Beraisa, commenting on the Pasuk in Iyov, explains that "min ha'Cheder Tavo Sufah" refers to the stormy south-wind. "u'mi'Mezarim Karah", he explains - refers to the cold wind from the north, which is breached (like the fourth side of a sun-porch, as Rebbi Eliezer learned earlier).

(b) When Iyov says ...

1. ... "mi'Nishmas Keil Yiten Kerach", he is referring to - the west-wind.
2. ... "ve'Rochav Mayim be'Mutzak" - the east-wind.
(c) Although we learned earlier that it is the south-wind that brings rain and causes plants to grow - that is because it blows gently, whereas the east wind brings heavy showers.
(a) Rav Chisda infers from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "va'Yigzor al Yamin ve'Ra'ev va'Yochal al S'mal ve'Lo Save'u" - that from the day that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, (even) the south-wind no longer brings good rains.
2. ... "Tzafon ve'Yamin Atah Berasam" - that when the Pasuk speaks about 'Yemin' (the right side) in this context, it is referring to the south-wind.
(b) Rafram bar Papa extrapolates from the Pasuk "Yiftach Hashem es Otzaro ha'Tov" - that ever since the destruction of the Beis-Hamikdash (when Yisrael are not fulfilling the will of Hashem), the rain no longer comes from Hashem's good storehouse.

(c) When Rebbi Yitzchak gives a Si'man 'Shulchan be'Tzafon, u'Menorah be'Darom', he is talking about - Davenning towards the south for wisdom and towards the north for riches.

(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi disagrees with Rebbi Yitzchak. Based on the Pasuk in Yirmiyah "Orech Yamim bi'Yeminah u'vi'Semolah Osher ve'Chavod", he advocates - that either way, one Davens towards the south, because riches follows in the wake of wisdom.

(b) We reconcile this with his own statement earlier 'Shechinah be'Ma'ariv' - by explaining that, in fact, someone who is Davenning for wisdom or riches should Daven facing the south-west.

(c) Rebbi Chanina instructed Rav Ashi (or Rebbi Yoshiyah) to Daven towards the south - because Bavel is north of Eretz Yisrael, and he holds that when Davenning, one should face the Beis-Hamikash.

(d) Despite the fact that there were no atlases in those days, he knew that Bavel was north of Eretz Yisrael - from the Pasuk in Yirmiyah "mi'Tzafon Tipasach ha'Ra'ah" (referring to Nevuchadnetzar, King of Bavel, who would attack Eretz Yisrael from the north).

(a) Earlier in the Perek, we already discussed our Mishnah 'Marchikin es ha'Ilan min ha'Bor Esrim-ve'Chamesh Amah' - irrespective of whether they are both on the same level, or, assuming that they are both on a hill, whether the tree is higher up on the slope or lower down.

(b) Reuven must distance his carob and sycamore trees - fifty Amos from Shimon's pit, because it has many roots.

(c) The Tana Kama differentiates between whether the pit was there first or the tree. Rebbi Yossi maintains - that either way, Reuven is not obligated to move his tree away from Shimon's pit (as we have already learned a number of times).

(d) According to the Tana Kama, Reuven is obligated to distance his tree from Shimon's pit if it is ...

1. ... higher up on the slope than Shimon's pit is - because then the roots damage Shimon's pit directly.
2. ... lower down than it - because then, they weaken the earth underneath the pit, creating a likelihood that it will subsequently cave in.
(a) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel rules like Rebbi Yossi in our Mishnah. Rebbi Yossi concedes however - in a case where Reuven performs an action that actually causes Shimon direct damage at the time (e.g. if, when he washes his hands, the water pours on to Shimon or on to his property through a crack in his floor [as we learned in 'ha'Bayis ve'ha'Aliyah']), that it is up to the Mazik to move away from the Nizak.

(b) After Papi Yuchna'ah struck it rich - he built himself a mansion.

(c) He took those sesame-seed oil-makers to a Din-Torah - because when they ground their seeds, it caused his mansion to shake.

(d) Rav Ashi quoted Rav Kahana, who stated that Rebbi Yossi conceded that the Mazik had to move 'be'Girei Dilei'. Papi Yuchna'ah was told to determine whether or not, it was indeed a case of 'Girei Dilei' or not - by placing a jar on a wall with its lid on, and then checking whether the lid shook when they ground their sesame-seeds.

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