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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bava Basra 90



(a) The Tana goes on to list the liquid measures that one is permitted to keep in the house: 'Hin, Chatzi Hin, Shelishis ha'Hin, Revi'is ha'Hin, Log, Chatzi Log, Revi'is, Sheminis and Kortov - which is a sixteenth of a Log (or, according to other texts, a sixty-fourth).

(b) The liquid measure 'Hin' is the equivalent of the solid measure 'Tarkov' (which is three Kabin, as we explained earlier).

(c) Continuing with the comparison, half a Hin is equivalent to half a Tarkav, and the solid equivalent of the liquid a third of a Hin - is a Kav.

(d) Chazal did not institute a liquid measure for an eighth of a Hin (one and a half Lugin) - because it is too similar to the half-Kav solid measure (which is equivalent to two Lugin, only less than a quarter more than it, and which people would therefore confuse [and the seller would take advantage of the confusion to use the smaller measure when selling the larger amount]).

(a) The equivalent solid measure of the liquid ...
1. ... Log - is a quarter of a Kav.
2. ... Chatzi Log - is a Tomen (an eighth of a Kav).
3. ... Revi'is ha'Log - is a Chatzi Tomen.
(b) There is no solid measure for an eighth of a Log (half an egg-volume) like there is by its liquid counterpart - because it is unusual to weigh such small amounts of solids. On the odd occasion that one does measure solids that are small and precious, one either assesses their value or weighs them.
(a) We refute the reasoning that Chazal did not institute a solid measure of two Kabin because it is similar to ...
1. ... a Tarkav (a third more) - because we would then ask why Chazal instituted the Kav measure, which is only a third less than half a Tarkov (one and a half Kabin).
2. ... half a Tarkav (a quarter more) - because we would then ask why they instituted both a Chatzi Tomen and an Uchla, which are only different by a fifth as we explained earlier.
(b) Rav Papa repudiates the latter Kashya by confining the fear of confusing one measure with another to large measures, but not to small ones, such as Chatzi Tomen ve'Uchla, with which people are well-acquainted.

(c) They nevertheless instituted the third and quarter of a Hin measures (despite the fact that the one is only a quarter more than the other) - because both of them were used in the Beis ha'Mikdash (as we learned earlier 'Shenasos Hayu be'Hin ... ')

(d) Neither did they want to decree in the Beis-Hamikdash itself - where we have a principle 'Kohanim Zerizin Heim' (meaning that the Kohanim, who are swift and alert, are not prone to making such mistakes).

(a) When Shmuel said 'Ein Mosifin ...
1. ... al ha'Midos Yoser mi'Shetus', he meant - that if Beis-Din decides to increase the measures of the town (from a Kur to a Revi'is), then they may only add up to one sixth (a measure that held for example, five egg-volumes, will now hold six [meaning that they decreased the composition of the commodity by one sixth]).
2. ... al ha'Matbe'a Yoser mi'Shetus', he meant that the same rule applies to coins (in other words, they inflated the value of the coins)
(b) The third thing that Shmuel added to this list is - that a store-keeper may earn a maximum of one sixth more than he paid the wholesaler for the wine or fruit.

(c) This third ruling will not apply - if he purchased the goods in the cheap season (when the corn is still in the barn), and is selling them later when the higher price has been announced (because then, he is permitted to profit commensurate with the price rise).

(d) This prohibition - is not a branch the La'av of Ona'ah, which is d'Oraysa, but a Takanas Chachamim, for reasons that will now be discussed.

(a) The Chazal's reason for this Takanah cannot be for fear that merchants who bring their wares to sell will raise their prices accordingly (causing prices to spiral uncontrollably) - because then there would be no reason for Chazal to confine the Takanah to *more than* a sixth.

(b) So we suggest that it is because of Bitul Mekach, which means - that should a merchant from out of town sell five Kabin for five Dinrim, then, as long as the increase (of which he is unaware) is confined to a sixth, he will now inadvertently be giving six Kabin instead of five, entailing Ona'ah, which will enable him to claim his loss from the purchaser. Whereas if they were to increase the measures by more than a sixth, it would be a case of Bitul Mekach, and the entire sale would be nullified, which is something which the Chachamim would want to avoid.

(c) We refute this suggestion too, on the basis of Rava, who said - that whatever is measured, weighed or counted is immediately subject to Bitul Mekach (even if it is exactly a sixth).

(a) Perhaps, we then think, the object of the Takanah is to prevent the merchant from making a loss on his sale. This mean - that by allowing the merchant to gain a sixth, increasing the measures by a sixth (but not more) at least ensures that he does not lose anything (even if he doesn't gain either).

(b) But we refute this explanation too, on the basis of the principle 'Zavan ve'Zavin Tagra Ikri' (Do you call someone who buys and sells at the same price [without making any profit] a merchant!?).

(c) If this had been the reason, Shmuel ought to have said - 'Ein Mosifin al ha'Midos Sh'tus Ki-im *Pachos mi'Shetus*'.

(a) Rav Chisda concludes that Shmuel based his ruling on a Pasuk in Yechezkel. When the Navi writes "ve'ha'Shekel Esrim Geirah, Esrim Shekalim, Chamishah ve'Esrim Shekalim, Asarah va'Chamishah Shekel, ha'Manah", he means - that a Manah comprises sixty Shekalim.

(b) He breaks up the Shekalim in this way - because in some places, it seems, a Manah comprised twenty Shekalim, in others, twenty-five, and in some places, fifteen.

(c) "Shekel" in this context refers to - a Sela (because a Shekel of Kodesh is double, and two Shekalim comprise a Sela).

(d) There are ...

1. ... five Geirah in a Dinar.
2. ... four Dinrim in a Sela.



(a) According to Yechezkel - two hundred and forty Dinrim comprise sixty Shekalim.

(b) One would normally expect to find - a hundred Dinrim in a Manah.

(c) Yechezkel refers to two hundred and forty Dinrim - because to begin with, a Manah of Kodesh (just like a Shekel of Kodesh) is double a Manah of Chulin.

(d) We can also learn from Yechezkel - that Beis-Din may increase the measures (that when they do, they may add the maximum of a sixth) and that the sixth under discussion is a sixth of the total (which we would refer to as a fifth).

(e) This is not considered four Chidushim - because confining the addition to a sixth is not contained in the Pasuk (and is the Chachamim's own decision).

(a) Rav Papa introduced a measure of three Kepizi - which is the equivalent of nine Lugin.

(b) We ask how he could do this, in view of Shmuel's prohibition of increasing a measure by more than a sixth. The problem is - that this measure is a third more than a Chatzi Tarkav (which is six Lugin).

(c) We could also have asked from a Tarkav measure (twelve Lugin) - inasmuch as three Kepizi is a quarter less.

(d) Rav Papa bar Shmuel justified his actions - by pointing out that at that point, the town did not have measures of either a Chatzi Tarkav or a Tarkav.

(e) In Pumbedisa, they did not accept his answer (presumably, because nonetheless, these are official measures, irrespective of the fact that they did not have them) but in Papunya they did. They referred to him there as 'Roz' [or 'Don] Papa') - because this is what that measure was called in that area.

(a) Hashem swears that He will never forgive the deeds of four kinds of people, says the Pasuk in Amos: Otzrei Peiros, Malvei be'Ribis, Maktinei Eifah and Mafki'ei She'arim. 'Otzrei Peiros' are - people who buy up the crops, which they then store for long periods of time, to create a scarcity and the opportunity of selling them at high prices later (sometimes in the Sh'mitah year). This case (as well as the others, is considered exploitation of the poor).

(b) It is permitted however - when the majority of the town's residents are gentiles.

(c) Mafki'ei She'arim too, force up the price of the produce in a similar way. The difference between them and Otzrei Peiros is - that whereas the latter store the crops for long periods, *they* do it in the short term (e.g. for just a month until after the barn-season).

(d) 'Maktinei Eifah' are - people who keep the measures low, so that the purchasers should receive as little as possible for their money.

(a) Shabsi Otzar Peiri was - a professional 'Otzar Peiri' (see Rabeinu Gershom)

(b) It is however, permitted - to store the crops in the barn-season, to sell them later when the price rises, at the original cost (even though this causes the prices to rise).

(c) When we relate how Shmuel's father used to sell fruit 'be'Tar'a Charfa, ke'Tar'a Charfa', we mean - that he used to sell the crops cheaply in the barn-season (when the prices were still cheap).

(d) Shmuel his son - used to store the crops in the barn-season, to sell them later after the prices rose, at the original cost (as we discussed earlier).

(e) They sent from Eretz Yisrael that the deeds of the father were preferable to those of the son - because whereas Shmuel forced the prices up, Shmuel's father kept the prices down (due to the principle 'Tar'a de'Ravach Ravach', which means that once the price starts out low, it is liable to remain low).

(a) When Rav says 'Oseh Adam es Kabo Otzar' - he means to confine the prohibition of Otzar to someone who specifically purchases fruit with the intention of hoarding it, but not to someone who hoards his own crops, which is permitted.

(b) The corroborating Beraisa - forbids hoarding even one's own corn during the time of famine ...

(c) ... if it is for selling (because it has an adverse affect on the price). Storing for one's personal and family's needs for the year is permitted even in time of famine.

(d) The Tana ...

1. ... forbids making an Otzar of wine, oil and flour (which are indispensable) ...
2. ... but permits making one of spice, cumin and peppers (which are not).
(a) Rebbi Yossi be'Rebbi Chanina ordered Puga his slave to store fruits for Erev Shevi'is, Shevi'is - so that food should be available should it be needed; and for Motza'ei Shevi'is - to offset the possibility of people dying of hunger.

(b) He based his ruling - on a Beraisa, which permits it.

(c) Despite the fact that Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina was an Amora, who lived after the Churban Beis-Hamikdash, he maintained that Sh'mitah applied in his time - because he held that the original Kedushah of Eretz Yisrael was took effect once and for all time.

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