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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bava Basra 101

BAVA BASRA 101-105 - Sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.



(a) Rebbi Shimon differs radically from the Tana Kama, whose opinion we have just discussed. According to him, Reuven would need to dig ...
1. ... four caves for Shimon in the Chatzer.
2. ... thirteen Kuchin in each cave, four on each of the two walls adjacent to the Chatzer, three in the opposite wall and two additional ones which will be discussed in the Sugya.
(b) The measurements of each cave will therefore be - six by eight Amos.

(c) According to both Tana'im, the Chatzer needs to be six by six Amos - to accommodate the Aron and those carrying it.

(d) Even Rebbi Shimon agrees that Reuven would need to dig - only one Chatzer.

(a) The Tana first discusses the Din of a cave, then the Chatzer and then the two caves that flank the Chatzer - not because the Tana Kama requires three caves (since if that were so, the Kashya that we will ask later about the Kuchin overlapping according to Rebbi Shimon would pertain equally to the Tana Kama).

(b) The Tana choose to begin with the Din of the cave, before that of the Chatzer - because a Chatzer by definition, must lead on to something. Consequently if the cave had not preceded the Chatzer, it could not be referred to as a Chatzer.

(c) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel says at the conclusion of our Mishnah 'ha'Kol K'fi ha'Sela' - by which he means that the number of Kuchin must be determined by the toughness of the rock (and cannot be fixed in the way that the Tana Kama and Rebbi Shimon do).

(a) The two extra Kuchin, according to Raban Shimon, cannot be situated on the side adjoining the Chatzer, actually dug into the floor of the Chatzer, for two reasons, one of them because 'ha Misdashi Lehu' - which means that in that case the people who enter the Chatzer will be trampling on top of the two Kuchin that are dug into the Chatzer from the cave (in an organized way, which would be disrespectful, as opposed to those who walk over the caves en passant on their way to bury their Meis, which is more casual).

(b) The second objection is - that this would clash with a Mishnah in Ohalos 'Chatzer ha'Kever, ha'Omed be'Tocho Tahor'.

(c) We object to Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina's explanation that one digs them there, only vertically, like a bolt (so that the bodies are buried in a standing position) on the basis of a statement of Rebbi Yochanan - who argues that this is how one buries a donkey (and is therefore not Kavod ha'Meis).

(d) According to Rebbi Yochanan - the two extra Kuchin jut diagonally from the two corners between the opposite wall and the adjacent ones ('be'Keren Zavis').




(a) By explaining the 'Keren Zavis' of Rebbi Yochanan to mean in the corner beside the entrance of the cave, jutting out diagonally between the wall of the entrance and the side adjacent to it - we would better understand why, after establishing that these two Kuchin must be dug at a lower level than the two Kuchin next to them, one does not dig more Kuchin at a lower level along the rest of the cave. This is because, due to the many Kuchin that fill the rest of the cave, the earth there is not as hard as that of the corner next to the entrance (and we are afraid that the earth in which the top Kuchin are dug will cave in). Note however, that we will abandon this S'vara immediately.

(b) Nevertheless, in addition to the fact that this does not fit the description 'Keren Zavis', we reject it on he grounds - that if that were so, Reuven ought to dig Kuchin at two levels all along the cave.

(c) We query this on the grounds that those two diagonal Kuchin are then bound to touch the two Kuchin on either side of them. Rav Ashi ...

1. ... resolves this problem - by obligating Reuven to dig them one Amah lower than the rest of the Kuchin.
2. ... proves his point - from the first two respective Kuchin on the two sides adjacent to the entrance, each of which protrudes four Amos from the wall in the direction of the other Kuch, which, although barely an Amah divides between them, protrudes four Amos at right angles to it.
(d) And the reason that Reuven only digs these four Kuchin at a lower level, and not another complete set of Kuchin underneath the first one is - because Kuchin flanked along their entire length on both sides by other Kuchin (even at two levels) would weaken the earth in which they are dug, causing them to cave in. The four Kuchin in question, are only flanked on one side in one case, and jut diagonally between the two that flank them on the other (and not along the entire length).
(a) Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua tries to solve our problem with Rebbi Shimon by establishing that the four Kuchin along the two lengths of the caves are dug 'ka'Charuta' (like the branches of a date-palm) - meaning that they all jutted diagonally in he same direction from the cave (eliminating the need to dig any Kuchin in the corners).

(b) By explaining Rebbi Shimon in this way - he dispenses with the need to dig any Kuchin at a second level.

(a) Despite the advantage of Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua's explanation, we dismiss it as a joke - since it would simply not be possible to fit the Kuchin into the space provided, as we shall now see.

(b) The hypotenuse of a triangle whose other two sides are equal - exceeds each of those two sides by one and two fifths.

(c) Consequently, the problem with Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua, translated into practical terms, is - that it is not possible to fit eight Kuchin (i.e. eight Amos for the Kuchin plus seven for the spaces in between) into eleven and a fifth Amos (the diagonal of a triangle whose other two sides are each eight Amos).

(a) We find another way of eliminating the need to dig two levels of Kuchin (according to Rebbi Shimon), by citing Rav Shisha B'rei de'Rav Idi - who will later in the Sugya refer to small Kuchin for Nefalim (still-born babies), which we now apply to the four Kuchin in question. Due to their narrow width and short length, these Kuchin do not encroach on the neighboring Kuchin in the one case, and on each other, in the other.

(b) The fact that there is not a space of an Amah between the Kuchin concerned and the full-size ones is not a problem however - because, due to their smaller size, a narrow wall between them, however thin, will eliminate the danger of the one Kuch causing the other to cave in.

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