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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bava Basra 123

BAVA BASRA 123 (11 Av) - dedicated by Eitan Fish in memory of his illustrious ancestor, Hagaon Rav Yitzchak Blazer ("Reb Itzele Peterburger"), author of "Kochevei Or" and "Pri Yitzchak" and one of the foremost Talmidim of Hagaon Rav Yisrael Salanter, Zatza"l. Reb Itzele passed away on 11 Av 5667 (1907) in Yerushalayim.



(a) When we say that a Bechor receives a double portion in his father's property, we mean one extra portion corresponding to one son.

(b) The logic behind this is the fact that when there five other brothers, he inherits one extra portion just like he does when there is one brother. The counter argument to this is - that we might equally well argue that he takes half the property, like he does when there is only one other brother.

(c) The Beraisa quotes several Pesukim to prove the above ruling. He will ultimately learn it from the B'nei Yosef, as we shall see - from a 'Binyan-Av', (which is really no more than a 'Giluy Milsa' - a revelation, since otherwise, we could not learn Divrei Torah from Divrei Kabalah [Nevi'im and Kesuvim]) that this is what the word "Bechorah" means.

(d) The Tana asks on the Pasuk ...

1. ... in Ki Seitzei "ve'Hayah be'Yom Hanchilo es Banav" (which we quote as an indication that the Torah grants the Bechor only one portion extra) - that we need this Pasuk to teach us the Din of Rebbi Yochanan ben Berokah (whom we cited on the previous Daf).
2. ... in Divrei Hayamim "u'Venei Reuven Bechor Yisrael ... u've'Chilelo Yetzu'ei Aviv Nitnah *Bechoraso* li'Venei Yosef" (which we try to learn by means of a 'Giluy Milsa' from the beginning of the Pasuk) - that "Bechoraso" is not quite the same as "Bechorah".
3. ... "Ki Yehudah ... ve'ha'Bechorah le'Yosef" - that this Pasuk gives no indication how much the extra portion of a Bechor entails.
4. ... (Vayechi) "va'Ani Nasati Lecha Sh'chem Echad al Achecha" - that "Sh'chem Echad" itself might be as little as a date-palm.
(a) The previous Kashya is what Rav Papa asked Abaye. He chose to ask him *this* Kashya, and not whether the B'nei Yosef did not inherit half the property, like we thought at first - because had the B'nei Menasheh (who were really only half a tribe) received so much (an entire portion), they would not have complained.

(b) Abaye replied - by quoting the Pasuk ''Ephrayim u'Menasheh ki'Reuven ve'Shimon Yih'yu Li", a definite proof that the B'nei Yosef received two portions (instead of the one that was due to Yosef).

(c) The Beraisa did not bother to quote Abaye's Pasuk - because the Tana took for granted that this is what the Torah meant by "Sh'chem Echad".

(a) When Ya'akov gave the double portion to Yosef - this did not mean that he was appointing him the Bechor in Reuven's place, because the Pasuk specifically writes "ve'Lo Le'hisyaches li'Bechorah" (which remained with Reuven).

(b) When Ya'akov said "Asher Lakachti mi'Yad ha'Emori *be'Charbi u've'Kashti*" - he meant the land that he took with his prayers and request (see Rashi on the Torah and Agados Maharsha).

(c) The Pasuk cannot be taken literally - because David ha'Melech said in Tehilim (with reference to Ya'akov) "Ki Lo be'Charbi Evtach ve'Charbi Lo Soshi'eni".

(a) Rebbi Chelbo asked Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni what Ya'akov Avinu saw to take away the Bechorah from Reuven and give it to Yosef. The latter did not like the question - because the Torah specifically writes that Reuven lost his rights because he desecrated Ya'akov's bed (when he switched the beds of Bilhah and Leah).

(b) So Rebbi Chelbo amended the question to why Ya'akov gave the Bechorah specifically to Yosef. To which Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni replied - that it was in payment for Yosef having fed him in Egypt for seventeen years.

(c) And he illustrated this with a parable - of a Balabos (Yosef) who brought up an orphan (Ya'akov, a stranger in Egypt). Eventually, when the orphan made it in life, he made a point of paying back the Balabos for his kindness.

(d) Rebbi Chelbo rejected this answer however - because Ya'akov ought to have paid Yosef out of his own pocket, not with the property of one of the brother's (and what he have done if Reuven had not sinned)?

(a) So he quoted Rebbi Yonasan (Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni's Rebbe) who explained that it was - because strictly speaking, the Bechor should have been born from Rachel, as the Torah specifically writes "Eileh Toldos Ya'akov, Yosef", and it was only because of Leah's tears that she gave birth before Rachel (see Agados Maharsha).

(b) Ya'akov certainly repaid Yosef for having fed him all those years - with the special B'rachos that he gave Ephrayim and Menasheh (including "ve'Yidgu la'Rov be'Kerev ha'Aretz", placing them outside the jurisdiction of the Ayin ha'Ra, as we learned earlier).

(c) Rebbi Elazar explains the Pasuk "ve'Einei Leah *Rakos*" to mean - that she would receive many gifts (she'Matnosehah *Aruchos*'), with reference to the Matanos that the tribe of Levi would later receive, and the Kingship that was given to Yehudah.

(d) He does not accept the literal interpretation of these words - because if the Torah refrains from speaking detrimentally about an animal (which it does in Parshas No'ach, by writing "Beheimah Asher Einenah Tehorah" instead of "Beheimah Teme'ah"), it will certainly not speak detrimentally about a Tzadik.

(a) Rav explains that her eyes were soft from crying - sparked off by hearing people predict that Eisav (Rifkah's elder son) would marry Leah (Lavan's elder daughter) and Ya'akov, Rachel, and then discovering that Eisav was a robber, and Ya'akov a Talmid-Chacham.

(b) She got to know about the characters of Ya'akov and Eisav - by sitting at the crossroads and making inquiries of passing travelers.

(c) We therefore interpret the phrase "va'Yar Hashem ki Senu'ah Leah" to mean - that the deeds of Eisav were detestable in her eyes.


1. Leah wrested the Bechorah away from Rachel - by means of her tears and prayers (that Hashem should spare her from Eisav) ...
2. ... and Rachel regained it (at least in part) - through her Tzeni'us, as we shall now see.
(a) When Ya'akov told Rachel that he was her father's brother (even though, he was really her father's sister's son, he meant - that, if, as Rachel had informed him, Lavan was a master trickster, he had met his match in himself.

(b) Ya'akov justified his willingness to swindle when dealing with Lavan - based on the Pasuk in Tehilim "Im Ikesh Titapal" (permitting one to fight a swindler, using his own methods).

(c) Ya'akov and Rachel guarded against Lavan's anticipated swindle - by implementing signs of recognition (which Chazal interpret as 'Nidah, Chalah and Hadlakas ha'Ner' by which Rachel would identify herself on the night of her wedding).

(d) All their plans however, came to naught however, when it came to the crunch. Lavan (and Leah) managed to trick Ya'akov in spite of it all - thanks to Rachel, who could not bear to see her sister put to shame in this way, so she divulged those signs to her (an act of piety for which she regained the Bechorah, as we just saw).

(e) In this way, we can understand the Pasuk "Vayehi ba'Boker ve'Hineh Hi Leah" - implying that the whole night, she was Rachel and not Leah (which is what she had giving Ya'akov to believe).




(a) When Rebbi Chiya bar Aba told Aba Chalifa the Chumash expert that the seventieth (unspecified) person who went down to Egypt (and the thirty-third member of the tribe of Levi) was a twin sister whom Leah bore together with Dinah - he retorted that, if that were so, we may as well count the extra twin who was born with Binyamin, making the number seventy-one (see Agados Maharsha).

(b) When the latter replied 'Margalis Tovah Haysah be'Yadi ve'Atah Mevakesh le'Abdah Mimeni' - he meant that he wanted to guard the real answer like a precious pearl, which Aba Chalifa had now forced him to reveal (though in reality, he was just sharpening his wits).

(c) The pearl was in the form of a statement by Rebbi Chama bar Chanina, whom we quoted above - who gave the seventieth person as Yocheved bas Levi.

(a) Rebbi Chelbo also asked Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni why Ya'akov waited for the birth of Yosef before taking leave of Lavan, to which he replied - that Ya'akov foresaw that Eisav would only fall into the hands of Yosef (even though Yosef was only just born).

(b) If "the House of Ya'akov will be fire and the House of Yosef the spark, the House of Eisav will be - straw" (Ovadyah).

(c) When Rebbi Chelbo asked Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeni from the Pasuk in Shmuel, which describes the defeat of Amalek, who had taken captive the wives of himself and his men, at the hand of David (who was from Yehudah), he reprimand him before citing a Pasuk from Divrei Hayamim - by declaring that whoever taught him Nevi'im, had not taught him Kesuvim.

(d) He answered ...

1. ... this Kashya - by pointing to the Pasuk which specifically states that on his way to Tziklag, a string of men, heads of the thousands of *Menasheh*, joined his troop.
2. ... Rav Yosef, when he asked from the Pasuk which refers to five hundred men from the B'nei Shimon, who also defeated Amalek, led by sons of Yish'i, before taking over their territory - by pointing to another Pasuk, which lists Yish'i too, as a member of the tribe of *Menasheh*.
(a) The Beraisa includes the Zero'a, the Lechayayim and the Keivah, as well as Hekdesh (both of which will be explained shortly), among the father's property of which a Bechor receives double. When the Tana includes 'Sh'vach she'Shavchu Nechasim le'Achar Miysas Avihen', he means (besides a 'Parah Muchkeres u'Muskeres be'Yad Acherim') - a cow grazing in a public meadow that gives birth.

(b) A 'Parah ...

1. ... Muchkeres be'Yad Acherim' - is a cow that their father gave to someone as an investment, to share the profits.
2. ... Muskeres... ' - means a cow that he rented to him for a fixed rental.
(c) The Bechor does not however, receive double of houses or vineyards that were built or planted by the heirs themselves - because it is a profit that came about through the work of the heirs themselves (unlike the Reisha, which constitutes an automatic profit).
(a) If the Zero'a, the Lechayayim and the Keivah (the right foreleg, the cheeks and the stomach of any Chulin animal, which are given to a Kohen) were already given to the father, then it is obvious that his heirs will receive double. If, on the other hand, they were not - then it is Ra'uy, and we have already learned that a Bechor does not receive an extra portion in whatever is Ra'uy.

(b) When the Tana incorportes them among the things that the heirs receive, he must be speaking - about Makirei Kehunah (a town whose residents were relatives of [or otherwise very close to] their father), who always give these particular Matanos to him, with a complete Kinyan, immediately after their animals have been Shechted.

(c) And we establish the case when the animal was Shechted in their father's lifetime (despite the fact that the Matanos had not yet been separated) - because this Tana is coming to teach us that 'Matanos she'Lo Hurmu keMi she'Hurmu Damyan' (even though the Matanos were not yet separated, it is as if they were').

(a) We answer the Kashya 'that Hekdesh did not belong to their father to begin with', by establishing th Beraisa like Rebbi Yossi Hagelili, who learns from the Pasuk "u'Ma'alah Ma'al ba'Hashem" - that Kodshim Kalim are considered the personal property of the owner, even to be Mekadesh a woman with them.

(b) He learns that from this Pasuk - because "ba'Hashem" implies that they basically belong to Hashem.

(c) On the other hand, this D'rashah is confined to Kodshim Kalim - on which there is no Me'ilah, implying that to some degree, the owner remains the owner ("u'Ma'alah Ma'al" in the context of the current simply means that he denied falsely), because there where there is Me'ilah, the animal is not his, and there is no claimant (to admit or deny to).

(d) Rebbi Yossi Hagelili (i.e. the Pasuk "u'Ma'alah Ma'al ba'Hashem") is speaking - about Reuven who denies under oath, having an article belonging to Shimon, in his possession.

(a) Chata'os and Ashamos, which are not Kodshim Kalim, are not included in Rebbi Hagelili's Chidush, (as we already explained). Even Kodshim Kalim are not considered his either - once they have been Shechted, because then, the owner receives the flesh from the table of Hashem.

(b) Having taught us that a Bechor inherits a Muchkeres and Muskeres, which are not in their father's jurisdiction, the Tana nevertheless needs to add a cow that is grazing in the public meadow and which gave birth, which is - to teach us that the former, like the latter (which by definition, means that it does not need feeding) are not being fed by the heirs (otherwise, the Bechor will not receive a double portion).

(c) Still, the Tana did not just insert the latter, and omit the former - because we would then have thought that, since the profit in this case is not automatic, but by virtue of the Choker and the Socher (who are Sheluchim of the heirs), feeding it, it is considered as if the heirs had fed it themselves.

(d) The author of this Beraisa is Rebbi - according to the Chachamim, a Bechor never receives a double portion of profits that accrued after his father's death.

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