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Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bava Basra 134



(a) Shamai's error was based on the Mishnah in Nedarim concerning the episode that took place in Beis Choron - where the son of a man whose father was Mudar Hana'ah from his property, was about to get married. Having arranged the Se'udah in his own Chatzer ...

(b) ... he donated them to his friend, to enable his father to participate.

(c) The friend - promptly declared his gift Hekdesh.

(d) When the donor complained that that was not what he gave it to him for - he replied that it was clear that he only gave him the gift so that he and his father could sinfully make amends, at his expense (meaning that he was the Sheli'ach).

(a) The friend's (valid) argument was based on the principle - that if a Matanah is not valid to the extent that the recipient has the right to declare it Hekdesh, then it is not a Matanah.

(b) Consequently, had his father participated in the Se'udah under those circumstances, they would have transgressed the La'av of "Lo Yachel Devaro".

(c) Shamai based his complaint - on the principle that we just discussed. He understood that in the case of Yonasan ben Uziel too, since the owner did not wish his children to receive his estate, this would preclude Yonasan ben Uziel from giving it to them, in which case, the gift should be null and void.

(d) His mistake lay in the fact that, unlike in the episode of Beis Choron, the donor did not stipulate with Yonoson ben Uziel that he was to refrain from giving the property to his sons, in which case, there was nothing to prevent him from doing so.

(a) Hillel ha'Zaken had - eighty Talmidim.

(b) The first thirty were worthy for the Shechinah to rest on them like Moshe, but it didn't - because their generation did not deserve it.

(c) There were twenty in the middle. The other thirty were on the level - to stop the sun in the sky like Yehoshua (and Moshe) did.

(d) The ...

1. ... greatest of them all (see Rabeinu Gershom) was -Yonasan ben Uziel.
2. ... smallest of them all was - Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai.
(a) There doesn't seem to be much that Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai did not know: He knew T'nach, Mishnah and Agados (Medrashim, such as Tanchuma and Medrash Rabah). By ...
1. ... Gemara, he means - the understanding of the sayings of the earlier Tana'im by the later ones (even though the era of the Gemara per se had not yet even begun).
2. ... Halachos - Halachos le'Moshe mi'Sinai.
3. ... 'Dikdukei Torah' - extra letters, which come sometimes to include, sometimes to exclude, depending on the context.
4. ... 'Dikdukei Sofrim' - the Rabbinical decrees that Chazal issued (to prevent the transgressing of Torah laws).
(b) He knew all the Kal va'Chomers, the Gezeiros Shavos and Gematri'os (incorporating the acronyms). The 'Tekufos' - refers to the reckoning of the movement of the sun and the moon (for the purpose of working out Rosh Chodesh and the formation of leap years).

(c) He knew the speech of the angels and of the demons (i.e. to make them swear to him and do his bidding). And he could tell the future from the movement of the branches and the leaves of a palm tree (on days when the wind was not blowing). 'Mishlos Kovsin' and 'Mishlos Shu'alim' - are words of reprimand couched in parables of laundry-men and foxes (respectively).

(d) 'Davar ...

1. ... Gadol' - means 'Ma'aseh Merkavah' (which Yechezkel saw, and which serves as the basis of Kabalah).
2. ... Katan' - the 'Havayos de'Abaye ve'Rava' (i.e. all the She'eilos asked by the Amora'im, which had already been asked by the Tana'im, but had been forgotten by then).
5) The above describes the greatness of Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai. Yonasan ben Uziel was even greater, inasmuch as, in addition to all the above - when he studied Torah, the angels would come to listen, and any bird that flew past would get burned from their fire.


(a) Our Mishnah says that if Reuven says about Shimon ...
1. ... 'Zeh B'ni' - he is believed.
2. ... 'Zeh Achi' - he is not believed.
(b) This does not mean that (in the latter case) Shimon receives nothing. In fact - he receives the portion that Reuven admits is his (for example, if there is a third brother who queries Shimon's (unproven) relationship, and there are three fields, then the third brother takes one and a half fields, Reuven takes one, and Shimon, the remaining half).

(c) The Mishnah says that if Shimon dies, the property then reverts to where it came from (i.e. to Reuven). When the Tana talks about property that 'fell to him from somewhere else', he means - property that he either purchased or inherited.

(d) The third brother gets to share it with him - on the grounds of Reuven's admission that he was a brother.




(a) We refute Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel, who explains 'Zeh B'ni, Ne'eman' to mean that he is an heir and will inherit part of the Yerushah - on the grounds that it goes without saying, seeing as he is able to give it to him as a Matanah (as we have already learned).

(b) We cannot answer that we need the Tana to teach us that he is believed even regarding property that he has not yet acquired - because he is in fact, not believed.

(c) We did indeed learn earlier that a father is believed even as regards property that he acquired afterwards or on his death-bed (from "Yakir") - but that D'rashah is confined to the Cheilek Bechorah.

(a) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel also explains that 'Zeh B'ni' is believed 'li'Fetor es Imo mi'Yibum'. This is not obvious, in spite of the Mishnah in Kidushin 'Mi she'Amar be'Sha'as Miysaso' Yesh Li Banim, Ne'eman' - because that Mishnah speaks about a case where we do not know that he has a brother, whereas our Mishnah speaks even when we know that he has.

(b) The S'vara to differentiate between a case where we know that he has a brother (or a son) and one where we don't is - that in the latter case (based on a 'S'fek S'feika' [maybe he has no brothers, and even if he does, maybe he has a son, in which case, when the father says 'Zeh B'ni' he is merely substantiating the Chazakah that permits his wife to marry anyway]), his wife would be permitted to marry anyway.

(c) Even if a man then claimed to be a brother of the deceased - he would not be believed, and the widow would not even require Chalitzah.

(d) In our case, the father is only believed to say 'Zeh B'ni' against a Chazakah that he has a brother - but not if there are witnesses who testify to that effect.

9) In fact, if a man says 'Yesh Li Banim', he is also believed, and the reason that the Tana of our Mishnah presents a case of 'Zeh B'ni' is - to balance the Seifa 'Zeh Achi, Eino Ne'eman', where he wants to add 've'Yitol Imo be'Chelko' (which only makes sense if he actually identified him).


(a) A man is believed to say 'Zeh B'ni', said Rav Yosef quoting Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel, because he is believed to say 'Gerashti es Ishti'. Rav Yosef himself queries this - on the grounds that the former is a Mishnah, and the latter, no more than a statement of Amora'im, and Shmuel would not have connected something that has a source to something that does not.

(b) The significance of Rav Yosef querying his own quotations is - that he became ill and forgot many things that he learned from Rav Yehudah his Rebbe. That is why he often queries some of his own statements, and has to work on them to make sense of them.

(c) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel really said - that 'Zeh B'ni' is believed (to exempt his wife from Yibum), because of 'Ho'il' (the 'Migu' that he could have give her a Get [as we explained earlier]).

(d) And it is following that statement that Rav Yosef commented - now that we say 'Ho'il', we believe a husband who claims that he divorced his wife with a 'Migu' too (because he could give his wife a Get had he wanted).

(a) When Rav Yitzchak bar Yosef Amar Rebbi Yochanan said 'Ba'al she'Amar Gerashti Eino Ne'eman', Rav Sheishes reacted - by blowing in his hand, saying 'Rav Yosef's 'Ho'il has gone' just like that ...

(b) ... despite the 'Migu', because had his claim had any validity, there should have been a 'Kol' to that effect.

(a) We reconcile this ruing with Rebbi Chiya bar Avin, who quoted Rebbi Yochanan as saying 'Ne'eman' (like Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel) - by establishing the latter ruling from now on (but not retroactively).

(b) By 'mi'Ka'an u'Lehaba' we mean - that he either claimed to have divorced his wife 'S'tam', or that he specifically said 'from today' (but not when he gives a date in the past).

(c) The ramifications of the She'eilah whether he is believed retroactively or not will be - in a case where he claimed that he divorced his wife two week's earlier and in the interim she committed adultery. If he would have been believed retroactively, then she would be Patur from Miysah, whereas now that he is not, she is Chayav.

(d) We ask what the Din will be in a case where the husband claims that he divorced his wife previously - whether we accept the principle 'Palginan Dibureih' (to believe him from now on even though we do not believe him retroactively, because, when all's said and done, he could give her a Get now).

(a) And we cite Rav Mari and Rav Z'vid, who argue over this point. In a case where a man testifies that P'loni committed adultery with his wife - Rava accepts his testimony vis-a-vis 'P'loni', who will be sentenced to death, provided there is an additional witness (in spite of the fact that he is not believed vis-a-vis his wife).

(b) The basis of Rava's ruling is - the principle of 'Palginan Dibureih'.

(c) Rava might well agree with the opinion that does not accept 'Palginan Dibureih' in our case - because he only says it with regard to dividing a testimony that concerns two people, but not to divide a statement pertaining to one person into two time-periods.

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