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Bava Kama 38

BAVA KAMA 38 - Dedicated by Eli and Jeri Turkel of Ra'anana, Israel, in honor of the wedding of their neice, Jodi Weinblatt.

1) [line 6] "AMAD VA'YEMODED ERETZ, RA'AH VA'YATER GOYIM, [VA'YISPOTZETZU HAREREI-AD, SHACHU GIV'OS OLAM; HALICHOS OLAM LO.]" - "He stood, and shook the earth (alt. and apportioned the earth by measure); He beheld, and caused the nations to tremble; [and the everlasting mountains are dashed in pieces, the everlasting hills bow; His ways are as of old.]" (Chabakuk 3:6)

(a) People other than Jews are often referred to as Benei No'ach (since all of mankind is descended from No'ach). Mankind was commanded to keep seven Mitzvos from the time of Adam ha'Rishon and No'ach, before the Jewish nation existed. Although the Mitzvos of the Torah superceded these Seven Mitzvos for the Jewish nation, these Mitzvos remain binding to Benei No'ach today.
(b) The seven Mitzvos are:

1. Avodah Zarah, not to worship idols.
2. Birkas (i.e. Kilelas) HaSh-m, not to curse HaSh-m.
3. Shefichus Damim, not to murder.
4. Giluy Arayos, not to engage in illicit or incestuous relationships. (Besides adultery, the Gemara in Sanhedrin 58b discusses which relative it is prohibited for a Ben No'ach to marry.)
5. Gezel, stealing.
6. Ever Min ha'Chai, not to eat a limb that is detached from an animal when it is alive.
7. Dinim, appointing judges to keep law and order.
(c) All of these are general commandments with many details. Transgressing any one of them is considered such a breach in the natural order that the offender incurs the death penalty. Chazal termed this as, "Ben No'ach - Azharaso Zo Hi Misaso" - "Any act prohibited to a Ben No'ach invokes the death sentence" (RAMBAM Hilchos Melachim 9:14). Besides these seven major Mitzvos, Chazal received a tradition that there are other Mitzvos and prohibitions that are incumbent upon Benei No'ach (such as the prohibitions against a Ben No'ach keeping Shabbos and learning Torah -- see Sanhedrin 58a).
(d) The Rambam (ibid. 8:11) writes that all Benei No'ach who accept upon themselves the Seven Mitzvos and are careful to keep them are termed "Chasidei Umos ha'Olam" ("the Pious Ones of the nations") and they merit a share in the World to Come. However, they must keep these Mitzvos specifically because HaSh-m commanded them in the Torah through Moshe Rabeinu. If they keep and perform these Mitzvos as logical guidelines for the survival of the world, they are not termed "Chasidei Umos ha'Olam." When a Ben No'ach fulfills a Mitzvah of the Torah that is not prohibited to him, he receives the reward of an "Eino Metzuveh v'Oseh" - "one who performs a Mitzvah to which he was not commanded." This reward is less than the reward of one who performs Mitzvos in which he was commanded (Gemara here; Kidushin 31a).

3) [line 10] "HOFI'A ME'HAR PARAN" - "He revealed Himself from the Mountain of Paran" (Devarim 33:2) - HaSh-m offered the Torah to the Benei No'ach before he offered it to Benei Yisrael. When they did not accept it, he declared their possessions Hefker (ownerless). (Hofi'a in this context means to reveal or expose, which is equivalent to leaving things in the open, i.e. making them Hefker.)

4) [line 20] "[ACH ES ZEH TOCHLU, MI'KOL SHERETZ HA'OF HA'HOLECH AL ARBA; ASHER LO CHERA'AYIM MI'MA'AL L'RAGLAV,] L'NATER BAHEN AL HA'ARETZ." - "[Yet these may you eat of every flying creeping thing that goes upon all four, which have legs above their feet,] to leap with upon the earth." (Vayikra 11:21)

5) [line 20] L'KAPATZA VEHON AL AR'A - to leap with them upon the earth (similar to those nations that were sent into exile all over the world)

6) [line 22] ISGUREI ISGAR?! - Do they deserve a reward for not fulfilling them?!

7) [line 25] "[U'SHMARTEM ES CHUKOSAI V'ES MISHPATAI,] ASHER YA'ASEH OSAM HA'ADAM VA'CHAI BAHEM." - "You shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments; which if a man does, he shall live in them; I am HaSh-m." (Vayikra 18:5)

8) [line 28] GADOL HA'METZUVEH V'OSEH YOSER MI'MI SHE'EINO METZUVEH V'OSEH - one who performs Mitzvos in which he was commanded receives a greater reward than one who performs Mitzvos to which he was not commanded (Gemara here; Kidushin 31a)

9) [line 29] SERADYOTOS - Roman or Greek officers
10) [line 35] SHECHIVA LEI BARTA - his daughter died
11) [line 38] "AL TATZAR ES MO'AV V'AL TISGAR BAM MILCHAMAH" - "[And HaSh-m said to me,] 'You shall not distress Mo'av, neither contend with them in battle; [for I will not give you an inheritance from their land; because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot as an inheritance.']" (Devarim 2:9)

12) [last line] "TZAROR ES HA'MIDYANIM..." - "Harass the Midyanim, [and strike them.]" (Bamidbar 25:17)


13) [line 2] SHTEI PREIDOS TOVOS - two good fledglings
14) [line 10] MEKAPE'ACH - withhold
15) [line 11] BECHIRAH - the older daughter of Lot (see Bereishis 19:30-38)
16) [line 14] ANGARYA - to rule over them and force them to provide food and water for Benei Yisrael

17) [line 14] TZE'IRAH - the younger daughter of Lot (see Bereishis ibid.)

(a) The King of Ashur brought the people of Kusa to Eretz Yisrael and made them settle in the Shomron. They converted to Judaism after they found themselves under attack from lions. The Chachamim disagree as to whether their conversion was honest and valid (Geirei Emes) or not (Geirei Arayos).
(b) After the times of the Mishnah, the Kusim were found worshipping an image of a dove and the Chachamim gave them the status of Nochrim. (According to most Rishonim, this means that they decided to treat them like Nochrim l'Chumra, even if they were Geirei Emes. According to the RAMBAM (Peirush ha'Mishnayos), however, this means that they decided that their conversion was not sincere and deemed them Nochrim (Geirei Arayos) for all Halachic matters.)

19) [line 30] KESAMIM - literally "stains." Chazal declared a Jewish woman Teme'ah if she found certain colored stains on her undergarments

20) [line 30] REKEM - Petra, in Jordan (JOSEPHUS, TEVU'OS HA'ARETZ). Rekem is the Aramaic translation for places named "Kadesh" in Hebrew (see TARGUM ONKELOS to Bereishis 14:7, 16:14, 20:1, Bamidbar 20:16)

21) [line 36] SHE'LO YITME'U VAHEM - so that they do not mix with them

A girl is a Ketanah (minor) until she has two pubic hairs after she enters her twelfth year. During the following six months she is a Na'arah (maidenhood). When six months elapse she becomes a Bogeres (adult).

23) [line 38] KENAS (ONES)
If a man rapes a girl (between the ages of 12 and 12 1/2, according to Rebbi Meir, or 3 and 12 1/2, according to the Chachamim -- Kesuvos 29a), he must pay her father a fine of fifty Shekalim, as stated in the Torah (Devarim 22:28). This amount is the equivalent of a Kesuvah (dowry) of a virgin and is in addition to the payments of Pegam, Boshes and Tza'ar (Kesuvos 39a; see Background to Bava Kama 32:19). The man must also marry the girl and never divorce her, if the girl wishes to be his wife.

24) [line 38] MAMZERES
(a) There are prohibited marital relations that invalidate the ensuing offspring and render them Mamzerim. The Tana'im argue as to the nature of these prohibited relations. According to Rebbi Yehoshua, they must be relations that are punishable by Misas Beis Din (see Background to Kidushin 32:16). Rebbi Shimon ha'Timni rules that all relations that are punishable by Kares, even if they are not punishable by Misas Beis Din, produce a Mamzer (fem. Mamzeres). According to Rebbi Akiva, even relations that are prohibited by a Lav produce a Mamzer (Yevamos 49a). Other Tana'im argue regarding the opinion of Rebbi Akiva. There are those who assert that he rules that only relations prohibited by a Lav produce a Mamzer. Others hold that even those prohibited by an Aseh produce a Mamzer (except for a Kohen Gadol who has relations with a non-virgin -- Kesuvos 30a). The Halachah follows the opinion of Rebbi Shimon ha'Timni, that only relations punishable by Kares produce a Mamzer (Yevamos ibid.)
(b) A Mamzer is prohibited to marry into the community of HaSh-m, that is, Jewish people of unsullied lineage. He may, however, marry a Mamzeres and a Giyores (Mishnah Kidushin 69a). The Tana'im and Amora'im argue as to whether a Safek Mamzer is prohibited mid'Oraisa to marry both a Mamzeres and a Jewess of unsullied lineage, because of the doubt, or whether he is permitted mid'Oraisa to marry either of them, since he is not included in the category of Mamzer that the Torah prohibited (Yevamos 37a, Kidushin 73a, 74a).

25) [line 38] NESINAH
(a) In the times of Yehoshua, the Giv'onim (a people of the Chivi, one of the seven nations whom the Jewish People were commanded to destroy upon entering Eretz Yisrael) came and presented themselves before Yehoshua as if they came from a far-off land. Since they claimed not to be residents of Eretz Yisrael, they requested to be converted and to make peace with the Jewish People. After Yehoshua agreed to accept them, it was discovered that they were one of the seven prohibited nations. Having already accepted them, Yehoshua did not want to break his oath and covenant with them (even though they tricked him and the oath was uttered in error) so as not to cause a Chilul HaSh-m (a desecration of HaSh-m's Name). Yehoshua accepted them and appointed them to be woodchoppers and water drawers to supply the needs for the sacrificial service on the Mizbe'ach (Yehoshua 9:3-27). Earlier, in the times of Moshe Rabeinu, Giv'onim also came to be converted as they did in the times of Yehoshua, and Moshe also made them woodchoppers and water drawers. (This incident is not written explicitly. It is stated in the Gemara Yevamos 79a, and is based on the verse in Devarim 29:10.) These people became known as "Nesinim," (from the root "Nasan," to give) since they were "given over" by Moshe and Yehoshua ["va'Yitenem..." - "And he appointed them..." (Yehoshua 9:27)] to perform the tasks of chopping wood and drawing water.
(b) A Nesin is prohibited to marry into the community of HaSh-m, that is, Jewish people of unsullied lineage. RASHI and TOSFOS (Kesuvos 29a and elsewhere) argue as to whether they are prohibited mid'Oraisa or mid'Rabanan. We find that the Gemara (Yevamos 79a) states that Moshe Rabeinu "decreed" regarding the Nesinim of his generation, and Yehoshua extended the "decree" to last as long as the Mishkan or Beis ha'Mikdash would stand. David ha'Melech later extended the "decree" to include all time, even if the Beis ha'Mikdash would be destroyed (because of the trait of cruelty that the Nesinim exhibited, which showed that they were not worthy of uniting with the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov). According to Rashi, these decrees were prohibitions against marriage, and as such the prohibition against marrying Nesinim is an Isur mid'Rabanan. According to Tosfos, these decrees were appointments of servitude. The prohibition against marrying them, though, is mid'Oraisa, since the Torah commands against marrying the seven prohibited nations even if they convert to Judaism (Yevamos 76a).

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