THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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Bava Kama, 101
BAVA KAMA 101 (19 Cheshvan) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Chaim Mordechai ben
Harav Yisrael Azriel (Feldman) of Milwaukee by the members of his family.
1) A THIEF WHO STEALS WOOL AND DYE
QUESTION: The Gemara asks whether there is "Shevach Samanin Al ha'Tzemer" or
not. Is the dye on the wool considered to be in existence in its original
form, or is it considered to be consumed by the wool? The Gemara explains
that the practical difference is in a case where a thief stole dye and wool
from one person, and then he colored the wool with the dye. If the dye is
considered to be present, then the thief can simply return the dyed wool in
its present state, and it is considered as though he is returning both the
dye and the wool. If the dye is not considered to be present, then the thief
must return the wool plus the value of the dye which is no longer present.
The Gemara asks what is the difference if he must return the value of the
dye? Since the wool is now dyed, it is worth more than it was worth when he
stole it, and therefore the thief -- by returning the dyed wool -- has
returned both the wool and the value of the dye!
The Gemara answers that the market price of dyed wool depreciated, so that
dyed wool is not worth as much as wool that is not dyed, since people are
using dye only on finished garments and not on wool. Therefore, if the thief
must return the value of the dye, then he must add some money to the dyed
wool that returns.
RASHI explains that had the only use of dye been for dying wool, the thief
would not have been required to add the value of the dye to the dyed wool
that he returned. However, since there exists the option to use dye for
dyeing garments -- a use which would not cause the dye to depreciate in
value -- the thief must return to the owner the full value of the dye that
he stole because of this loss that he is causing to the owner. This is also
the way the ROSH and NIMUKEI YOSEF explain the Gemara.
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas) asks why Rashi needs to explain that
the dye would not lose value by being used to dye a garment. The Gemara can
be understood just as well even if the dye depreciated in value (after the
thief dyed the wool) and any use that it has will not add up to the value
that the dye originally was worth. Even though the dye has depreciated in
value, if we consider the dye to be consumed by the wool, then the thief
must return the value of the dye that it was worth at the time that he
applied it to the wool, and not its present value. This is the way we always
treat a stolen item that is being repaid! If the dye is considered to be
present, then the thief can return the colored wool in its present form.
ANSWER: Rebbi Akiva Eiger seems to be understanding the words "Zol Tziv'a"
("the dyed wool depreciated") to mean that after the wool was dyed, dye went
down in value, so that it was no longer worth as much as it was worth at the
time that the thief applied it to the wool. This is indeed the way the
RAMBAN (in Milchamos) explains these words.
However, as RABEINU MOSHE KAZIS explains, Rashi seems to be understanding
these words differently. Rashi seems to be explaining that the price of dye
did not change from the time that the thief stole it until the time that he
returned it. Rather, dyed wool was *always* low in value, in contrast to
dye, or dyed garments, which are worth more than dyed wool. This is why
Rashi adds the words that dyed wool "depreciated in value *in the world*,"
meaning that the low price was due to the nature of the world and not due to
fluctuations in the market.
Since, according to Rashi, the Gemara is not discussing a case where there
was a depreciation in the value of the dye, then even if the dye is not
considered to be present, the thief will not have to pay more than the
present value of the dye.
Why, though, does Rashi explain the Gemara this way? Why does he not explain
that the value of the dye depreciated, like the Ramban explains? Perhaps
Rashi infers this from the fact that the Gemara makes no mention of the fact
that if the dye is not considered present then the thief will have to pay
based on the original value of the dye and not based on the present value.
Until the Gemara gives this answer, and in its following answer (that the
thief dyed a monkey with the dye), the Gemara is assuming that the thief
must pay the present value of the dye. If the whole point of this answer is
that the thief must pay a different value, then the Gemara would have said
so explicitly. This is why Rashi learns that the Gemara means simply that
dyed wool is less valuable than wool alone and dye alone. (Even the Ramban
might not be saying that the Gemara means the value of dye depreciated, but
rather he is saying that the Rif is referring to a case where the value of
dye depreciated. The Ramban writes this in order to answer the question of
the Ba'al ha'Me'or.)
Why, though, does the Gemara itself not suggest that the practical
difference is in a case where the dye depreciates in value after it is
stolen? Rabeinu Moshe Kazis points out that the Gemara indeed could have
used this as a practical difference. Perhaps the Gemara does not use this as
a practical difference because it wants to keep the case simple. The Gemara
was looking for a way to make the thief pay if the dye is not considered
present, simply because he did not return the full value of the dye, and not
because he acquired it with a Shinuy and must return the original value of
the dye (its value at the time that it was stolen).
2) THE DEFINITION OF "BI'UR"
OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa which teaches that if a person dyes
clothing with the dye from fruit of Shevi'is, the clothing must be burned.
3) USING DYES OF "SHEVI'IS"
Why must the clothing be burned? It is apparently because of the Halachah of
Bi'ur, which requires that in the Shemitah year, after the time that a fruit
is no longer available in the field, a person must be Meva'er (destroy) that
fruit. (TOSFOS RABEINU PERETZ, ME'IRI; according to the RASHASH, this is
also the intention of RASHI DH Yesh Lahen Bi'ur; see next Insight.)
It seems from this Beraisa that Bi'ur means the destruction of produce (as
in "Bi'ur Chametz"). However, the Tosefta (Shevi'is 8:4) states that at the
time of Bi'ur, a person must take the Shevi'is fruit into the street and
make it Hefker so that anyone may take it, and afterwards he may bring it
back into his home and eat it until it is finished. This implies that Bi'ur
means simply taking the fruit out of one's home (and making it Hefker), as
in "Bi'ur Ma'aseros" (which is done in the fourth and seven year).
What is the true meaning of Bi'ur?
(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shemitah 7:1-3) explains that Bi'ur means that the
produce becomes prohibited to be eaten and it must be burned or destroyed.
This is also seems to be the view of Rashi here (and in Yevamos (122a) and
in other places), where Rashi writes that produce of Shevi'is is destroyed
at the time of Bi'ur. How does Rashi, though, understand the Tosefta?
Rashi in Pesachim (52b, DH Mishum she'Ne'emar) explains that the fruit is
destroyed by placing it in a place that is Hefker, where it will be trampled
by animals. (See also Rashi in Nidah 51b, DH Kol she'Yesh Lo, who explains
that Bi'ur means to remove the fruit from one's home.)
Why, then, does the Beraisa here teach that the produce must be burned at
the time of Bi'ur? Perhaps Rashi holds that it is only a garment that must
be burned, since it is not ruined by the trampling of animals. Fruit, on the
other hand, can simply be placed in a public area where it will be trampled.
(b) TOSFOS in Pesachim (52b, DH Misba'arin), the RAMBAN (Vayikra 25:7), and
the RASH (Shevi'is 9:8) explain that there is no requirement to burn or
destroy produce of Shemitah at the time of Bi'ur. One must simply be Mafkir
the produce so that anyone may take it, and afterwards even the owner may
reclaim it for himself and eat it for as long as he wants. The Ramban proves
this from the Tosefta mentioned above, and from the fact that produce of
Shemitah does not appear in the list -- at the end of Maseches Temurah -- of
Isurei Hana'ah that are either buried or burned.
According to these Rishonim, why does clothing dyed with the produce of
Shemitah need to be burned? (MELECHES SHLOMO, Shevi'is 7:1)
The Ramban answers that if the owner was not Mafkir the produce before the
time of Bi'ur, then the produce becomes Asur (perhaps only mid'Rabanan).
Alternatively, it could be that the Beraisa is discussing produce of
Shemitah which the owner was not Mafkir, and treated like the produce of
other years. According to RABEINU TAM (cited by Tosfos in Sukah 39b, DH
ba'Meh Devarim Amurim), such produce becomes Asur mid'Oraisa. According to
the Ramban (Vayikra 25:5), it becomes Asur mid'Rabanan.
(c) The RA'AVAD (Hilchos Shemitah 7:3) writes that both opinions are
correct. There are two different types of Bi'ur that must be done with
fruits of Shevi'is. When fruit of Shevi'is is no longer available in one
particular city or location, any person living in that location must be
Mafkir the fruit that is in his possession, or bring it to Beis Din to
distribute. However, when a particular fruit is no longer available in one
of the three regions of Eretz Yisrael (Yehudah, Galil, and Ever ha'Yarden;
Shevi'is 9:2), the fruit must be destroyed.
QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Mishnah which states that the Halachos of
Shevi'is and the Halachos of Bi'ur apply to Sefichei Satis, plants from
which dyes are made (see Background to the Daf, Bava Kama 101:20), and to
the money that is paid for them.
Rashi explains that when the Gemara says that the Halachos of Shevi'is apply
to them it means that one may not do business (Sechorah) with them, because
the Torah says "l'Ochlah," implying that the fruit must be eaten and not
traded. Therefore, it is not permitted to use these fruits for dye because
that is considered Sechorah. However, it is permitted to burn them before
the time of Bi'ur, because that is a use that is similar to eating,
Rashi's words here are perplexing. Why should dyeing a garment with fruit of
Shevi'is be considered Sechorah, if one is doing it for his own personal
use? Moreover, the Gemara a few lines later teaches that it *is* permitted
to use dyes of Shemitah for dyeing clothing, since they are considered
"Hana'asan u'V'i'uran Shaveh" -- items which are consumed before the benefit
is derived from them (see Rashi DH Yatz'u Etzim)! (When the Beraisa, at the
end of 101a, teaches that clothing dyed with Shemitah produce must be
burned, it is referring to *after* the time of Bi'ur has passed.)
In addition, how can Rashi permit burning fruit that has Kedushas Shevi'is
before the time of Bi'ur because it is similar to eating? The Gemara, a few
lines later, teaches that burning wood is *not* similar to eating fruit (and
it therefore should be prohibited)! (REBBI AKIVA EIGER, MAR'EH KOHEN, YEFEH
EINAYIM, MIKDASH DAVID Zera'im 59:4)
A similar question may be asked on Rashi (beginning of 102a, DH Stam) who
writes that Sefichei Satis, which have Kedushah, may not be used after the
time of Bi'ur even for burning as firewood. This implies that before the
Bi'ur they *may* be used for firewood, which contradicts the Gemara!
(RASHASH, MAHARSHA in Mahadura Basra)
ANSWER: It seems clear that the words in Rashi here were reversed. The words
of Rashi should read that "it is not permitted to *burn* plants of Shevi'is
because it is considered Sechorah, and it *is* permitted to dye with plants
of Shevi'is, because dyeing is similar to eating (as the Gemara explains)."
(The Mar'eh Kohen makes a different emendation in the words of Rashi.)
The cause for this error was probably the comment of Rashi earlier (end of
101a). When the Beraisa teaches that a garment dyed with Shemitah produce
must be burned, Rashi writes that "it is prohibited to do Sechorah with
fruit of Shevi'is," implying that dyeing clothes is similar to Sechorah.
What does Rashi mean by that? In addition, according to our emendation in
the words of Rashi, Rashi considers burning firewood to be similar to
Sechorah; in what way is it similar to Sechorah?
The answer is that Rashi understood that the Isur of Sechorah is directly
related to the Halachah of Bi'ur. When the Torah says, "l'Ochlah," it means
that Shemitah produce must be eaten before the time of Bi'ur, and it is for
that reason that one may not do business with fruits of Shevi'is, since one
is benefiting from them without destroying them and might come to use them
after the time of Bi'ur. For this reason, Rashi puts into the category of
Sechorah any use of Shemitah fruit which is either after the time of Bi'ur,
or which is before the time of Bi'ur but one derives benefit from the fruit
at a different time than the fruit is consumed. This is clear from Rashi
later (102a, DH le'Toch) who writes that washing clothes with wine of
Shevi'is is prohibited because of Sechorah. Why does Rashi not write that it
is prohibited because it is not "Hana'asan u'Vi'uran Shaveh," as the Gemara
explains (REBBI AKIVA EIGER)? The answer is that Rashi puts anything which
is not "Hana'asan u'Vi'uran Shaveh," into the category of Sechorah, because
it might cause a person to benefit from the fruit of Shevi'is after the time
of Bi'ur. This is also clear from Rashi in Sukah (see Insights to Sukah
Accordingly, this is what Rashi means here when he writes that it is
prohibited to burn wood of Shevi'is because of Sechorah (according to our
emendation). This is also what Rashi means earlier (101a) when he writes
that one must burn a garment dyed with Shevi'is fruit after the time of
Bi'ur because one may not do Sechorah with the fruit of Shevi'is.
In short, the Isur of Sechorah is the source for all of the Halachos of
Bi'ur of fruits of Shemitah.
What does Rashi later (beginning of 102a) mean when he writes that dye
plants of Shevi'is cannot be burned as firewood after Bi'ur, implying that
before Bi'ur they may be used in such a manner? It seems clear from Rashi
that the words "even for fuel" are out of place, and they belong three words
earlier. Rashi is saying that plants which are normally used to produce dyes
are Kadosh with Kedushas Shevi'is to the extent that even if they are picked
with the intention to use them as fuel, they still retain the Kedushah of
Shevi'is and cannot be used after the time of Bi'ur. This is the context in
which these words appear in Rashi. (M. Kornfeld)