ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf 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.
(a) The problem we have with the distinction drawn by the Tana of our
Mishnah between the ox of a Yisrael goring the ox of a Nochri and vice-versa
is - that 'Mah Nafshach', if he Darshens "Re'eihu" to preclude the ox of a
Nochri, then both ought to be Patur; whereas if he doesn't, then both ought
to be Chayav.
1. Rebbi Avahu learns from the Pasuk "Amad va'Yemoded Eretz, Ra'ah Viter
Goyim ... " - that when Hashem saw how the Nochrim failed to adhere to their
seven Mitzvos, He declared their money Hefker (to the extent described in
(c) In that case - the Tana does Darshen "Re'eihu" (in which case there
should be no difference between the two cases, which, in turn, should be the
same as the ox of a Yisrael that gored a Yisrael, only Hashem later fined
them at both ends - see Tosfos Rabeinu Peretz).
2. Rebbi Yochanan learns the same thing from the Pasuk "Hofi'a me'Har
Paran", but for the reason that the Nochrim declined to accept the Torah at
Har Sinai (as hinted in the words "me'Har Paran" [which refers to Yishmael,
one of the representative nations to whom Hashem offered the Torah] - see
also Tosfos DH 'mi'Paran').
(a) In the Beraisa that we cite to support this explanation - the Tana
actually quotes both Pesukim.
(b) However, he quotes the Pasuk of "Hofia ... ", because of the opinions
(expressed later by Rav Masna and Rav Yosef) that interpret "Ra'ah Viter
Goyim" differently. Rav Masna based his explanation on the Pasuk in
Shemini (in connection with grasshoppers) "Le'nater Bahen al ha'Aretz" -
which means '*to jump* with them on the earth'.
(c) He therefore interprets "Ra'ah Viter Goyim" to mean - that when Hashem
saw that the Nochrim failed to adhere to their Mitzvos, He sent them
(jumping) into exile.
(a) Rav Yosef explains the Pasuk to mean that, when Hashem saw how the
Nochrim failed to observe their seven Mitzvos, He canceled them. The problem
with this explanation is - that this would be begging the question. People
who sin deserve to be punished, not let off the hook and relieved of all
(b) Mar Brei de'Rabana therefore tries to explain that what Hashem negated
was the reward that they were initially due to receive for performing the
Mitzvos, but not the punishment. We refute this too, however, on the basis
of a statement by Rebbi Meir, who Darshened from the Pasuk " ... Asher
Ya'aseh Osam ha'Adam (and not 'Kohen, Levi ve'Yisrael') va'Chai Bahem" -
that even a Nochri who studies his Mitzvos and observes them, is considered
like a Kohen Gadol.
(c) We finally base Rav Yosef's interpretation of "Ra'ah Viter Goyim" on a
statement by Rebbi Chanina, who said - 'Someone who performs Mitzvos when he
is duty-bound to do so is on a far higher level than someone who performs
something in a voluntary capacity.
(d) "Ra'ah Viter Goyim" therefore means - that Hashem reduced the reward
that was originally due to the Nochrim who had been commanded to perform
their seven Noachide laws, to reward them from then on as if they had not
(a) The Romans sent two officers to Eretz Yisrael - to study the Torah
(presumably as a basis for their own judiciary system).
(b) They learned the entire Torah - three times (see also Agados Maharsha).
(c) The only 'fault' that they were able to find with it - was the Din in
our Mishnah, differentiating between an ox of a Yisrael that gored a Nochri,
and an ox of a Nochri that gored a Yisrael.
(d) Yisrael did not need to fear retaliatory pogroms when the officers would
inform the authorities - because the officers promised not to report the
(a) When Rav Shmuel bar Yehudah's daughter died, why did Ula decline to
accompany the Rabbanan from Bavel on a visit to be Menachem Avel - because
the Bavli'im tended to say 'What can one do?', implying that if they could
do something about it, they would. And he considered that blasphemy.
(b) So he went alone. The problem he discussed regarding Hashem's command to
Moshe "Al Tatzar es Mo'av ve'Al Tisgar Bam Milchamah" was - why Hashem found
it necessary to issue such instructions to Moshe? Why would Moshe have even
dreamt of going to fight Mo'av without Hashem having instructing him to do
(c) The 'Kal va'Chomer' that Moshe had Darshened was from Hashem's command
to attack Midyan. Now if Midyan, who only joined Mo'av later in the plan to
cause Yisrael to sin, needed to be destroyed, how much more so Mo'av, who
initiated the plan by hiring Bil'am.
(d) Hashem nevertheless forbade Moshe to take revenge from the Mo'avim (as
well as from the Amonim for other sins), (not because of any flaw in Moshe's
'Kal va'Chomer', but) - because of two precious 'doves' that were destined
to come out from them, Na'amah ha'Amonis (the wife of Shlomoh ha'Melech and
mother of his son Rechav'am) and Rus ha'Mo'avi'ah.
(a) Ula extrapolated from this - that if Hashem saved two great nations on
the merit of future generations, then he would have done the same had he
found Rav Shmuel bar Yehudah's daughter worthy of the same treatment, and
seeing as Hashem did not prolong her life, it was a sign that her time had
(b) It was a source of comfort for Rav Shmuel bar Yehudah to know that his
daughter had been taken away justly.
(a) Rebbi Chiya bar Aba quoting Rebbi Yochanan ascribes the Torah's change
of Lashon, "Al Tatzar ... ve'al Tisgar Bam Milchamah" by Mo'av, and "Al
Tetzurem ve'Al Tisgar Bam" by Amon to - the modesty of the younger daughter
of Lot (the mother of Amon), who did not publicize the identity of her
baby's father, in relation to that of the older daughter, who called her
baby 'Mo'av', a thinly-veiled corruption of 'me'Av' - from my father.
(b) "ve'Al Tisgar Bam" refers to 'Angarya', which means - coercing them to
bring them water and food.
(c) And, quoting Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah, he accredited the elder
daughter of Lot's reward for performing (what they believed to be) the
Mitzvah of preserving mankind - to the fact that she hurried to perform the
Mitzvah one night before her sister.
(a) The Tana Kama of a Beraisa, discussing the Din of damages regarding
Kutim, considers them as full-fledged Jews. Rebbi Meir - obligates them to
pay Nezek Shalem even for a Tam (like regular Nochrim).
(b) Rebbi Meir considers Kutim 'Geyrei Arayos' - on the grounds that they,
as the title suggests, only converted out of fear of the plague of lions
that had beset them when Sancheriv moved them from Kuta into Eretz Yisrael
(and they continued to serve their idols).
(c) We learn from the Pasuk "Daber el B'nei Yisrael ... Ishah Ki Sazri'a ...
ve'Tam'ah ... " - that Nochrim are not subject to Tum'as Nidah and Tum'as
(d) Despite the fact that Chazal decreed Ziyvus on Nochri women (as well as
men), they did not decree on their bloodstains - because even the
bloodstains of Jewish women are only mi'de'Rabbanan (and it would therefore
fall under the category of 'Gezeirah li'Gezeirah', which Chazal did not
(a) The Tana Kama of a Beraisa considers bloodstains from Rekem Tahor -
because, in his opinion, most women from Rekem were Nochrim.
(b) Rebbi Yehudah declares them Tamei - because most of them, he claims,
were Geyrim, and they only conveyed the impression of being Nochrim because
they had gone astray and adopted the lifestyle of Nochrim.
(c) Bloodstains from among the Nochrim are certainly Tahor, and from among
Yisre'eilim, they are Tamei - Rebbi Meir equates (the Din of) bloodstains
from among the Kutim with those from among Yisre'eilim.
(d) The Chachamim declare even the bloodstains of Yisre'eliyos Tahor -
assuming were found in a Hefker place, because, had they been Tamei
bloodstains, both Yisre'eili and Kuti women would have hidden them.
(a) We reconcile what we learned a little earlier, that Rebbi Meir considers
Kutim to be Geyrei Arayos, with his ruling here, that their bloodstains are
Tamei - by accepting the latter as his basic opinion (that Kutim are true
Geyrim). However, when they later discovered them serving idols on Har
Gerizim, Chazal declared their money Hefker, giving it a Din like that of
Nochrim (slightly stricter than the Tana Kama, who made a compromise in the
(b) Nevertheless, the S'tam Mishnah (Rebbi Meir) in Kesuvos includes a Kutis
in the list of girls who receive K'nas for rape, declining to apply the
decree there (so that people realize that they are idolaters and keep away
from them) - because he considers it more important to enforce the fine, to
ensure that the rapist does not get away with his sin.
(c) There would be no point in ordering the rapist to give the money to the
poor - because seeing as there is no claimant, he would never pay up.