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Bava Metzia, 107

BAVA METZIA 106-108 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.


QUESTION: The Gemara quotes different explanations for the verse, "Baruch Atah ba'Ir" (Devarim 28:3). Rav explains that the blessing of "Baruch Atah ba'Ir" means that your house will be near to the Beis ha'Kneses. Rebbi Yochanan argues and explains that "Baruch Atah ba'Ir" means that you will have a place to relieve yourself near your table, but a house near to the synagogue is not considered a blessing, as Rebbi Yochanan expresses elsewhere (Sotah 22a), one receives "Sechar Pesi'os" -- more reward for taking more steps to walk to the Beis ha'Kneses.

Does Rav argue with Rebbi Yochanan and maintain that one does not receive "Sechar Pesi'os" for walking farther to the Beis ha'Kneses?


(a) The TORAS CHAIM explains that Rav takes into account a different factor. The Gemara in Berachos (47b) says that one should make an effort to go early to the Beis ha'Kneses in order that he be among the first ten who make the Minyan, for the reward of the first ten is equivalent to the reward of all those who come afterward. Rav apparently holds that this reward takes precedence over the reward of "Sechar Pesi'os."

(b) The MAHARSHA explains why the verse "Baruch Atah ba'Ir" implies a Beis ha'Kneses according to Rav and a Beis ha'Kisei according to Rebbi Yochanan. Until modern times, it was the practice to build most synagogues and bathrooms outside of the residential area. Hence, there was a reasonable danger involved in going out to the synagogue alone (as in Berachos 5b-6a, see Tosfos 2a, DH Mevarech and 6a, DH ha'Mispalel) or to the bathroom alone. Rav and Rebbi Yochanan, therefore, explain, respectively, that it is a blessing to have a Beis ha'Kneses nearby, or a bathroom nearby.

According to the Maharsha, it could be that Rav certainly agrees that there is "Sechar Pesi'os" for walking farther to a Beis ha'Kneses. However, that only applies when the Beis ha'Kneses is inside of the city, relatively nearby to one's home, and one does not have to endanger himself to get to the Beis ha'Kneses. (Y. Shaw)

QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan maintains that a person receives "Sechar Pesi'os" for walking to a Beis ha'Kneses that is farther away, even if there is one that is nearby (see RASHI to Sotah 22a, and Insights there). Although we see from here the importance of exerting oneself for a Mitzvah, we only find the importance of exerting oneself by traveling a longer distance with regard to the Mitzvah of going to a Beis ha'Kneses. (We do not find that it is a greater Mitzvah, for example, to walk a longer distance to perform the Mitzvah of sitting in a Sukah.) Is there any reason why going to a Beis ha'Kneses should be unique in this respect?


(a) Perhaps there is a special Mitzvah to travel to the Beis ha'Kneses since the Beis ha'Kneses is called a "Mikdash Me'at" (Megilah 29a; see also Bava Metzia 28b) and there is a Mitzvah in the Torah to travel to the Beis ha'Mikdash during the Regel. The same Mitzvah to travel to the Beis ha'Mikdash applies to traveling to the "Mikdash Me'at," the Beis ha'Kneses.

(b) The point of Tefilah is to bring oneself closer to Hashem and to lessen, as it were, the distance between oneself and Hashem. Traveling a distance towards the Beis ha'Kneses symbolizes that one is exerting himself to lessen the distance between him and Hashem, and as such it is a proper preface to prayer. (This might also be the theme of Aliyah l'Regel.) (MAHARAL in NESIVOS OLAM, Nesiv ha'Avodah 5)


QUESTION: The Amora'im give different opinions as to what illness the verse, "Hashem will remove from you all illness" (Devarim 7:15), refers. Rav says that it refers to Ayin ha'Ra. We know that the Jewish people are counted by having each one give a Machtzis ha'Shekel in order that no Ayin ha'Ra should affect them.

The MALBIM in ERETZ CHEMDAH (Parshas Ki Sisa) writes that this might be the reason why the Shekalim are collected in Adar (as the Mishnah in the beginning of Shekalim says). RASHI (106b) says that the Mazal of the month of Adar is "Dagim." The Gemara tells us that Dagim, fish, are not affected by the Ayin ha'Ra, because the water covers them. Hence, the month of Adar, whose Mazal is Dagim, has a degree of protection against the Ayin ha'Ra. This is why the Shekalim are given in Adar -- by giving Shekalim instead of counting the people themselves, and by giving them in Adar, we ensure that we will not be affected by Ayin ha'Ra.

QUESTION: The Amora'im give different opinions as to what illness the verse, "Hashem will remove from you all illness" (Devarim 7:15), refers. Rebbi Chanina says that it refers to the cold, as Rebbi Chanina says elsewhere, "Everything is decreed by Heaven except for 'Tzinim Pachim'." TOSFOS in Kesuvos (30a) and Bava Basra (144b) ask that if the cold is not in the hands of Heaven, but rather it is in the hands of man to protect himself, then why does the verse say that Hashem will bless you by removing the cold?


(a) TOSFOS in Kesuvos answers that when Rebbi Chanina says that everything is decreed by Heaven except for "Tzinim Pachim," he means that *when* there is cold in the world (as a result of Hashem's decree, of course), then one's protection from it is not in the hands of Hashem but in one's own hands. The verse that says that Hashem will bless you by removing the cold means that Hashem will make the world warm, or He will provide you with warm clothing (leaving you with the choice to protect yourself from the cold).

(b) TOSFOS in Bava Basra answers that the verse is saying that Hashem will give you the intellectual capacity, and the wherewithal, to figure out how to protect yourself from the cold.

(c) The TORAS CHAIM answers that it is in the hands of man to protect himself from the cold. If he did not protect himself from the cold, though, and as a result he became sick, man then cannot heal himself, but rather Hashem gives man a blessing that He will remove the sickness that resulted from the cold.

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