POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question on the daf
Previous daf Bava Metzia 3
1) WHO IS THE TANA OF OUR MISHNAH?
(a) Suggestion: Our Mishnah is not as R. Yosi.
2) CAN WITNESSES OBLIGATE AN OATH?
1. (Beraisa - R. Yosi): (Reuven and Shimon deposited
money by Levi, who forgot who gave which amount;
each claims the larger amount.) The law must force
the liar to lose (so he will be induced to admit) -
therefore, neither side gets any of the money until
Eliyahu resolves the matter (or 1 side admits).
(b) Rejection: Our Mishnah can be as R. Yosi.
2. Question: Nor is the Mishnah as Chachamim - they
agree that neither side gets any of the contested
money (the difference between the 2 amounts) until
i. Here, the entire garment is contested!
3. Answer: The Mishnah can be as Chachamim - there, all
the contested money belongs to one of them, we leave
it until Eliyahu;
i. Here, perhaps each owns half, they swear and
4. But R. Yosi says, even the smaller amount, which
surely each side is entitled to, we leave until
Eliyahu - here, perhaps 1 side is not entitled to
anything, all the more so we leave it for Eliyahu!
1. Explanation #1: R. Yosi's law is when we know that 1
side is lying;
(c) Question: In the case of the grocer who claims to have
paid workers (as he was asked), and the workers say they
were not paid - both R. Yosi and Chachamim should say
that we leave the money until Eliyahu, 1 side is surely
i. Here, perhaps neither intends to lie - perhaps
they picked it up at the same time (and each
thinks he picked it up first)!
2. Explanation #2: R. Yosi's law is when the liar loses
by waiting until Eliyahu - this entices him to
i. Here, the liar doesn't lose anything, he will
never admit - there is no reason to leave the
garment until Eliyahu!
3. Objection: This explains the case of a found object
- but by a bought object, R. Yosi should say that we
leave it until Eliyahu!
i. We must say as Explanation #1.
(d) Answer: There, the grocer can tell the employer 'I paid
them as you asked me, you must repay me - "I refuse to
accept the workers' oath"!
(e) The workers can tell the employer 'We worked for you, you
must pay us - we refuse to accept the grocer's oath"!
(f) Therefore, both sides collect from (and swear to) the
(a) (R. Chiya): Reuven told Shimon 'You owe me 100'; Shimon
denied the entire claim. Witnesses testify that he owes
50 - he pays 50 and swears that he owes no more.
1. We should not say that his own admission (to part of
the claim) has more power to make him swear than
witnesses - a Kal va'Chomer refutes this!
(b) Support (Mishnah): Reuven and Shimon are holding a
garment; Reuven says 'I found it'...
1. Since each is holding half the garment, we are
witnesses that each owns what he holds
(contradicting the other's claim that he owns it
(c) Question: What did R. Chiya mean 'We should not say that
his own admission has more power than witnesses - a Kal
va'Chomer refutes this'?
(d) Answer: We should not say that the Torah only imposes an
oath when he admits, because of Rabah's reason.
1. (Rabah): The Torah obligates a borrower to swear
(when he partially admits to the claim) because it
is established human nature that a borrower is not
brazen enough to (fully) deny the lender's claim;
i. If not for this, he would deny the entire
3) THE KAL VA'CHOMER
2. Because borrowers are not brazen, he would like to
admit to the full claim;
i. He denied part of it to stall until he has the
money to pay the loan.
3. The Torah imposed the oath on him, in order that he
will admit to the full claim.
i. One might have thought, since this does not
apply when witnesses testify, he does not swear
- we hear, this is not so, because of the Kal
(a) Question: What is the Kal va'Chomer?
(b) Answer #1: A man's mouth (admission) does not obligate
him to pay money, yet it obligates him to swear -
witnesses, who can obligate him to pay, all the more so
they obligate him to swear!
1. Question: But his mouth obligates him to pay - his
admission is as 100 witnesses!
(c) Objection: A man's mouth cannot be contradicted or Huzam
(e.g. if Reuven said that he saw his ox damage at a
certain time and place, and witnesses testified that he
was not there at that time, he is liable) - we cannot
learn to witnesses, who can be contradicted or Huzmu!
2. Answer: The money referred to is a fine.
i. A man's mouth does not obligate him to pay
fines, yet it obligates him to swear -
witnesses, who can obligate him to pay fines,
all the more so they obligate him to swear!
3. Question: A man's mouth obligates him to bring a
sacrifice - we cannot learn to witnesses, who do not
obligate him to bring a sacrifice!
4. Answer: R. Chiya holds as R. Meir who says that
witnesses obligate him to bring a sacrifice.
i. (Mishnah - R. Meir): Two witnesses told Reuven
'You ate Chelev'; he said 'I did not eat' - he
brings a sacrifice; Chachamim say, he does not
5. Question: A man's mouth obligates him to bring a
guilt-offering - we cannot learn to witnesses, who
ii. R. Meir: If testimony of 2 witnesses can cause
him to be killed, all the more so it can
obligate him to bring a sacrifice!
iii. Chachamim: He can say, I ate intentionally,
therefore I do not bring a sacrifice.
6. Answer: The same answer we gave for a sacrifice
applies to a guilt-offering.
7. Question: A man's mouth obligates him to pay an
added fifth - we cannot learn to witnesses, who do
8. Answer: R. Chiya holds as R. Meir; just as he learns
from a Kal va'Chomer that witnesses obligate him to
bring a sacrifice, he learns that they obligate him
to pay an added fifth.
(d) Answer #2: Rather, R. Chiya learns a Kal va'Chomer from 1
witness: 1 witness does not obligate him to pay money,
yet it obligates him to swear - 2 witnesses, who can
obligate him to pay, all the more so they obligate him to
(e) Objection: But 1 witness makes him swear on what the
witness testifies - we cannot learn that 2 witnesses make
him swear on what they do not testify!