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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Bava Metzia 85

BAVA METZIA 81-85 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.


(a) Rebbi: There were three humble people: my father (as in the above episode), Benei Beseirah, and Yonason the son of Sha'ul.
1. Benei Beseira - they were the Nesi'im, and they appointed Hillel Nasi in their place.
2. Yonason - he told David "Ata Timloch...Ehyeh Lecha l'Mishneh".
3. Question: Perhaps that was not from humility, rather because he saw that Yisrael supported David!
4. Question: Also, perhaps Benei Beseira did not appoint Hillel from humility, rather because they saw that he was greater (and they were embarrassed because they had to ask him questions)!
5. We have no challenge to the proof of R. Shimon ben Gamliel's humility.
(b) Rebbi saw the greatness of afflictions (they protected R. Elazar from decaying), he accepted six years of a kidney stone, and seven years of thrush (a mouth disease); some say, vice-versa.
(c) The stableboy who took care of Rebbi's horses became richer (from the manure) than Shevor Malka. When he would give fodder to the animals, their voices would be heard for 3 Mil. He would give when Rebbi went to relieve himself (to try to cover up Rebbi's pain) - it did not help, Rebbi's voice was louder, people going to sea would hear it.
(d) Still, R. Elazar's afflictions were greater than Rebbi's, for R. Elazar's came and left through love, Rebbi's came and left through incidents.
1. A calf was being taken to slaughter; it put its head under Rebbi's garment and cried.
2. Rebbi: Go - you were created to be slaughtered!
i. It was decreed in Heaven - since he was not merciful, he will be afflicted.
3. (The incident through which they left): Rebbi's slave was cleaning the house; she was about to clear out some baby rats; Rebbi stopped her - "V'Rachamav Al Kol Ma'asav".
i. It was decreed in Heaven - since he was merciful, his afflictions will cease.
(e) All the years of R. Elazar's afflictions, no one died before his allotted years; all the years of Rebbi's afflictions, the world did not need rain.
1. (Rabah bar Rav Shila): A rainy day is as harsh as a day of judgment.
2. (Ameimar): If the world did not need rain so much, Chachamim would pray that it cease.
(f) In spite of the lack of rain, when a radish was uprooted, its cavity was full of water.
(a) Rebbi went to the city of R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon, asking if he had left a son. The answer was yes - and the harlots would pay his son (more than they would charge)! Rebbi gave him the title of 'Rebbi', and had R. Shimon ben Isi teach him.
1. Every day the son wanted to return home. R. Shimon ben Isi told him, they put a gold garment on you and call you Rebbi - how can you speak of going home?!
2. The son swore not to ask to go home again.
3. When he grew up, he sat in Rebbi's academy. Rebbi heard a voice similar to R. Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon's; they told him, it was his son.
4. Rebbi - "Pri Tzadik Etz Chayim" - this is R. Yosi b'Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon; "v'Loke'ach Nefashos Chacham" - this is R. Shimon ben Isi.
(b) When the son died, they brought him to his father's cave; the snake was guarding it. They asked permission to let the son come to his father; the snake did not allow them in.
(c) People thought that this was because his father was greater; a voice from Heaven said no - rather, because the father suffered being in a cave for 13 years (when the Roman's sought to kill R. Shimon), the son did not.
(d) Rebbi went to the city of R. Tarfon, asking if he had left a son (R. Tarfon used to swear, 'I will kill my children (if this is false)'. He was told, he left no sons, but his daughter has a son; the harlots would pay his son more than they would charge.
(e) Rebbi offered to marry his daughter to him if he would repent; he did.
1. Some say, he married Rebbi's daughter, then divorced her; others say, he never married her, so people would not say that he repented just to marry her.
(f) Why did Rebbi take such pains for other people's children?
(g) Answer (Rav Yehudah): Anyone who teaches Torah to another's child, he merits to sit in the Heavenly academy - "Lefanai Ta'amod";
1. Anyone who teaches Torah to an ignoramus' child, harsh decrees against him are torn up - "Totzi Yakar mi'Zolel K'Fi Tiheyeh" (if you take dearness from disgrace, you will be as My mouth (to nullify My decrees)).
(h) (R. Parnach): Any Chacham whose son and grandson are Chachamim, Torah will never cease from his seed - "Mi'Picha umi'Pi Zaracha umi'Pi Zera Zaracha Amar Hash-m me'Atah v'Ad Olam"
(i) Question: Why does it say "Amar Hash-m"?
(j) Answer: Hash-m made himself a guarantor for this.
(k) Question: Why does it say "me'Atah v'Ad Olam"?
(l) Answer (R. Yirmeyah): From now on, Torah returns to its host.
(m) Rav Yosef fasted 40 fasts in order that Torah should never cease from his seed; he was shown (in a dream) "Lo Yamush Mi'Picha";
1. He fasted another 40 fasts; he was shown "Lo Yamush Mi'Picha umi'Pi Zaracha";
2. He fasted another 100 (Maharshal - 40) fasts; he was shown "Lo Yamush Mi'Picha umi'Pi Zaracha umi'Pi Zera Zaracha".
i. Rav Yosef: I need not fast any more - from now on, Torah returns to its host.
(n) When R. Zeira came to Eretz Yisrael, he fasted 100 (or 40) fasts in order that he should forget the (argumentative) Gemara he learned in Bavel, in order that it not distract him (from the more straightforward approach of Eretz Yisrael);
1. He fasted another 100 (40) in order that R. Elazar (ben Pedas) should not die in R. Zeira's lifetime, lest communal concerns fall upon himself;
2. He fasted another 100 (40) in order that he should not be subjected to the fire of Gehinom.
3. Every 30 days he would check if he is fitting for this: he would ignite a furnace and sit inside - it did not harm him.
4. Once, Rabanan were envious - this caused his garment to be burned.
(a) (Rav Yehudah): "Al Mah Ovdah Ha'aretz" (why did the Churban come?) - "Mi ha'Ish he'Chacham" (Chachamim could not answer) "va'Asher Diber Pi Hash-m Elav" (the prophets could not answer) until "Va'Yomer Hash-m Al Azvam Es Torasi Asher Nosati Lifneihem" (Hash-m explained, because they abandoned My Torah).

(b) (Rav Yehudah): They did not bless (Hash-m for giving us the Torah) before learning (this shows, they did not appreciate it properly).
(c) (Rav Chama): "B'lev Navon Tanu'ach Chochmah" - Torah rests in the heart of a Chacham whose father was a Chacham (i.e., he does not flaunt it);
1. "Uv'Kerev Kesilim Tivada" - if an ignoramus' son learns Torah, he glorifies himself.
2. (Ula): A lone coin in a flask makes noise (a flask full of coins does not).
(d) Question (R. Yirmeyah): "Koton v'Gadol Sham Hu v'Eved Chafshi me'Adonav" - obviously, great and small people go to the grave!
(e) Answer (R. Zeira): Anyone who makes himself small in this world for the sake of Torah, he becomes great in the world to come;
1. Anyone who makes himself a slave in this world for Torah, he becomes free in the world to come.
(a) Reish Lakish used to mark off graves of Chachamim (so they should not be a pitfall to people). At R. Chiya's gravesite, he could not find the place; he felt bad.
1. Reish Lakish: Hash-m - didn't I delve in Torah like him?
2. A voice from Heaven: You delved in Torah like him, but you did not spread Torah like him.
(b) When R. Chanina and R. Chiya argued in Torah, R. Chanina said 'How do you argue with me? If Torah would be forgotten from Yisrael, I could return it through my analytical skills!
1. R. Chiya: How do you argue with me? I ensured that Torah will never be forgotten from Yisrael!
2. R. Chiya planted flax, and wove traps from the flax. He caught deer, fed orphans the meat and made parchments from the skin. He wrote the five Chumashim and went to a city without teachers for children. He taught one Chumash to each of five children, and one order of the Mishnah to each of six other children. He told them to teach each other what each had learned. (Because everything was done for the sake of Torah, this ensured that it would never be forgotten.)
(c) Rebbi: How great are R. Chiya's deeds!
(d) R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi: Are they greater than yours?
(e) Rebbi: Yes.
(f) R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi: Are they greater than my father's?
(g) Rebbi: That is impossible!
(h) R. Zeira: I saw R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina in a dream; I asked him from whom he learns in the world to come (and about his Rebbi...).
1. R.Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina: I learn from R. Yochanan; who learns from R. Yanai, who learns from R. Chanina, who learns from R. Chiya.
2. R. Zeira: Is R. Yochanan unfit to learn from R. Chiya?!
3. R. Yosi: Where the fire is sufficient, who will bring in one to fan the fire! (R. Chiya ensured that Torah will not be forgotten - there is no need for R. Chanina, who could restore it if it would be forgotten - his merit is not enough to bring R. Yochanan there.)
(i) R. Chaviva: Eliyahu used to speak with a certain Chacham. In the morning, his eyes looked fine; by evening, they looked singed - I asked about this.
1. The Chacham: I asked Eliyahu to let me look at Chachamim going to the Heavenly academy; he permitted to look at all, except for the chair of R. Chiya.
2. The Chacham: What distinguishes it?
3. Eliyahu: Angels must seat other Chachamim in their chairs - R. Chiya can go himself.
4. The Chacham could not hold himself back; he looked, and two fiery sparks blinded his eyes. The next day, he prostrated by the cave R. Chiya was buried in, and mentioned that he learns the Tosefta of R. Chiya (so R. Chiya would be more inspired to pray for him) - he was healed.
(j) Eliyahu was regularly in Rebbi's academy. One Rosh Chodesh he was late; he explained, he first had to wake Avraham, wash his hands, and lie him down again after he prayed; then the same for Yitzchak, then the same for Yakov.
(k) Rebbi: Why didn't he wake them at the same time?
(l) Eliyahu: If they would pray at the same time, this would bring Mashi'ach prematurely.
(m) Rebbi: Is there anyone living today with such a power of prayer?
(n) Eliyahu: Yes, R. Chiya and his sons.
1. Rebbi decreed a fast; he asked R. Chiya and his sons to lead the prayer. When they said 'Mashiv ha'Ru'ach', wind blew; when they said 'Morid ha'Geshem', rain fell. When they were about to conclude the blessing 'Mechayeh ha'Mesim', the world shook. In Heaven, Eliyahu was lashed with fire for having revealed their power of prayer.
2. Eliyahu appeared to them as a bear of fire to distract them.
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