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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Bava Metzia 112

BAVA METZIA 112-115 - these Dafim have been dedicated anonymously l'Iluy Nishmas Tzirel Nechamah bas Tuvya Yehudah.


(a) (Rav Asi): Even if a worker was hired only to pick one cluster of grapes, one who withholds his wages transgresses "Lo Salin". The first Tana learns from "V''Elav Hu Nosei Es Nafsho" (anything he obligated himself to do).
(b) R. Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah expounds this verse as follows.
1. (Beraisa): "V'Elav Hu Nosei Es Nafsho" - a worker risks his life, going up high ramps and trees for his wages;
2. Anyone who withholds wages is as one who takes his life.
(c) (Rav Huna or Rav Chisda): This refers to the employer's life (he causes his own death).
(d) (The other of Rav Huna and Rav Chisda): This refers to the worker's life.
1. The first opinion learns from "Al Tigzal Dal...v'Kava Es Koveihem Nafesh";
2. The second opinion learns from "Es Nefesh Be'alav Yikach".
3. Question: How does the first opinion expound the second verse?
4. Answer: The verse refers to the thief - after taking the money, he is called "Be'alav (the owner)".
5. Question: How does the second opinion expound the first verse?
6. Answer: The employer is worthy of death because he mortally afflicts the worker.
(a) (Mishnah): If the worker did not ask for his wages, the employer does not transgress.
(b) (Beraisa): "Lo Salin Pe'ulas Sachir Itecha Ad Boker" - one might have thought, this is even if the worker did not ask for his wages;
1. "Itecha" (they are with you on your volition), i.e. you only transgress if he asked for his wages.
2. Suggestion: Perhaps he transgresses even if he gave them to a grocer or moneychanger.
3. Rejection: "Itecha" - with you, not with a grocer or moneychanger.
(c) (Mishnah): He does not transgress if he made an arrangement with the worker that he be paid by a grocer or moneychanger.
(d) Question: If the grocer or moneychanger refuses to pay the worker, can he claim from his employer?
(e) (Rav Sheshes): He cannot claim from his employer;
(f) (Rabah): He can claim from his employer.
1. Rabah deduces this from the Mishnah - he does not transgress if he made an arrangement with a grocer or moneychanger, but he is obligated to pay;
2. Rav Sheshes explains, it does not apply to speak of him transgressing, because he is exempt from paying.
(g) Question: Does one transgress "Lo Salin" for withholding wages of a Kablan (one hired to complete a task for a fixed price)?
1. If we say that a craftsman (immediately) acquires the improvements he makes on a vessel, then wages are not due to him, this is merely a loan (the employer owes him for the improvements on the vessel);
2. If we say that a craftsman does not acquire improvements on a vessel, then wages are due (and the employer transgresses).
(h) Answer (Rav Sheshes): He transgresses.
(i) Question (Beraisa): He does not transgress.
(j) Answer: That is when he gave the money to a grocer or moneychanger.
(k) Support (Beraisa): Reuven gave his garment to a craftsman; he finished, and informed Reuven - even if Reuven does not come for ten days (to take and pay for it), he does not transgress keeping a worker's wages overnight;
1. If the worker returned the garment in mid-day, if Reuven does not pay by sundown he transgresses.
2. If a craftsman (immediately) acquires improvements on a vessel, why does he transgress - the craftsman is holding his wages!
(l) Rejection #1 (Rav Mari brei d'Rav Kahana): The Beraisa speaks of one hired to teasel cloth (there is no improvement, it lasts better if not teaseled).
1. Question: If so, why did he hire him?
2. Answer: To soften it.
3. Objection: That is an improvement!
(m) Rejection #2: Rather, he was hired to stomp on it (to clean and moisten it), he is paid for each hit (he is not a Kablan).


(a) (Mishnah): At the time a worker should be paid, he swears and collects (this is a Rabbinical enactment).
(b) Question: Why did Chachamim enact that he swears and collects?
(c) Answer #1 (Rav Nachman): Mid'Oraisa, the employer should swear and be exempt; as by every case of one who denies a debt
1. Chachamim enacted that the worker swears and collects for the sake of his livelihood.
2. Question: Is that a proper reason to take money from the employer?!
3. Answer: The enactment benefits the employer - it encourages people to work for others.
i. Question: The worker would prefer that employer swears and is exempt, to encourages him to hire workers!
ii. Answer: No - an employer must hire people in any case.
4. Objection: Also workers must work for others in any case!
(d) Answer #2: Rather, an employer is busy overseeing his workers, presumably he forgot that he did not pay.
(e) Question #1: If so, the worker should collect without swearing!
(f) Answer: The oath is to appease the employer (so he will not suspect that the worker is lying).
1. Question: Chachamim should have enacted that he must pay the worker in front of witnesses!
2. Answer: That is too tedious.
3. Question: Chachamim should have enacted that workers are paid before they work (so they will not be believed later).
4. Answer: Everyone prefers that workers are paid after working (sometimes the employer does not have money to pay them beforehand; the workers are afraid that they will lose the money).
(g) Question #2: If so (the enactment is because an employer is busy), the same should apply even if they argue about the (amount of the) wages!
1. (Beraisa): The worker says 'You hired me for two', the employer says 'I hired you for one' - (for the worker) to take money from another (the employer), he must bring proof.
(h) Answer: People surely remember the agreed wages.
(i) Question #3: If so, the same should apply after the time to be paid!
1. (Mishnah): After the time he should be paid, he does not swear and collect.
(j) Answer: We have a Chazakah that an employer will not transgress "Lo Salin".
(k) Question: But we said that an employer is busy, he forgets!
(l) Answer: That is before the deadline for payment comes - when it comes, he motivates himself and remembers.
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