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Bava Metzia 77

BAVA METZIA 76-79 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.



(a) Rava rules that if an employer hired workers to water his field, and their services are not required because...
1. ... it rained - then it is the workers who must bear the loss (and receive no compensation [because, since the employer knew no more than they did, he can blame it on their bad Mazel]).
2. ... the local river overflowed its banks - then the employer must pay them like a Po'el Batel, because he is aware of the river's habits, and the onus was on him to warn the workers.
(b) If those same workers are forced to stop work in the middle of the day because the local river dried up - then, if it is unusual for the river to stop flowing, or even if it normal, but they are local residents (who are conversant with the river's habits), then they must bear the loss; and it is only when it is unusual for the river to stop flowing and the workers are from another town that the employer loses out (for not informing them of the likelihood of this happening).

(c) And in a case where an employer employed workers to do a certain task that day, and they completed it in the middle of the day, he rules - that he is permitted to give them other work, provided it is easier or at least, not more difficult. If the only work that the employer has is more difficult than the original task, then they are exempt from working, and he must pay them in full.

(d) Despite the fact that they did not work in the afternoon, he nevertheless pays them in full, and not like a Po'el Batel - because Rava is referring to the people of his town Mechuza, who were used to carrying loads, and sitting idle affected them detrimentally (and was more difficult for them than working).

(a) The Beraisa (that we discussed on the previous Amud) finds it necessary to inform us that if the retracting workers subsequently complete the job, they receive the full two Sela'im - in a case when workers' wages rose, and the employer had to convince them to finish the job. Bearing in mind that the Chachamim give the worker the upper hand, we might now have accepted their claim that they only completed the job on the understanding that they would receive a higher wage, but the Tana teaches us that this is not the case.

(b) Indeed, when the employer convinced them to return, he did not expect them to continue working on the same terms as before - because he had in mind to provide them with extra food (which he is now obligated to do [but not to give them a rise]).

(c) And when the Tana added that if what they did is worth a Sela, they receive a Sela - in a case when originally, the workers asked for a Sela for half a day's work, though the going rate was less. However, in the middle of the day, the price of workers went up to a Sela, and the workers demanded an equivalent wage increase. Consequently, the Tana teaches us that, based on his counter-argument (that they only refused to accept less than a Sela because the going rate was less, but now that all workers received a Sela, the reason to ask for more has been dissolved), the employer only needs to pay them a Sela.

(a) After citing Rebbi Dosa (who holds 'Yad *Po'el' al ha'Elyonah'), the Tana continues 'O Yigmeru Melachtan ve'Yitlu Sh'nei Dinrim. He needs to tell us this - in a case when the price of workers dropped, and this time it is the employer who retracted and needed to be convinced to allow them to complete the job. Consequently, we might now have accepted his claim that he only agreed on the understanding that they accept a wage reduction, and the Tana comes to teach us that this is not the case.

(b) Indeed, when the workers convinced the employer to allow them to complete the job, they did expect him to accept them on the same terms as before, because they had in mind to perform better-quality work (which they are now obligated to do [but not to take a wage reduction]).

(c) And he adds 'Sela, Nosen Lahem Sela', explains Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Nasan - in a case when originally, the employer hired them for less than a Sela for half a day's work, although the going rate was a Sela. However, in the middle of the day, the price of workers dropped, and now the employer expects them to accept an equivalent wage decrease. Consequently, the Tana teaches us that (based on their counter-argument (that he only refused to pay them a Sela because that was the going rate, but that now that all workers receive a Sela, he has no reason to pay them less), the employer remains obligated to pay them a Sela.

(d) The basis of the Machlokes between Rebbi Dosa and the Rabbanan is - whether we hold 'Yad Po'el al ha'Elyonah' (the Rabbanan), or 'Kol ha'Chozer Bo, Yado al ha'Tachtonah' (Rebbi Dosa). Note, that when we first asked on Rebbi Dosa, we thought that Rebbi Dosa holds 'Yad Po'el ha'Tachtonah' (because the employer is Muchzak in the money).

(a) Rav rules like Rebbi Dosa (who holds 'Kol ha'Chozer Bo, Yado al ha'Tachtonah'). The problem with this is that Rav himself rules that a worker has the right to retract even in the middle of the day.

(b) The basis of Rav's Chidush is - the Pasuk in Behar "Avadai Heim" (we are slaves of Hashem, and not of anybody else).

(c) Initially, we attempt to draw a distinction between a day worker (who may retract) and a contractor, who is hired to do a specific job, (and who may therefore not), and the reason for this distinction is - because the above Pasuk does not apply to a contractor, who can in no way be deemed a slave of the person who employs him.

(d) Seeing as Rav holds like Rebbi Dosa - Rebbi Dosa must also be speaking specifically by a contractor.




(a) A Sachir is paid by the day (an employee) - a Kablan, for the job (a contractor).

(b) The Tana of the Beraisa rules - that if either of them retracted in the middle of the day due to the death of a close relative or because he was running a high fever - he receives his full wage (because he is an O'nes).

(c) We initially establish the author as Rebbi Dosa - because, according to the Rabbanan, a worker has the upper-hand even when his retraction is not due to an O'nes.

(d) And we extrapolate - that when there is no O'nes, neither of them have the right to retract, a proof that Rebbi Dosa does not differentiate between a Sachir and a Kablan, as we suggested to answer the Kashya on Rav.

(a) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak establishes Rebbi Dosa by a Kablan, and the Beraisa can even go like the Rabbanan. To achieve this, he establish the Beraisa - by a Davar ha'Avud (where the retraction causes a loss, and), where even the Rabbanan concede that a worker is forbidden to retract when there is no O'nes.

(b) Our Mishnah states 'Kol ha'Meshaneh, Yado al ha'Tachtonah; ve'Chol ha'Chozer Bo, Yado al ha'Tachtonah'. The Chidush of the former statement is in presenting a S'tam Mishnah like Rebbi Yehudah, who says (in Perek ha'Gozel Eitzim) - that if a dyer dyes wool black instead of red ... , he has the underhand.

(c) The Chidush in the latter statement is - that, although the Reisha only gave an 'Uman' (implying a Kablan) the underhand, the Seifa here comes to teach us that a Sachir has the underhand, too.

(d) We reconcile Rav's ruling like Rebbi Dosa on the one hand, and his permitting a Sachir to retract on the other - by concluding that even though Rebbi Dosa speaks by both a Kablan and a Sachir, Rav only rules like Rebbi Dosa with regard to the former, but not the latter.

(a) Alternatively, Rav rules like Rebbi Dosa with regard to a Sachir as well, and 'Kol ha'Chozer Bo, Yado al ha'Tachtonah' refers to - the seller or the purchaser retracting from the sale of a field, after the latter has paid two hundred out of the thousand Zuz that the field is being sold for.

(b) Practically speaking, if ...

1. ... the seller retracts after having paid part of the money - the purchaser has the option of demanding either his money back, or part of the field, corresponding to what he paid, and what's more, the seller must give him Idis (good-quality land).
2. ... the purchaser retracts - then the seller has the equivalent option, and the seller need only give him Ziburis (poor-quality land).
(c) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel disagrees. According to him, this situation would never arise - because whenever a purchaser does not have sufficient funds to pay for the entire property, Beis-Din make the seller write a Sh'tar to the effect that he sold the entire property immediately, for whatever the purchaser paid him, and the balance is converted into a loan to be paid whenever he has the money.
(a) The Tana requires the seller to pay good-quality land if he is the one to retract. The two problems that we have with this, assuming that the Tana means 'from his best-quality fields' are - a, that even a creditor only has the right to claim from Beinonis (middle-quality fields [and even that is only due to 'Ne'ilas Deles', to encourage people to lend money to those who need it]). So on what grounds would a purchaser claim Idis? and b. because since the purchaser paid for a specific plot of land, why should the seller be obligated to give him a different one?

(b) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak therefore interprets the Beraisa to mean - the purchaser receives the best part of the plot of land that he paid for (see Tosfos DH 'me'Idis'), and by the same token, in the case where he is the one to retract, he receives the worst part of the land that he paid for.

(c) Rav Acha B'rei de'Rav Ika interprets the Beraisa like we assumed initially - because he says, we consider the purchaser a Nizak (who gets paid from the best of the Mazik's property), This is because someone who buys a field for a thousand Zuz generally needs to sell some of his Metaltelin cheaply in order to obtain the money for it, and by retracting, the seller turns this into a loss, for which we penalize him.

(a) The Beraisa discusses a case where one of two men entering into a business deal, hands his friend a security, assuring him that, should he retract from the deal, he will forego the security. His friend on the other hand - promises that, if *he* retracts, he will pay back double.

(b) Rebbi Yossi rules that the agreement is valid - because he holds 'Asmachta Kanya', meaning that an exaggerated stipulation must be taken seriously, and is valid.

(c) Rebbi Yehudah qualifies Rebbi Yossi's ruling - restricting it to the value of the security (because he holds 'Asmachta Lo Kanya').

(d) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel qualifies Rebbi Yehudah's ruling, restricting it to the case of a security (as we explained) - but if the purchaser were to hand the seller a down payment, then even by S'tam (without any stipulation), he would acquire the entire piece of land that he is buying.

10) To reconcile this ruling of Raban Shimon ben Gamliel (where he does not require the stipulation to be converted into a loan in order to acquire) with his previous ruling, where he requires it to be inserted in a Sh'tar in the form of a loan, we cite Rava - who draws a distinction between 'Ayil ve'Nafik a'Zuzi' (where the seller is pressing the purchaser for his money (in which case, unless the money is converted into a loan, it does not acquire until he has paid every penny) and 'Lo Ayil ve'Nafik a'Zuzi' (in which case it acquires anyway).


(a) Rava says - that legally, there is nothing that the creditor can do to prevent the debtor from paying off his debt of a hundred Zuz, a Zuz at a time, and that all that he has on him is complaints.

(b) Rav Ashi asked whether a purchaser who has paid all but for the last Zuz for a donkey (see Maharam), for which the seller was pestering him - does also not acquire, even though there is only one Zuz outstanding, or whether, seeing as the balance is so small, it is unlikely that they should be able to retract.

(c) Rav Mordechai quotes ... Rava as saying - that one Zuz (missing) is no different that many Zuzim.

(a) When Rava ruled that under the same circumstances, the purchaser acquires the object, he was relating to - a case where the seller was selling a field because it was in such bad shape.

(b) This case is different than a regular case of 'Ayil ve'Nafik a'Zuzi' - bcause 'Anan Sahadi' (we are witnesses) that he predominantly wants to sell the field (at all costs due to the shape it is in, and that he is only chasing the purchaser for the money to prevent him from retracting.

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