ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Metzia 83
BAVA METZIA 81-85 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the
Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal
(a) To resolve Rebbi Meir in our Mishnah, who obligates even a Shomer Sachar
to swear, if the barrel that he transported broke, with Rebbi Meir in Bava
Kama, Rebbi Elazar established a Machlokes Tana'im. Rebbi Chiya bar Aba Amar
Rebbi Yochanan disagrees. According to him - the Shevu'ah in our Mishnah is
a Takanas Chachamim, because if one were Chayav to pay in all these cases,
nobody would ever agree to transport barrels for anybody else.
(b) Bearing in mind that, according to Rebbi Yochanan, Rebbi Meir holds
'Niskal Poshe'a' - he swears (not, that he was not negligent, but) that he
did not break the barrel on purpose.
(c) We learned earlier that Rebbi Yehudah obligates the porter to pay if he
was a Shomer Sachar, and Rebbi Elazar queries the Shevu'ah even by some
cases of Shomer Chinam. The Shevu'ah cannot be due to the Takanas Chachamim,
according to them - because the Takanas Chachamim is their bone of
contention with Rebbi Meir. He holds of it, whereas they don't.
(a) In a case where a porter broke the barrel he was transporting, against a
ledge that was protruding from the wall in the main street of Mechuza, Rava
ruled - that he should bring witnesses that this is what happened
(otherwise, he would be Chayav).
(b) And when Reuven claimed that the four hundred barrels of wine that he
had purchased on behalf of Reuven had turned sour - he required the
purchaser to bring witnesses that it only turned sour later (which is
something that everyone would know about) ...
(c) ... because he suspected that Reuven may have supplied his own wine or
bought sour wine at a cheap price (and kept the difference for himself).
(d) When, in both of the above cases, his son Rav Yosef asked him whether
this was not the opinion of Isi, he replied - that indeed it was, and that
the Halachah was like him.
(a) Rebbi Chiya bar Yosef instituted in Sichra that the porters who carried
'be'Agra' were liable to pay for half the damage (should the barrel break)
and those who carried 'be'Digla', full damages. The definition of ...
***** Hadran Alach, 'ha'Socher es ha'Umnin *****
1. ... 'be'Agra' is - a bent stick that one places across one's shoulders, a
heavy jug hanging from each end.
(b) The reason that the porter pays ...
2. ... 'be'Digla' is - a forked stick to which one attached a heavy load,
and which one carried by placing one's neck between the fork. The other end
was so long that, when the porter wished to rest, he would simply lower it
to the ground and lean back on it.
1. ... half damages in the case of Agra is - because it would hold one and a
half times the burden of a regular person. Consequently, on the one hand,
the porter is negligent for carrying in excess of what one person would
normally carry; whilst on the other, seeing as the load is less than what is
normally carried by two people, a porter does sometimes exert himself to
(c) When porters broke the barrel that they were transporting for him -
Rabah bar bar Chanah took their coats (to pay for the damage).
2. ... full damages in the case of Digla is - because it holds a load that
two people would normally carry. Consequently, the porter is certainly
negligent for having undertaken to carry it.
(d) When they came before Rav and he cited him the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Lema'an Teilech be'Derech Tovim" - he was proving that Rabah bar bar
Chanah was obligated to go beyond the letter of the law, and to return their
2. ... ve'Orchos Tzadikim Tishmor" - that, by the same token, he was even
obligated to pay them for their work (after they complained that they were
poor workers who had worked all day and were hungry).
***** Perek ha'Socher es ha'Po'alim *****
(a) Our Mishnah rules - that an employer cannot ask his workers to begin
work early or to finish late - if it runs contrary to local custom.
(b) In view of the fact that this appears obvious, we establish the
Mishnah - when he is paying them a higher wage than other workers, in which
case we may have thought that it is understood that they will work longer
(c) The workers account for the fact that they are receiving higher wages
than other workers - because they are expected to perform superior work.
(d) And the Tana says that in a place where it is customary ...
1. ... to feed one's employees - 'ha'Kol ke'Minhag ha'Medinah'.
2. ... to provide them with dessert ... - 'ha'Kol ke'Minhag ha'Medinah'.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan ben Masya's son fix with the workers that his father
asked him to hire - that they would receive food.
(b) His father instructed him to quickly go, before they began work - and
inform them that they would only receive bread and legumes ...
(c) ... because otherwise, even if he were to give them 'ki'Seudas Shlomoh
be'Sha'ato', he would not have fulfilled his duty, since they were sons of
Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya'akov.
(d) The significance of ...
1. ... the word 'be'Sha'ato' is - the Seudah that he served when he was
king, because there was a period when he was deposed (when his meals were
obviously considerably more modest).
(e) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel comment on this - that Rebbi Yochanan ben Masya
was going beyond the letter of the law, because strictly speaking, there was
no obligation to feed workers more than bread and legumes.
2. ... the fact that they were descendants of Avraham ... ' is - the fact
that Avraham's feasts were larger than Shlomoh's (as we will see later).
(a) The regular working hours of a day-worker as prescribed by the Torah
are - from Hanetz ha'Chamah (sunrise) to Tzeis ha'Kochavim (nightfall)?
(b) These hours be changed - as per agreement of both parties concerned.
(a) Resh Lakish learns from the Pasuk "(Tizrach ha'Shemesh Ye'asefun ve'el
Me'onasam Yirbatzun) ...
1. ... Yeitzei Adam le'Fa'alo" - that the worker only needs to leave his
house at sunrise.
(b) Resh Lakish's observation is not really relevant in most places -
because we normally follow local custom (which overrides the Torah's
prescription of work ethics, as we explained).
2. ... "ve'la'Avodaso Adei Arev" - that he must work right up to nightfall,
and only then is he permitted to leave for home.
(c) It is relevant however, in two cases: one, where a worker asked to be
employed on the Torah's terms; the other, in a new town. In the latter case,
they do not follow the original custom of the people's former residence -
because we are speaking about a cosmopolitan town, where the people came
from different locations.
(a) According to the Beraisa cited by Rav Yosef, the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Tashes Choshech vi'Yehi Laylah" refers to - this world, which is
described as night (compared to the World to Come).
(b) When Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon found the King's officer arresting
robbers, and asked him how he knew whom to arrest, he meant - that (in the
Pasuk that we just quoted) David compares the Resha'im to wild beasts
because they tend to go into hiding during the day. In that case, how could
he investigate their deeds?
2. ... "Bo Sirmos Kol Chayso Ya'ar" refers to - the Resha'im.
3. ... "Tizrach ha'Shemesh ... Ye'asefun" means - that when the sun shines
for the Tzadikim, the Resha'im will be taken away.
4. ... "ve'el Me'onosam Yirbatzun" means - that every Tzadik will have his
5. ... "Yeitzei Adam le'Fa'alo" - that the Tzadikim will go to receive
6. ... "ve'la'Avodaso Adei Arev" - for completing their workload before
(c) Rebbi Elazar's main concern was - that he might punish innocent people
for deeds that they had not performed, whilst leaving the guilty ones
(d) The officer responded to his queries - by asking what he could do, since
he had to carry out royal orders.
(a) So Rebbi Elazar instructed him - to search in the cafes, after four
hours in the day (around ten o'clock, when most people would be eating their
morning meal), and to search for people who, glass in hand, looked tired.
(b) Then he was to make enquiries about the suspect's profession, and he was
to draw the conclusion that, if he was a ...
1. ... Talmid-Chacham, he had been up many hours learning Torah.
(c) The officer would finally make his arrest - when he was satisfied, that
the tired breakfaster did not fit into any of the above categories.
2. ... a day worker - he had begun work early, and was tired due to his
3. ... a night worker - he would certainly be tired. And he must have been
busy cutting copper and iron into thin strips (which entails working
quietly) for the manufacture of pins and needles, for his activities not to
have been heard by his neighbors.
(d) When the king heard about Rebbi Elazar's sound advice - he promptly
appointed him in place of the officer.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah's reaction to Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon's
new appointment was - to refer to him as a 'Moser' (a sneak who hands over
Jews to Nochrim to be killed).
(b) When he referred to him as 'Chometz ben Yayin', he meant - that he was a
Rasha the son of a Tzadik (Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai).
(c) And when Rebbi Elazar defended himself by arguing that he was merely
'removing the thorns from the vineyard' - he retorted that he should let the
Master of the vineyard remove the thorns Himself!
(a) Rebbi Elazar took that laundryman into custody - after the latter echoed
Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korcha, by calling him 'Chometz ben Yayin' (on the
grounds that such Chutzpah is the mark of a Rasha).
(b) When, after his anger had abated, he failed in his attempt to redeem
him - he quoted the Pasuk "Shomer Piv u'Leshono, Shomer mi'Tzaros Nafsho".
(c) After the culprit had been hanged, the people appeased him - by
informing him that the laundryman was indeed a big Rasha, since both he and
his son had had relations with a betrothed girl on Yom Kipur.
(d) Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon was a very fat man. After placing his hands
on his stomach, he exclaimed - 'Rejoice, my stomach, rejoice! If this is the
outcome of the doubtful cases (*where there was no direct evidence* of the
laundryman having stolen), how much more so the definite ones (where there
*was*). I am certain that my stomach will not become infested with worms
after my death'.
(a) To reassure himself that he really was innocent of having an innocent
man put to death - he arranged for people to give him a sleeping potion (an
anesthetic), to make an incision in his stomach ...
(b) ... and when piles of fat emerged from his stomach - they were to place
it in the sun in midsummer. This is what they did - and it did not become
(c) Even though fat never goes wormy, this test nevertheless proved his
innocence, because unlike regular fat - *his* fat contained red specks (of
flesh), which should normally have gone wormy.
(d) In triumph, he finally quoted the Pasuk - "Af Besari Yishkon la'Vetach".