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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Bava Metzia 86



(a) The significance of the combination of ...
1. ... Rebbi and Rebbi Nasan is - that the era of the Tana'im came to an end when they compiled the Mishnah, which until then had been learned orally, and haphazardly (each Chacham would quote what he had learned from his Rebbi, but in no particular order). They compartmentalized the Mishnayos into Masechtos and Sedarim (after which, only little was added).
2. ... Rav Ashi and Ravina is - that the era of Amaro'im came to an end when they collated the statements and arguments regarding the Mishnayos (which had hitherto been presented according to whichever Mishnah a particular Amora happened to be learning at the time), and compiled the Gemara, achieving very much what Rebbi and Rebbi Nasan achieved when they compiled the Mishnayos.
(b) This latter pair is hinted in the Pasuk "Ad Avo el Mikdeshei Keil, Avinah le'Acharisam" - in acronym form, Rav Ashi in the word "Mikdeshei", Ravina in the word "Avinah" (which was actually his real name [Rav Avina]), see also Agados Maharsha.

(c) Rav Chama the grandson of Chasa told Rav Kahana how Rabah bar Nachmeini's death - was caused by his fear of the ruling power, (as we shall now see).

(d) When they sneaked on him that he deprived the king of the head-taxes of twelve thousand Jewish men twice a year - the sneaks were referring to his twice annual pre Yom-Tov D'rashah in Nisan and Tishri (known as 'Yarchei Kalah), which attracted that many people from far and wide. Consequently when the tax-collectors arrived at their houses to collect the monthly head-tax, they found nobody at home to pay it.

(a) To escape the king's wrath, Rabah, who was Rosh Yeshivah in Pumbedisa, fled from one place to another - until he finally landed up in back in Pumbedisa.

(b) One of the policeman who was sent to arrest him landed in the same inn where Rabah was hiding - and after the innkeeper inadvertently served him two drinks and removed the table from in front of him, his face was bashed in by the demons (because he drank Zugos).

(c) He became healed - when Rabah advised the innkeeper (who took fright because the man was a policeman) to serve him another cup of wine and to bring the table back.

(d) The policeman, realizing that it must have been Rabah who saved him, searched for him and found him. Although he gratefully claimed that he would not have divulged Rabah's whereabouts had his superiors threatened to kill him, he was afraid - that they might beat him until he could not help revealing his whereabouts.

(e) After the policeman locked him in a room in the inn (in case they beat him and he would be forced to divulge where Rabah was) - Rabah escaped when as a result of his prayers, the wall collapsed and he fled to safety.

(a) After escaping to the fields, Rabah sat on the stump of a tree.

(b) The Yeshivah shel Ma'alah sent him through a Sheli'ach - the She'eilah of a case where it was not known whether the Baheres (a mark of Tzara'as) preceded the white hairs (which might be a sign of Tum'ah) or vice-versa.

(c) Hashem and the Angels unanimously agreed in a case where ...

1. ... the Baheres preceded the white hair - that the man is Tamei.
2. ... the white hair preceded the Baheres - that he is Tahor.
(d) The reason that they sent the She'eilah specifically to Rabah bar Nachmeini - was because he claimed to be the leading authority of his time on Nega'im and Ohalos.
(a) Rabah concurred with - the opinion of Hashem.

(b) The Angel of Death (who had been sent to take his Neshamah) was not initially able to perform his job - because Rabah did not stop learning Torah.

(c) He eventually succeeded in doing so - when a wind blew among the canes, making a loud noise, which led Rabah to believe that his pursuers had caught up with him. At that point, he prayed that he should not fall into their hands, and the Angel of death was able to do his job.

(d) Based on the last words that Rabah uttered before he died ('Tahor, Tahor') - a Heavenly Voice proclaimed after his death 'Ashrecha Rabah bar Nachmeini, she'Gufcha Tahor, ve'Yatzasa Nishmascha be'Tahor!'

(a) When a note fell from Heaven in Pumbedisa with the news that Rabah had died - Abaye, Rava and all the Rabbanan went out to arrange his burial.

(b) At first, they could not find the spot where he had died. They eventually found it - when they spotted some birds hovering over his body.

(c) When they had eulogized him for ...

1. ... three days and prepared to return home - a note fell from Heaven with the message that whoever left would be placed in Niduy.
2. ... seven days - a second note said 'Go home in peace!'
(a) On the day that Rabah died, an Arab who was riding a camel along the banks of the River Papa - was blown together with his camel, over the river to the other side (by a storm-wind that raged as a result of his death).

(b) When he made a statement that the whole world belongs to Hashem, and that because he and Rabah were good friends, so to speak, that was no reason to destroy the world, the storm abated.

(c) Rebbi Shimon ben Chalafta was very fat. One hot day, when he was sitting on top of a hill, he promised his daughter - some bunches of a spice called 'Nerd' (see Rashash).

(d) When a wind blew, he said - 'How many bunches of Nerd must I give the Master of that wind'?

(a) We learned in our Mishnah that where the Minhag is to feed the workers or even to give them dessert, one is obligated to do so. The Tana needs to add 'ha'Kol ke'Minhag ha'Medinah', to teach us - that where the Minhag is to feed them a loaf of bread and a Revi'is of wine, they are entitled to eat it in *his* time (and he cannot obligate them to arrive early at work to eat it in *theirs*).

(b) The problem with the Tana, who follows the previous statement with the story of Rebbi Yochanan ben Masya and his son is - that is not customary (nor even logical) to cite an episode that contradicts the statement that precedes it.

(c) To resolve the problem, we amend the Mishnah - by adding (after 'ha'Kol ke'Minhag ha'Medinah') ve'Im Pasak Lahen Mezonos, Ribah Lahen, and then citing the episode with Rebbi Yochanan ben Masya in support.




(a) We extrapolate from Rebbi Yochanan ben Masya's words 'even if you would prepare for them like the Se'udah of Shlomoh Hamelech ... because they are children of Avraham ... ' - that the Se'udah of Avraham Avinu was bigger than that of Shlomoh Hamelech (see also Anaf Yosef).

(b) Shlomoh's Se'udah consisted of thirty Sa'ah of So'les and sixty Sa'ah of Kemach, ten healthy bulls, twenty grazing bulls and a hundred sheep ... . Gurion ben Istion commented that the So'les and the Kemach were merely to make a sort of loaf to draw the scum from the dishes as they cooked on the stove. Rebbi Yitzchak says - that the sheep and the bulls were not even the main dish, but used as 'Tzikei Kedeirah', which was a spicy side-dish.

(c) According to Rav, "Barburim Avusim" means chickens (or swans) that are force-fed. According to Shmuel, it means - birds that are given access to excessive amounts of food to eat on their own (in order to become fat).

(d) According to Rebbi Yochanan, "Avusim" refers also to the bulls mentioned earlier in the Pasuk (Agados Maharsha), and it as only done to bulls and chickens which he describes as 'de'Lo Anisa'. In connection with bulls, this means, bulls that were not worked with, whereas in connection with chickens - it means chickens that have not yet brought up young chicks.

(e) Rebbi Yitzchak also explains that each of Shlomoh's thousand wives would prepare that for each main meal - just in case he ate with *her* that day. Note, that dispensing with the excess food, must have turned Yerushalayim into a poor man's paradise.

(a) Rav Yehudah Amar learns from the Pasuk "Va'yikach ben Bakar, Rach va'Tov" - that Avraham served the three Angels three bulls (and not just one).

(b) The Kashya this Pasuk poses on Rebbi Yochanan ben Masya's statement in our Mishnah is - that it now seems that Shlomoh's Se'udah was much larger than that of Avraham (and not vice-versa)?

(c) According to Rebbi Yochanan, the pick of ...

1. ... the animals are - the bulls.
2. ... the birds are - the chickens.
(d) Ameimar confines this to a black chicken - which lives beside the wine-press and eats the grape-pits. What distinguishes it from other chickens is - the fact that it becomes so fat that it is unable to hop over a cane.
(a) What prompts Rav to interpret "ben Bakar, Rach va'Tov" as three bulls is - the extra 'Vav' in "va'Tov".

(b) He also interprets "ben Bakar Rach" (which has no 'Vav' in between) to refer to two bulls - because since "va'Tov" comes for a D'rashah, so does "Rach".

(c) Rebbi Yochanan will explain the continuation of the Pasuk "Va'yiten el ha'Na'ar, Va'yemaher La'asos *Oso*" (suggesting that there was only bull) to mean - that Avraham gave each bull to a different Sheli'ach to Shecht.

(a) Avraham did not in fact serve his guests meat together with milk - because in the order that he prepared the food, he brought it before them (first the milk foods, and then the bulls).

(b) Rav Chanan bar Rava ascribes Avraham's need to Shecht three bulls for three guests - to the fact that he wished to serve each one the best part of the animal (the tongue together with mustard).

(c) Rebbi Tanchum bar Chanilai learns the prohibition of deviating from the local custom from ...

1. ... Moshe Rabeinu - who went forty days without food because he was in the realm of the Angels, who do not eat.
2. ... the Angels - who ate the food that Avraham offered them.
(d) Seeing as angels do not eat - we amend this to read that they pretended to eat.
(a) Rav connects the gifts that Yisrael received in the desert with the various acts of kindness that Avraham performed with the Angels who came to visit him. Avraham Avinu earned for his descendants ...
1. ... the quails - by Shechting the bulls.
2. ... the Manna - by serving smetana and milk.
3. ... G-d standing by them when they were provided with water - by standing over his guests (to see to their every need) as they ate.
4. ... water - by providing them with water.
(b) In contrast with the previous three gifts, Yisrael did not receive the water directly through Hashem (only through Moshe, with dire consequences) - because that was the way Avraham served his guests, as the Torah testifies "Yukach Na Me'at Mayim".

(c) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina does not argue with Rav's basic theory (contained in the previous answer [because the water mentioned by the former is synonymous with Miriam's well mentioned by the latter), only - with the fact that instead of Hashem standing by them when they received water (in exchange for Avraham's standing over his guests), he explains that Hashem provided them with the Clouds of Glory.

(d) According to Rebbi Yanai the son of Rebbi Yishmael, Avraham was punished for suspecting the Angels of being Arabs (by making them wash their feet before entering his tent) - by having a son called Yishmael.

(a) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina explains the Pasuk "ke'Chom ha'Yom" to mean - that Hashem took the sun out of its bag, so that it should be too hot for travelers, who would disturb Avraham, to be up and about.

(b) When Eliezer came from outside with the news that there was nobody around, Avraham reacted - by going outside to see for himself, because Avadim cannot be trusted.

(c) He found Hashem waiting outside his tent.

(d) First Hashem and then the Angels, did not want to enter the tent - because they initially found him changing his bandages, and did not consider it respectful to enter.

(a) The three Angels who came to visit him were Michael, Gavriel and Refael. Michael came - to give Sarah the good news that she would bear Avraham a son the following year; Refael, to cure Avraham and Gavriel to overturn S'dom.

(b) Gavriel was sent to overturn S'dom, and Michael accompanied him - in order to save Lot (which is similar to curing [see the B'rachah of 'Refae'nu]). We prove that, despite the Lashon "Va'yavo'u Sh'nei ha'Mala'chim Sedomah ba'Erev", Gavriel alone destroyed S'dom - because the Torah writes "Va'yahafoch es he'Arim ha'Eil" (in the singular).

(c) Michael immediately accepted Avraham's invitation to dine, but first refused that of Lot - because of the principle 'Mesarvin le'Katan ve'Ein Mesarvin le'Gadol' ('One initially refuses an ordinary person, but not a great man').

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