BACKGROUND TO THE DAILY DAF
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[98a - 36 lines; 98b - 50 lines]
1) [line 1] MACHMAS TAR'A - because of the price of fruit (i.e. the price of fruit fell due to the abundant supply)
2) [line 3] AVDEI UVDA B'ZUZEI D'AGARDEMIS TAIYA AD ASARAH BI'TEMANYA - they based their ruling in a certain case by comparing the [old and new] coins of Agardimus the Arab merchant, and required a re-evaluation of the amount that must be paid back if the increase of the value of the new coins was more than 20 per cent. That is, a person received merchandise on credit, with a stipulation to pay back a certain amount of money for the merchandise (for example, 10 coins). Later, the value of the currency increased, such that the merchandise that he received was worth only 8 of the new coins. Rav Papa and Rav Huna brei d'Rav Yehoshua ruled that if the increase in value was 20 per cent or more, then the borrower must pay back with 8 of the new coins. If he pays back with 10 coins, it is considered Ribis. If the increase in value of the coins was less than 20 per cent, then the borrower must pay back 10 coins, and it is not considered Ribis.
3) [line 5] YAM HA'GADOL - the Mediterranean sea; it is called the Great Sea because it is the sea of Eretz Yisrael (MISHNAH BERURAH 228:2)
4a) [line 7] TZELULIN - clear water
b) [line 8] ACHURIN - dirty water
5) [line 8] ADYEI ADUYEI - he tossed it [by pushing the other person's hand which was holding the item]
6) [line 12] KASTERA - the name of a far-away place (Rashi); a dangerous place of bandits (Ra'avad)
7) [line 12] HAR HA'MELECH - the mountain of the king (a far-away place (Rashi), or a dangerous place of bandits (Ra'avad))
8) [line 15] "V'TZARTA HA'KESEF B'YADCHA" - "... and you shall wrap the money in your hand." (Devarim 14:25)
9) [line 15] HA'SHAF - (O.F. esfreier) one who rubs [off the effigy of a coin]
10) [line 17] MACHYEI B'KURNESA V'TARSHEI - he hit it (the coin) with a hammer (O.F. martel) and flattened it
11) [line 18] SHAIFA B'SHUFINA - he rubbed it with a file (O.F. lime)
12) [line 22] CHERSHO L'AVIV (HA'CHOVEL B'AV V'EM) - he deafened his father
(a) A person who strikes his father or mother such that blood flows from the wound, after having received a proper warning that the act is punishable with death, is liable to the death penalty of Chenek (choking), as it states in the Torah (Shemos 21:15).
(b) A person who wounds his fellow Jew (Chovel b'Chaveiro), is obligated to pay five payments, i.e. four payments in addition to Nezek, which one must always pay for damages. The five payments are Nezek, Tza'ar, Ripuy, Sheves and Boshes (see Background to Bava Kama 32:19 for a detailed explanation of each payment). However, if a person strikes his father or mother, since his act is of the type that is liable to the death penalty, he is exempt from the monetary obligation incurred by the act. Therefore he does not have to pay any of the five payments. (According to most Tana'im, this holds true even if the person is not actually killed, e.g. if he did not receive a proper warning -- see Background to Sotah 25:2:a.)
(c) If blood does not flow from the wound when the person strikes his father or mother, the penalty is the same as Chovel b'Chaveiro. (RAMBAM Hilchos Chovel u'Mazik 4:7)
13) [line 24] (B'UNEI) [B'UDNEI] - in his ear
14) [line 25] HA'TZOREM - (O.F. encrener) to make a notch, to notch. When done to the ear of an animal, it is considered a Mum (blemish) that invalidates the animal from being brought as a Korban.
15) [line 28] HA'OSEH MELACHAH B'MEI CHATAS UV'FARAS CHATAS - one who performs any labor with Mei Chatas, or with a Paras Chatas
(a) MEI CHATAS (The water containing the ashes of the Parah Adumah) - If a person (or utensil) became Tamei through touching a Mes, he must wait seven days to become Tahor. On the third and seventh days he must have spring water mixed with the ashes of the Parah Adumah (Mei Chatas) sprinkled on him. A person who is Tahor dips three Ezov branches (hyssops) that have been bound together into the mixture, and sprinkles them on the person who is Tamei. On the seventh day, he immerses in a Mikvah after the mixture is sprinkled on him in order to complete his Taharah. (Bamidbar 19:17-19)
(b) PARAS CHATAS - The Parah Adumah, an exclusively red-haired female cow is burned on Har ha'Zeisim and its ashes are used for making a person Tahor if he is Tamei Mes. Only a cow that has not had a yoke placed upon it and has had no other work done with it is fit to be used as a Parah Adumah. A place is prepared for its slaughter on Har ha'Zeisim, opposite the gate to the Azarah (the courtyard of the Beis ha'Mikdash). After it is slaughtered, its blood is sprinkled in the direction of the Beis ha'Mikdash seven times. A cedar branch, some Ezov branches and a piece of crimson wool are thrown into the carcass of the cow while it is burning. (Bamidbar 19:1-22)
(c) If one does any labor with these items (such as using them as weights to weigh something on a scale; Gitin 53a), they become invalid for use in the Taharah process.
16) [line 35] SHETARO - his legal document (such as a deed of debt)
17) [last line] NEYARA KALA'I MINACH - I merely burned a piece of paper of yours
18) [line 1] SAHADEI - witnesses
19) [line 5] DAVAR HA'GOREM L'MAMON, K'MAMON DAMI
(a) Davar ha'Gorem l'Mamon refers to an object in which the owner has neither the right to eat it, use it or derive benefit from it in any way. Still, if this object is destroyed, it causes its owner a financial loss. Examples of this are: 1. An object that is Asur b'Hana'ah at present but will be Mutar b'Hana'ah in the future, such as Chametz on Pesach according to Rebbi Shimon, who permits its use after Pesach; 2. An item that one accepted to be Shomer (to care for and return it to its owner unharmed) that became Asur b'Hana'ah or invalidated from use while it is in the hands of the Shomer. In certain circumstances, if a Shomer returns such an item (although it is now worthless) to its owner, he is not responsible to replace it with an object of value.
(b) The Tana'im (Bava Kama 74b) argue as to whether a person who steals or damages such an item is liable to pay the owner for it or for the damages (since he caused the owner a financial loss) or not (since it is worthless at present in either case).
20a) [line 8] DAVAR SHE'IKARO MAMON - an item which itself is of monetary value
b) [line 12] DAVAR SHE'EIN IKARO MAMON - an item which itself is of no monetary value (but rather it merely represents something else of monetary value, like a deed of debt, where the paper itself is of no value)
21) [line 13] DINA D'GARMI
(a) Rebbi Meir holds a person liable for damaging another person or his possessions even in an indirect manner. For example, not rebuilding a fence that separates between the fields of two landowners may cause one person's vines to prohibit the grain of his neighbor as Kil'ayim (see Background to Yevamos 81:11). Rebbi Meir holds the person who did not rebuild his fence liable for causing the other field to become prohibited.
(b) There are two manners of causing indirect damage. The less direct manner is known as "Gerama," for which even Rebbi Meir does not hold a person liable. The more direct manner is known as "Garmi," for which Rebbi Meir holds a person liable. (The Rishonim argue as to the definition of "more direct.")
22) [line 13] MAGVI BEI - extracts payment (the face value of the document) with it
23) [line 14] KAFYEI RAFRAM L'RAV ASHI - Rafram forced Rav Ashi [to pay]
24) [line 15] KI KESHURA L'TZALMEI - (lit. like a beam that is used for etched drawings, i.e. straight and smooth, the beam of highest quality) full payment
25) [line 16] OMRIN B'ISUREI HANA'AH "HAREI SHELCHA LEFANECHA"
(a) Isurei Hana'ah are items from which it is prohibited by the Torah to derive benefit. Such items are considered to be of no monetary value. Some examples are Chametz b'Pesach and Shor ha'Niskal (see Background to Bava Kama 44:20).
(b) A Shomer (one of the four watchmen mentioned in the Torah -- see Background to Bava Kama 44:21) and a Gazlan (a robber) have obligations to return items to their owners. If they cannot return the item for any reason, they must reimburse the owner with the value of the item. If the item becomes Asur b'Hana'ah while it is in the hands of the Shomer or the Gazlan, the Tana'im mentioned in our Gemara maintain that they may return the item "as is," and do not have to reimburse the owner, even though the item is worthless at present.
26) [line 24] GOMRIN DINO SHEL SHOR SHE'LO B'FANAV
(a) The Gemara teaches (Bava Kama 44b) that an animal is only put to death if it killed a person in a manner that would have warranted that death sentence had the act been committed by a person. For this reason, if the animal killed unintentionally or if it killed a person that was a Tereifah (see Background to Bava Kama 41:6) the animal is not put to death, since a person who kills in such a manner is not given the death sentence.
(b) Similarly, the court case in which the animal is sentenced to death, according to some Tana'im, resembles the court case of a person. As such, just as a person must be present in court when testimony is brought against him, so, too, must the bull appear in court in order for it to become a Shor ha'Niskal.
(c) The dissenting opinion (Rebbi Yakov) maintains that it is not necessary for the animal to appear in court just like a person must appear in court, since the person must appear in court for a logical reason: to present his case to the court. This obviously does not apply to a bull. When the logical arguments determining the way a person is judged do not apply to a bull, the bull is not sentenced the same way as a person. (See also TOSFOS to Sanhedrin 78a DH Shor)
27) [line 25] IY ASISEI NIHALI - if you had brought (returned) it to me
28) [line 26] HAVAH ME'ARIKNA LEI L'AGMA - I would have chased it into the marshes [and claimed that it is lost]
29) [line 26] HASHTA MESARTEI B'YAD MAN D'LO MATZINA L'ISHTA'UYEI DINA BAHADEI - now you have given it (the ox) into the hands of someone (i.e. Beis Din) from whom I cannot retrieve it (lit. with whom I cannot argue)
30) [line 37] UMNIN - craftsmen
31) [line 38] CHARASH - a carpenter
32a) [line 38] SHIDAH - a large chest (that is used as a bench in a woman's carriage) (RASHI to Eruvin 14b)
b) [line 38] TEIVAH - a chest
c) [line 38] MIGDAL - (O.F. mestier) a cupboard (RASHI to Eruvin 30b)
33) [line 38] BANAI - builder
34) [line 41] L'NA'ETZ BAHEN MASMER - to nail into them a nail
35) [line 43] UMAN KONEH B'SHEVACH KELI
(a) The Amora'im discuss (Bava Kama 99a) whether or not a craftsman -- who, through his labor, improves (or otherwise increases the value of) an item that was given to him -- acquires the item for himself through the improvement that he makes in it (in a way similar to that of a Ganav who acquires the item that he stole by making a Shinuy, a change in the item; see Background to Bava Kama 65:16). The opinion that maintains that the craftsman acquires the item through improving it holds that the craftsman has only an obligation to return the original monetary value ("Chiyuv Damim") of the item to the owner, and the item itself that was improved is considered to be the property of the craftsman. Therefore, when he finishes working on the item and he gives it back to the owner in return for payment for his labor, he is not merely giving back the item to its rightful owner, but rather it is considered as though he is selling the item anew to the owner, in exchange for the money that the owner gives him.
(b) There are a number of Halachic implications for this law.
1. If the craftsman acquires the item by improving it, then if the item becomes ruined after the craftsman made some improvement to it, the craftsman does not have to pay the entire value of the improved item to the owner. It suffices to pay the value of the item at the time that it was given to the craftsman. Since the item became the craftsman's immediately when he made some improvement to it, it is considered his item that was ruined and not the item of the original owner.
2. According to the opinion that holds that the craftsman acquires the item through making an improvement in it, it is not possible for the owner to transgress the prohibition of "Lo Salin" (see Background to Bava Kama 99:6) by holding back the craftsman's wages, since the money is not considered wages but rather it is considered money paid to purchase the item anew. (According to this, the only time one will transgress the prohibition of "Lo Salin" is when one hires a worker to work for him by the hour, and not based on the labor that is done for him.)
3. According to this opinion, when a woman gives an item to a craftsman to improve, the craftsman is able to be Mekadesh the woman by giving back the item to her and forgoing his payment. This is because the item is considered to be his, and he is given the woman his own item. According to the opinion that argues and maintains that a craftsman does not acquire the item by improving it, the craftsman cannot be Mekadesh the woman in this way, since the item already belongs to the woman, and the money that she owes him which he forgoes is considered nothing more than a debt that she owes him, and one cannot be Mekadesh a woman by forgoing a debt. (However, according to the opinion that holds "Einah li'Sechirus Ela leva'Sof" (see Background to Bava Kama 99:17), if the craftsman does not acquire the item by improving it, the woman is Mekudeshes. Similar, she is Mekudeshes according to the opinion that holds that one can be Mekadesh a woman by forgoing a loan; see Background to Kidushin 46:10.)
36) [line 49] IY MISHUM HA, LO IRYA - If [your argument is] because of this [logic], there is no proof (i.e. this logic is refutable)
37) [last line] TZABA - a dyer
Index to Background for Maseches Bava Kama