ERCHIN 30 (13 Tamuz) - Today's Dafyomi study is dedicated to the blessed memory of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Seymour Ira Gottlieb (Yitzchak Shimon ben Chaim Shlomo Yosef ha'Levi, Z"L), who died in World War II on the 13th of Tamuz 5704 in the battle of St. Lo, France, fighting the Nazis to save his Jewish brethren in Europe.
1) REDEEMING A "SEDEH ACHUZAH" FROM A SECOND BUYER
OPINIONS: The Mishnah (30) says that if a person sold his Sedeh Achuzah for 100 Shekalim, and the buyer then sold it to someone else for 200 Shekalim, the owner calculates the redemption of his field according to the price given by the first buyer. This is based on the verse, "To the man that sold it to him" (Vayikra 25:27).
The Mishnah then states that if the first person bought it for 200 and the second bought it from the first for 100, the original owner calculates the redemption of his field according to the price given by the second buyer. This is based on the verse, "And he will calculate the years of his sale, and he will return the remaining [money] to the man that sold it to him" (ibid.).
How is the calculation made to determine the amount that the original owner must pay, and how does this affect the second buyer?
(a) RABEINU GERSHOM understands that this is a leniency in favor of the original owner. The calculation is based on how much he would have to pay the first buyer had the first buyer kept the field. The original owner gives this amount of money to the second buyer and takes the field.
For example, if Reuven sold his field to Shimon, for 100 Shekalim, with ten years left until Yovel, and Shimon immediately sold the field to Levi for 200 Shekalim, Reuven may redeem his field after two years has passed by giving Levi 80 Shekalim (since each year until Yovel is worth 10 Shekalim). Levi has no claim against Shimon for his loss of 100 Shekalim. This explanation is also given by the TIFERES YISRAEL.
(b) RASHI (DH Eino Mechashev) seems to understand that the money is paid to the first buyer (Shimon), but the second buyer (Levi) indeed may demand the extra 100 Shekalim from the first buyer. This explanation is explicitly stated by RABEINU HILLEL in his commentary on the Sifra (Parshas Behar 5:3).
The AVODAH BERURAH presents two ways to understand this apparent argument between Rabeinu Gershom and Rashi.
1. The SHEMU'OS CHAIM entertains that these opinions are not in disagreement. It is possible that Rabeinu Gershom is discussing a case in which the second buyer bought the field without Achrayus (the first owner's commitment to be responsible to ensure that the buyer does not lose his money as a result of the purchase). Rashi and Rabeinu Hillel, however, are discussing a case in which the second buyer did buy the field with Achrayus.
2. The KEREN DAVID understands that these opinions indeed are arguing. He explains that they argue about the mechanism of the redemption of a Sedeh Achuzah.
Rashi and Rabeinu Hillel understand that when a person redeems a Sedeh Achuzah from the buyer, he is essentially uprooting the sale that he made, rendering it as though there was never a sale. This mechanism can take place only between the original owner and the original buyer. Once a second buyer takes possession of the field, his ownership is a result of the first buyer's purchase of the field. Once the first buyer's ownership is uprooted, the second buyer no longer has possession of the property. Accordingly, the second buyer may claim his money from the first buyer.
According to this opinion, it must be that the second case of the Mishnah is teaching a novel law: that even though the primary mechanism of redemption is that it uproots the original sale, there is a leniency for the seller in the event that the second buyer paid less, then the seller may redeem the field based on that price.
Rabeinu Gershom understands that redemption of the field does not uproot the original sale in any way. Rather, the right of redemption merely provides the original owner with the right to make a new transaction at a later date. Accordingly, the original owner must deal with the current owner of the field at the time of the redemption, and thus in both cases in the Mishnah he must pay the second buyer. (Y. MONTROSE)
2) AGADAH: THE PURPOSE OF "EVED IVRI"
QUESTION: Rebbi Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina derives from the verses the sequence of events that culminates in a person having to sell himself as a slave. First, the person transgresses the Torah's prohibition against buying and selling produce of Shemitah. If he does not realize the error of his ways, he will be forced to sell his Metaltelin, his mobile possessions. If he still does not repent, he will be forced to sell his field, his house, his daughter, and then even himself.
There is, however, another type of person who is sold as an Eved Ivri -- a person who stole money and does not have the resources to compensate the victim. The thief is sold to the victim as an Eved Ivri. The amount stolen, in such a case, is usually a very large sum of money, since it is at least the value of the person's worth as a slave for six years of his service (see Kidushin 18a).
RAV YOSEF SHALOM ELYASHIV shlit'a in DIVREI AGADAH (Parshas Mishpatim) comments that this explains why the Torah begins its discussion of the monetary laws with the law of Eved Ivri. It seems unreasonable and illogical that a thief who stole a large sum of money should be required to move into the house of his victim for six years in order to pay back his debt! Who would want a thief, along with the thief's wife and children, in his home? What is the intention behind the Torah's law of Eved Ivri?
The answer is that Hash-m, of course, knows that this is the best way to run the world. Accordingly, this law is the first monetary law in Parshas Mishpatim because it demonstrates that all of the monetary laws are given to us by Hash-m. Since He knows best how to run the world, we know that these laws are superior to any other laws that might be instituted by the nations of the world.
What, though, is the reasoning behind the law of Eved Ivri? Why indeed does the Torah require a Jew who stole, and cannot repay, to become a slave? Moreover, the Torah itself says that an Eved Ivri who decides to stay with his master forever (i.e. until the Yovel year) transgresses the verse, "For the Jewish people are My servants" (Vayikra 25:55), and thus his ear is pierced as a sign that he has denied what he heard at Har Sinai and subjugated himself to another master. Why does the Torah say this only about an Eved Nirtza, and not about an ordinary Eved Ivri? (See Insights to Kidushin 22:4
ANSWER: The common denominator between one who is forced to sell himself (as a result of transgressing the prohibition against buying and selling produce of Shemitah) and one who is sold by Beis Din for theft is the person's lack of trust in Hash-m to provide for his needs. The Torah takes him out of his normal state in order to rehabilitate his Emunah and Bitachon in Hash-m.
By placing the Eved in a context in which, for six years, his needs and the needs of his family are supplied entirely by his master, he is able to rebuild his Emunah and Bitachon in Hash-m so that when he goes free he will realize that he must rely on Hash-m to give him his needs in a permitted fashion. Someone who does this successfully is deemed to have repented fully for his transgressions that resulted from his lack of trust in Hash-m.
For this reason, the Chachamim do not say that an ordinary Eved Ivri transgresses the verse, "For the Jewish people are My servants," since the point of being sold as an Eved Ivri is to facilitate his repentance and his atonement for his sin of lacking trust in Hash-m.
Only one who ignores this message after six years and says that "I love my master, my wife, my children, I will not go free" (Shemos 21:5) is said to transgress the verse, "For the Jewish people are My servants," because he did not take advantage of the rehabilitation process to repent for his lack of trust in Hash-m, and he failed to correct the cause for which he was sold as an Eved Ivri in the first place. (See PERUSH HA'ROSH and YOSHEV OHALIM on Shemos 21:4-6.) (Y. MONTROSE)