AVOIDING SAYING BAD TIDINGS
Rav's father was R. Chiya's [half-]brother, and Rav's mother was R. Chiya's [half-]sister.
Version #1 (Rashi): When Rav came from Bavel, R. Chiya asked him if Eivo (Rav's father) is still alive.
Rav: Why don't you ask if my mother is alive?! (He did not explicitly say that his father died - "U'Motzi Dibah Hu Chesil.")
R. Chiya: Is she alive?
Rav: Why don't you ask if my father is alive?!
Version #2 (Tosfos): R. Chiya asked him if Aba (R. Chiya's father) is still alive.
Rav: Mother is alive.
R. Chiya: Is my mother alive?
Rav: Father is alive. (Rav referred to his own parents; he did not give this response the first time, for it would be misleading - a grandfather is also called 'father'.) (end of Version #2)
R. Chiya told his attendant 'remove my shoes, and take my clothes behind me to the bathhouse.'
We learn three things from this:
An Avel (someone mourning the loss of a parent, sibling, child or spouse) may not wear shoes (Chidushei ha'Ran - even on account of old tidings, i.e. the relative died more than 30 days ago);
Avelus on account of old tidings applies only for one day (an Avel may not bathe - see the next law);
Part of a day [even a short time] counts like a whole day (conducting like an Avel on the way to the bathhouse suffices. See note 6 in Appendix.)
A certain man always used to say [regarding all his monetary dealings, 'Let's go to a judge and he will] judge my case!'
He must be from Shevet Dan - "Dan Yadin Amo."
A certain man always used to [praise the shore and] say 'Bushes on the shore are like pine trees anywhere else' (alternatively - 'I will build [any buildings I have opportunity to build] on the shore').
They checked and found that he was from Shevet Zevulun - "Zevulun l'Chof Yamim Yishkon."
THE TIME OF THE BEDIKAH
Question: We concluded that all agree that 'Or' means night - why do we check so early? We could check at the beginning of the sixth hour - R. Meir and R. Yehudah agree that Chametz is not forbidden [mid'Oraisa] until the end of six hours!
Answer #1: We check early, for zealous people do Mitzvos right away.
Rejection: If so, it would suffice to check [earlier] in the morning!
(Beraisa): "Uva'Yom ha'Shmini Yimol Besar Arlaso" - one may circumcise any time during the day, but zealous people do Mitzvos right away - "Va'Yashkem Avraham ba'Boker!"
Answer #2 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Chachamim fixed a time when people are at home; also, light of a Ner is good for checking [at night more than it is during the day].
(Abaye): [Since the Bedikah should be done at night, even if] a Chacham has a fixed time to learn at night, he should not begin to learn on the night of the 14th [before checking], lest he learn at length and miss checking [in the proper time].
WHO MUST CHECK A RENTED HOUSE?
Question: If one rents out his house on the 14th, who is obligated to check it?
Perhaps the landlord must check, because [he lived there until now, so] the Chametz is his (Tosfos - once he was obligated to check, he retains the obligation) (see note 7 in Appendix);
Or, perhaps the tenant must check, for the Isur is in his premises!
Answer #1 (Beraisa): The tenant is obligated to affix a Mezuzah (we assume that the same applies to all Mitzvos related to a house).
Rejection: Rav Mesharshiya taught that a Mezuzah is obligatory on whoever lives there (the landlord himself has no obligation - but here, the landlord must get rid of his Chametz even though he does not live there)!
Answer #2 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak - Beraisa): If one rented out his house:
If the 14th came before he gave over the keys, the landlord must check (Tosfos - for only he has access; Rashi - the tenant did not yet acquire the house); if it came after he gave over the keys, the tenant must check.
Question: If one rents out his house on the 14th, is there a Chazakah (may we assume) that it has been checked?
Question: What difference does it make (we can ask the landlord!)?
Answer: The case is, the landlord is not here - must the tenant toil on account of a doubt [that it was not checked already]?
Answer#1 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak - Beraisa): Everyone is believed regarding Bedikas Chametz, even women, slaves and children.
Suggestion: [Even though they are not valid witnesses,] they are believed [to say that the landlord checked it in the proper time] because it is Muchzak to have been checked (they merely support the Chazakah) - the Tana considers everyone to be a Chaver (trustworthy) regarding Bedikas Chametz:
(Beraisa): If a Chaver (regarding tithing) died and left a bin full of produce, even if Miru'ach (final processing which obligates tithing) was done that day, we assume that he tithed it. (Likewise, we assume that the landlord checked his house!)
Objection: Perhaps there is no Chazakah, rather, we rely on what the woman, slave or child said!
Answer: They (Pnei Yehoshua - children) are not valid witnesses [even in Isurim]! If it was not Muchzak to have been checked, we could not rely on them!
Rejection: If it is Muchzak to have been checked, why does the Beraisa say that they are believed - it should say that on the 14th, all houses are Muchzakim to have been checked!
Inference: We rely on the woman, slave or child - but if they do not say that it was checked, it must be checked!
Answer #2 (to Question (e)): This shows that Chazakah says that it was not checked!
Rejection (and Defense of Answer #1): No - the case is, the house was Muchzak to be unchecked, and a woman, slave or child said 'I checked it';
One might have thought they are not believed - the Beraisa teaches that this is not so;
Bedikas Chametz is only mid'Rabanan - mid'Oraisa, it suffices to Mevatel - therefore, Chachamim rely on them for a mid'Rabanan law. (Tosfos - Bitul makes it Hefker, therefore he does not transgress "V'Lo Yera'eh Lecha;" Ramban - it is not Hefker - however, he renounces all concern for it, therefore it is not considered his. Rashi - Bitul fulfils "Tashbisu," the Mitzvah to get rid of Chametz.)
Question: If one rented out his house on the 14th on the pretense that it was checked, and it was found to be unchecked, what is the law?
Is this a 'Mekach Ta'os' (a mistaken rental, and the tenant may retract), or not?
Answer: Abaye taught that not only in a place where people do not hire others to check for Chametz [the rental is valid], rather, even in a place where people hire others to check for Chametz, because people like to do Mitzvos with their own money. (If he wants to retract, it is for a different reason, e.g. now he found a better place - surely he would have rented it even had he known that it was unchecked!)
CHAMETZ IS FORBIDDEN ON EREV PESACH
(Mishnah - R. Meir): One may eat Chametz [on Erev Pesach] until the end of five hours of the day; and we burn it at the beginning of the sixth hour (Chachamim make it Asur b'Hana'ah (forbidden to benefit from) then, lest a person err regarding the time and transgress mid'Oraisa);
R. Yehudah says, one may eat until the end of four hours; we Toleh (may not eat it, but we need not burn it) during the fifth hour, and we burn at the beginning of the sixth hour.
Question: All agree that Chametz is forbidden on Erev Pesach - what is the source of this?
Answer #1 (Abaye) Contradiction: It says "Shiv'as Yomim Se'or Lo Yimatzei b'Vateichem" (we cannot possess Chametz for any part of Pesach), and it says "Ach ba'Yom ha'Rishon Tashbisu Se'or mi'Bateichem" (the Mitzvah to destroy it is on Pesach - one begins Pesach with Chametz! Alternatively, "Ach" always limits, i.e. the Mitzvah to destroy it does not apply the entire day! Se'or (sourdough) is a spoiled dough used to ferment other dough; it is forbidden to own or eat it on Pesach, like Chametz that is fit to eat.)
Resolution: We must say that "Ach ba'Yom ha'Rishon" refers to the 14th (part of it is forbidden).