ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Basra 10
BAVA BASRA 9 & 10 - these Dafim have been dedicated anonymously l'Iluy
Nishmas Tzirel Nechamah bas Tuvya Yehudah.
(a) Had someone asked Rebbi Meir why, if Hashem loves the poor, He does not
sustain them, he would have replied - that giving Tzedakah is necessary for
the rich man, since it saves him from Gehinom.
(b) When Rebbi Akiva gave Turnusrufus the Rasha the same answer, he
responded with a Mashal of a king who became angry with *his slave*, locked
him up and gave orders not to feed him, and along came someone and fed him.
Rebbi Akiva responded with the parallel Mashal - of the king who became
angry with *his son* ... '.
(c) Turnusrufus tried to resolve the Pasuk "Ki Li B'nei Yisrael Avadim,
Avadai Heim ... " with the Pasuk "Banim Atem la'Hashem Elokeichem" - by
establishing the former Pasuk to a time when Yisrael were not doing the Will
of Hashem, and the latter one when they were. And since at that time, they
were not doing the will of Hashem, he concluded, it should be forbidden to
give Tzedakah to poor Jews.
(d) To counter this argument, Rebbi Akiva cited the Pasuk in Yeshayah "ha'Lo
P'ros la'Ra'ev Lachmecha, va'Aniyim Merudim Tavi Bayis". Seeing as the
second half of the Pasuk applied to that time (since he interpreted it as
pertaining to Jews, not Nochrim, as we learned above), so does the first
(a) Rebbi Yehudah b'Rebbi Shalom says - that Hashem's judgment on Rosh
Hashanah decides losses as well as gains.
(b) In this connection, he goes on to Darshen the Pasuk "ha'Lo P'ros
la'Ra'ev Lachmecha, va'Aniyim Merudim Tavi Bayis", which is manifest in the
story of Raban Yochanan ben Zakai, who dreamt one Motza'ei Rosh Hashanah
that his nephews would lose seven hundred Zuz during the coming year.
(c) Throughout the year, he pursuaded them to keep giving Tzedakah (so as to
fulfill the dream in the finest possible way). When, on the following Erev
Yom-Kipur, they were still seventeen Zuzim short - the king's tax men came
and claimed from them seventeen Zuz.
(d) When Raban Yochanan ben Zakai reassured them that they were not destined
to lose any more, and told them about his dream, they asked him why he did
not inform them about the dream earlier, in which case they would have given
all the money of their own free will. He replied - that he wanted them to
give the money purely for the sake of the Mitzvah, and not for the least
(a) The significance of someone nowadays, falling off a ladder to his death,
is - an indication that he is Chayav Sekilah.
(b) This explains why Rav Papa felt faint when his foot slipped as he was
climbing a ladder, and he almost fell to his death - because he could not
understand why he was getting the same treatment as someone who is Chayav
(c) Rav Chiya bar Rav consoled him however, by citing a Beraisa by Rebbi
Yehoshua ben Korchah. He extrapolates from the 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Hishamer
Lecha Pen Yih'yeh Davar Im Levavcha *Beliya'al*", and "Yatz'u Anashim B'nei
*Beliya'al*" (both in Re'ei) - that someone who withholds money from the
poor, is considered as if he had served idolatry (and that is presumably,
what Rav Papa once did).
(a) Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Yossi learns from a Pasuk in Yirmiyah, that peace
and the angels speaking in defense of Yisrael are the result of - Tzedakah
(b) And Rebbi Yehudah learns from the Pasuk "Shimru Mishpat va'Asu Tzedakah,
Ki Kerovah Yeshu'asi La'vo ve'Tzidkasi Le'higalos" - that Tzedakah brings
the Ge'ulah closer.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah lists ten things that are progressively 'strong'. He
explains - that iron smash a mountain.
(b) If fire melts iron and water puts out fire - clouds contain water.
(c) Wind disperses clouds, the body contains wind - and fear breaks the
(d) Wine softens fear and sleep dispels wine.
1. Death is more powerful than sleep, and ...
2. ... Tzedakah saves from death.
(a) Rebbi Dusta'i b'Rebbi Yanai explains how, based on a Pasuk in Tehilim,
giving a P'rutah to a poor man demonstrates the difference between the Midah
of Hashem and that of a human king. In fact, he learns from the Pasuk "Ani
be'Tzedek Echzeh Panecha" - that as opposed to a human king, who might not
accept the gift that one sends him, and even if he does, gaining an audience
with him remains doubtful, Hashem accepts the P'rutah that one gives to a
poor man (as if it was a personal gift), and is assured of an audience.
(b) Based on the same Pasuk - Rebbi Elazar used to give Tzedakah before
(c) According to Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, the continuation of the Pasuk
"Esbe'ah be'Hakitz Temunasecha" refers to - Talmidei-Chachamim, who shake
sleep from their eyes in this world (in order to study Torah). Hashem on His
part, will satisfy them with the glory of His Shechinah in the World to
(d) Rebbi Yochanan observed that, based on the Pasuk "Malveh Hashem Chonen
Dal" - Hashem (Kevayachol) becomes the debtor of those who lend money to the
poor, something which we would not dared have said if Shlomoh Hamelech had
not done so.
(a) The Pasuk "u'Tzedakah Tatzil mi'Maves" occurs twice in Mishlei, once
after "Lo Yo'il Hon be'Yom Evrah", and once after that of "Lo Yo'ilu Otzros
Rasha". Rebbi Chiya bar Aba Amar Rebbi Yochanan explains - that Tzedakah
saves from a horrible death and from the Din of Gehinom.
(b) "Yom Evrah" refers to the Din of Gehinom.
(c) In order to be spared a horrible death, one must give Tzedakah in a
way - that neither does the donor know the identity of the recipient, nor
does the recipient know the identity of the donor.
(d) One achieves this - by placing the money in the purse of the Gabai
(e) Mar Ukva used to give Tzedakah in a way that, although the poor man did
not know from he was receiving, he knew to whom he was giving; whereas Rebbi
Aba used to give in a way that although he did not know to whom he was
giving, the poor man knew from whom he was receiving.
1. Mar Ukva - would throw the Tzedakah each morning into the poor man's
2. Rebbi Aba - would wrap the money in his Sudar and throw it behind him to
where the poor man was waiting.
(a) In order to father male sons, Rebbi Elazar in a Beraisa suggests that
one 'scatters one's money' for Tzedakah. Rebbi Yehoshua prescribes - making
one's wife happy before Tashmish (because Chazal have said 'Ishah Mazra'as
Techilah, Yoledes Zachar').
(b) Rebbi Eliezer ben Ya'akov, in the same Beraisa, forbids one to put
Tzedakah in the purse of the Gabai unless he is of the calibre of Rebbi
Chananya ben Teradyon. Our previous statement too, encouraging one to give
Tzedakah in a way that neither the donor nor the recipient know each other's
identity - speaks specifically in such a case.
(c) According to Rebbi Avahu, when Moshe asked Hashem how to boost Yisrael's
prestige (by counting them), Hashem replied - 'With Ki Sisa' (a reference to
Tzedakah, meaing that he should take from them money for Tzedakah [e.g. a
half-Shekel per head]).
(d) When Shlomoh Hamelech (who lived long before Yeshayah) stated the Pasuk
(quoted later by Yeshayah) "ve'Neged Zekeinav Kavod", he meant - that anyone
who is honored in this world for their Torah-learning is a ben Olam ha'Ba.
(a) When Rav Yosef B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua ...
1. ... said that he saw a topsy-turvy world, he meant - that those who were
honored in this world, are looked down upon there, whereas those who are
looked down upon here, are honored there.
(b) Those that arrive there with there Torah-learning in their hand (meaning
that they put what they learned into practice) - are described as
2. ... 's father asked him how the Rabbanan looked there, he replied - that
they looked the same there as they look here (i.e. they are honored there
(c) Nobody, Rav Yosef B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua was told, can stand in the
vicinity of the martyrs.
(d) This could hardly refer to the martyrs of the caliber of Rebbi Akiva, in
whose vicinity nobody can stand anyway. It therefore pertains to - the
Harugei Lud, Lulianus and Papus, two brothers from Ludki, who claimed that
they had killed the local princess, to remove the blame from the Jews, who
were currently suspect, and whom Turianus subsequently put to death.
(a) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai asked his Talmidim to explain the Pasuk in
Mishlei "Tzedakah Teromem Goy, ve'Chesed Le'umim Chatas". Rebbi Eliezer,
Rebbi Yehoshua and Raban Gamliel all established "Tzedakah Teromem Goy" -
by Yisrael, who the Navi Shmuel refers to as "Goy Echad ba'Aretz".
(b) Rebbi Eliezer explains "ve'Chesed Le'umim Chatas" as pertaining to the
kings of the nations of the world, who perform Tzedakah and Chesed because
they aspire to greatness. The Beraisa rules that someone who gives Tzedakah
so that his sons should live or in order to earn a portion in Olam ha'Ba -
is a complete Tzadik.
(c) Nevertheless, the Pasuk describes the charitable acts of a Nochri kings
as "Chatas" - because the Tana is speaking exclusively about a Jew, who in
any case performs the Mitzvah for the sake of Hashem, but not about a
Nochri, who relents at having performed the good deed, should his conditions
not be met.
(d) Rebbi Yehoshua and Raban Gamliel differ slightly with Rebbi Eliezer.
Rebbi Yehoshua explains that the Tzedakah and Chesed performed by the kings
is done in order to prolong their reigns (as we find in connection with
Nevuchadnetzar). Raban Gamliel explains - that it is to give them something
to boast about.
(e) We learn from a Pasuk in Mishlei - that someone who is vain will topple
(a) However, Raban Gamliel concluded, we still need the opinion of Rebbi
Elazar ha'Mudai - who was called by that name - because he came from a place
called Har ha'Mudai.
(b) The latter learned from Nevuzradan's words, which he cited (and are
quoted in Yirmiyah) even as he performed a Chesed (see Tosfos DH
'va'Yavo') - that the kings only perform Tzedakah and Chesed in order to
(c) Nevuzradan - riled Yisrael, attributing their troubles to their having
forsaken their G-d.
(d) Rebbi Nechunyah ben Hakanah interprets "Chesed" differently than the
previous Tana'im. *He* reads the Pasuk like this - "Tzedakah Teromem Goy
ve'Chesed, (u')Le'umim Chatas" (see Agados Maharsha).
(a) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai's interpretation of the Pasuk is even more
radical. According to him - the entire Pasuk is referring to Nochrim, and
what Shlomoh is saying is that Tzedakah and Chesed atone for Nochrim like a
sin-offering for Yisrael.
(b) Raban Yochanan ben Zakai declared - that Rebbi Nechunyah ben Hakanah's
explanation is preferable both to those of his Talmidim and to his own
(because, according to Rebbi Nechunyah, there is no such thing as Tzedakah
and Chesed by Nochrim [see Agados Maharsha]).
(c) When Ifra Hurmiz, the mother of Shavur Malka (King of Persia) sent money
to Rebbi Ami to distribute to Tzedakah, he refused to accept it. Rava
subsequently did, causing his ire.
(d) Rebbi Ami's refusal was based on the Pasuk "bi'Yevosh Ketzirah
Tishavarnah, Nashim Ba'os Meiros Osah", from which we learn - that when all
their merits come to an end, and all the Tzedakah that they performed dries
up, the Nochri nations will be broken.
(a) Rava accepted the money from Ifra Hurmiz (not because he did not agree
with Rebbi Ami's interpretation of the Pasuk in Yeshayah, but) - because of
Shalom Malchus (peace of the realm).
(b) Despite the fact that Rava's decision was based on Shalom Malchus, Rebbi
Ami was angry with Rava - because, he figured that Rava ought to have used
the money for poor Nochrim.
(c) The basis of their misunderstanding lay - in the fact that Rava did
give the money to Nochrim, but this information was not passed on to him.
(d) Even though Rava distributed the Tzedakah that Ifra Hurmiz sent to
Nochrim, Rav Yosef could not do the same, when (earlier in the Perek), she
sent him money in order to perform a 'Mitzvah Rabah' - because then it would
not have been a Mitzvah Rabah, and it is forbidden to fool people, even