ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Basra 155
BAVA BASRA 155 (14 Elul) - This Daf has been dedicated in honor of the
Yahrzeit of Yisrael (son of Chazkel and Miryam) Rosenbaum by his son and
daughter and families, and in memory of Sheina Basha (daughter of Yakov and
Dora) Zuckerman, who passed away on 10 Elul, by her children and sons in
(a) We now present Rebbi Yochanan's Kashya (from the Beraisa of Rebbi Akiva)
on Resh Lakish differently, as we just explained. The problem with Resh
Lakish, who now holds 'Re'ayah be'Eidim' is - how the purchaser could
possibly have taken possession of the property (seeing as there was no way
of proving that he was a Gadol at the time of the sale?
(b) There is no problem with Rebbi Yochanan, who holds 'Re'ayah be'Kiyum
ha'Sh'tar - either because it speaks when the purchaser substantiated the
Sh'tar, or because, seeing as the brothers admitted that the Sh'tar was
written, this was not even necessary (like the Rabbanan in our Mishnah).
(c) Resh Lakish resolves the problem - by dismissing the brothers' argument
(that their deceased brother was a Katan at the time of the sale), in view
of the Chazakah that witnesses only sign on a Sh'tar where all the parties
concerned are Gedolim.
(a) We conclude 'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kasvo, Ein Tzarich Le'kaymo'. We know
that this applies even in a case where it is the witnesses who then attempt
to disqualify the Sh'tar - since we also switched the opinions in the
Beraisa of 'Ein Ne'emanim Le'paslo ... ' (where it was the witnesses who
attempted to disqualify the Sh'tar) to conform with Rebbi Yochanan. (See
also Tosfos DH 'Ela le'Didach').
(b) According to Rava Amar Rav Nachman, a son is not permitted to sell his
father's property until he reaches the age of eighteen - Rav Huna bar
Chin'na Amar Rav Nachman says, until he is twenty.
(a) The Mishnah in Nidah rules that if someone turns twenty and has not yet
produced signs of maturity - he is a Saris (a eunuch).
(b) The Tana is speaking in connection with Yibum and Chalitzah, to which a
Saris is not subject (even though he is a Gadol).
(c) Based on this Mishnah, Rebbi Zeira asks from the Beraisa of Rebbi Akiva
on Rav Huna bar Chin'na Amar Rav Nachman - what is then the point of
examining him for signs of maturity, seeing as at the age of twenty, even if
he had no Simanim, he would be considered a Saris who is a Gadol.
(a) To answer this Kashya, we cite Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak Amar Rav, who
establishes the Mishnah - when he also possessed the signs of a Saris (as
listed in Yevamos).
(b) Rav Ashi proves from the words 've'Hu ha'Saris' - what we just said
(that he is only a Saris as long as he possesses the signs of one).
(a) This does not mean that someone who neither possesses the signs of a
Saris nor has grown signs of maturity, is a Katan for the rest of his life -
since in fact, he becomes a Gadol once he reaches the age of thirty-six.
(b) The significance of the age of thirty-six is - that based on the Pasuk
in Tehilim "Yemei Shenoseinu Bahem Shiv'im Shanah", it means that a person
has lived most of his life in this world.
(c) This Halachah (which requires a combination of signs of maturity plus
the age of eighteen or even twenty) - is restricted to the Din of selling
one's father's property (which requires a special maturity), but when it
comes to all other issues, a person becomes a Gadol already at the age of
thirteen, as we learned in the Mishnah Pirkei Avos.
(d) When they brought before Rebbi Chiya someone over the age of twenty, who
had not yet matured physically - he would say either 'Strengthen him' or
'Make him weak', depending upon whether the delay was caused by weakness or
by too much strength.
(a) When Rava Amar Rav Nachman says 'Toch Z'man ke'Lifnei ha'Zeman', he
means - that if a boy (or a girl) in the eighteenth or twentieth year sells
his father's property, he is considered a Katan, and his sale is invalid.
(b) Rava bar Shilo Amar Rav Nachman holds 'Toch ha'Zeman ke'le'Achar
ha'Zeman', and his sale is valid.
(c) Rava did not actually state what we quoted him as saying. When the case
came before him (of a youth in his eighteenth [or twentieth]-year who had
sold his father's property) - he ruled (in the name of Rav Nachman) - that
the sale was invalid.
(d) We refute the proof from there that he holds 'Toch Z'man ke'Lifnei
ha'Zeman' on the grounds - that this particular teenager had acted stupidly,
by setting free his Eved Cana'ani, causing himself an immense loss, and
proving his incompetence with regard to business matters. That is why he
elicited such a response from Rava.
(a) Gidal bar Menasheh asked Rava what the Din will be regarding a
fourteen-year old girl who was an adept saleswoman. He asked specifically
1. ... a girl, and not a boy, and about ...
(b) Rava replied - that in that case, her transactions were valid.
2. ... a girl of fourteen and not of twelve - because that was the case that
was originally brought before him.
(c) We reject the suggestion that Gidal bar Menasheh's She'eilah concerned
the sale of Metaltelin - since the Mishnah in Gitin has already taught us
that a child is permitted to sell Metaltelin from the age of six or seven
(in which case Rav Gidal's She'eilah would make no sense).
(a) When a nineteen-year old sold some of his father's property, his
brothers advised him to eat dates in Rava's presence and throw the pits in
front of him - they intended him to look foolish and therefore incompetent
in handling his father's property (to encourage Rav Nachman to invalidate
(b) The purchaser countered this by instructing him to say to Rav Nachman
'Megilas Esther be'Zuza, Sh'tara de'Mar be'Zuza'!, by which they meant -
that if a Megilah cost a Zuz, then Rav Nachman's Sofer ought not to be
charging a Zuz for a regular Sh'tar (proving that he was not so stupid after
(c) Rava reject the brothers' argument that he only said this because he had
been taught to say it - on the grounds that if he was smart enough to
understand it and then to convey the appropriate message, then he was also
smart enough to sell his father's property.
(d) Consequently, Rava reinterpreted the young man's previous action (of
spitting out the date-pits in front of him) - as a sign of Chutzpah (and not
of stupidity, as he thought at first).
(a) When Rav Huna B'rei de'Rav Yehoshua validates the son of his deceased
father to testify - he is referring to someone under twenty.
(b) Mar Zutra confines this to Metaltelin - since he is believed to buy and
sell property at that age.
(c) This does not mean that a six or seven-year old may legally testify in
matters concerning Metaltelin (seeing as he is permitted to buy and sell
them) - because when it comes to Eidus, the Torah writes in Shoftim "ve'Amdu
Sh'nei *ha'Anashim* ... ", precluding Ketanim under bar-Mitzvah from
(a) Ameimar rules - that the gift of a thirteen-year old Yasom is valid,
even though his sale is not.
(b) Rav Ashi objects to this however - on the grounds that if he is not
believed to sell his father's property, because he might sell it to cheaply,
how much more so can he not give it away, where he receives nothing in
(c) Ameimar counters Rav Ashi's Kashya - by suggesting that according to
S'vara, a child who sells property worth five Zuz for six, his sale ought to
(d) So we have to say that, for fear that the child, attracted to money,
will, due his inexperience, sell all his father's property for a song,
Chazal forbade him to sell, irrespective of how much he might earn from this
sale. A gift on the other hand, is not a question of money, but that the
beneficiary probably did the son a favor, which he would like to repay. So
Chazal instituted that his gifts should be valid, to encourage people to do