POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question on the daf
Previous daf Bava Kama 31
BAVA KAMA 31 - - dedicated by Reb Gedalia Weinberger of Brooklyn,
N.Y. in memory of his father, Reb Chaim Tzvi ben Reb Shlomo
Weinberger (Yahrzeit: 18 Adar). Reb Chaim Tzvi, who
miraculously survived the holocaust, always remained strongly
dedicated to Torah and its study.
(a) (Mishnah): Two potters were walking one after the other.
Reuven (the first) tripped; Shimon tripped over Reuven.
Reuven must pay the damages.
2) STOPPING IN A PUBLIC DOMAIN
(b) (Gemara - R. Yochanan): Do not say our Mishnah is only as
R. Meir, who says that one who trips is negligent and
liable (to pay for the damages);
1. Rather, our Mishnah is even as Chachamim, who say
that one who trips is not negligent, and exempt;
(c) (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): Even if he was unable to get
up, he is liable - he should have warned Shimon.
i. In the case of our Mishnah, Reuven is liable,
for he should have gotten up.
1. R. Yochanan disagrees - since he is unable to get
up, he is distracted, and he is not obligated to
(a) (Mishnah): Reuven is walking, carrying a beam; Shimon is
walking in back of him, carrying a jug. The jug broke on
the beam - Reuven is exempt.
3) FOR WHICH DAMAGES MUST THEY PAY?
1. If Reuven stopped, he is liable.
(b) Suggestion: The case is, Reuven stopped to adjust the
beam, which is normal, and still he is liable, for he
should have warned (even though he is distracted - this
refutes R. Yochanan)!
(c) Rejection: No, he stopped to rest (which is abnormal).
(d) Question: But if he had stopped to adjust he would be
1. If so, why does the end of the Mishnah say, if he
warned Shimon, he is exempt? Let it show the
distinction when he does not warn!
(e) Answer: The Mishnah teaches a different Chidush - even
when he stops to rest, if he warned, he is exempt.
2. The Mishnah should say 'He is only liable when he
stopped to rest. If he stopped to adjust, he is
(f) (Beraisa): Potters and glassmakers were walking one after
the other. Reuven (the first one) tripped and fell;
Shimon tripped on Reuven, and Levi on Shimon. Reuven must
pay the damages to Shimon; Shimon must pay the damages to
1. If they all fell because of Reuven, he must pay all
(g) Question: But if they could not have stood they would be
2. If they warned each other, all are exempt.
3. Suggestion: They were unable to stand (and are
liable because they should have warned).
4. Rejection: No - they could have stood.
1. If so, why does the end of the Mishnah say, if they
warned each other, they are exempt? Let it show the
distinction when he does not warn!
(h) Answer: The Mishnah teaches a different Chidush - even
when they could have stood, if they warned each other,
they are exempt.
2. The Mishnah should say 'They are only liable when
they could have stood. If they were unable to stand,
they are exempt'!
(a) (Rava): Reuven must pay the damages to Shimon, both
damage due to Reuven's body and that due to Reuven's
1. Shimon must only pay damage that his own body caused
to Levi, not that due to Shimon's property.
(b) Question: This is inconsistent!
1. If one who trips is negligent - Shimon should also
be liable for damage done by his property!
2. If one who trips is not negligent - Reuven should
also be exempt even for damage done by his body!
(c) Answer: Reuven is certainly negligent (because he tripped
on his own). Shimon is blameless for falling, but is
liable for damage due to his body, for he should have
1. He is exempt for damage done by his property,
because he cannot be blamed for his property
falling, and he made it Hefker.
(d) Question (Beraisa): Every one of them is liable for
damage due to his own body, and exempt for damage due to
1. Suggestion: This applies even to the first.
(e) Answer #1: No - it applies to all except the first.
1. Question: But it says, 'Every one of them'!
(f) Retraction (Rava): Rather, Reuven must pay the damages to
Shimon, both damage to Shimon's body and to his property
(Reuven is not negligent for falling, rather for not
2. Answer (Rav Ada bar Ahavah): It means, every one of
3. Objection: This is unreasonable!
i. If it means even the first, we understand why
it says 'every one of them'.
ii. But if it means all other than the first - let
it just say 'The injured'!
1. Shimon must only pay damage to Levi's body, not to
(g) This answer is acceptable according to Shmuel, who says
that every obstacle has the law of a pit.
2. Question: Why is Shimon exempt on damage to Levi's
3. Answer: Shimon's body is an obstacle, it has the law
of a pit (he is even less negligent than Reuven, who
tripped by himself). One does not pay for vessels
damaged by a pit (only for people and animals).
(h) Question: According to Rav, who says that an obstacle is
only judged as a pit if the owner made it Hefker
(ownerless), how can we answer?
(i) Answer: Really, as we said above (a), Reuven pays to
Shimon damages due to Reuven's body and property;
1. Shimon only pays damage that his own body caused to
Levi, not what his property caused.
(j) Answer #2 (to question (d) - Rav Ada bar Minyomi): When
the Beraisa says 'Every one of them is liable for damage
due to his own body, and exempt for damage due to his
property' - it speaks of damage to vessels.
1. (A person is liable for all damage caused by his own
body; he is exempt for damage caused by his property
to vessels - Reuven's property is as a pit, Shimon's
property is not even liable as a pit.)
(k) (Beraisa): If they all fell because of Reuven, he must
pay all the damages.
(l) Question: How is it that they all fell because of Reuven?
(m) Answer #1 (Rav Papa): Reuven fell across the width of the
(n) Answer #2 (Rav Zvid): He fell as a blind man's stick
(diagonally, covering the width of the road). (Tosafos -
But had he fallen horizontally, as Rav Papa said, he
would only be liable for damage to Shimon; the latter
victims were negligent for not having been careful,
having seen others fall before them.)