ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Metzia 59
BAVA METZIA 59 (7 Shevat) - dedicated by Danny & Ramona Schwartz, l'Iluy
Nishmat Yochanan Shabsai ben Yair, Z"L, whose Yahrzeit is 7 Shevat.
(a) Rava exprapolated the following incident from the Pasuk in Tehilim
"u've'Sal'i Samchu ve'Ne'esfu Kar'u ve'Lo Damu". Even as they studied
'Nega'im and Ohalos', the Torah-scholars teased David ha'Melech - by asking
him how the torah punishes the sin of adultery.
(b) David replied - that the punishment was 'Chenek' (strangulation) yet the
perpetrator retains his portion in the World to Come; whereas someone who
shames a fellow-Jew in public forfeits his portion in the World to Come.
(c) David's sin was only considered a *Safek* Eishes Ish - because all the
soldiers in David's army would give their wives a Get before leaving for the
battlefield which was worded in a way that validated it retroactively on the
condition that he failed to return.
(d) Based on this same Pasuk and incident, Rabah bar bar Chanah formulated
the principle - that one should rather have relations with a Safek Eishes
Ish than put a fellow-Jew to shame in public.
(a) Rav (or Rebbi Shimon Chasida or Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai) is quoted as
saying that it is better to be thrown into a burning furnace than to shame a
fellow-Jew. He learned this from - Tamar, who allowed herself to be taken
out to be burned, rather than divulge that the man with whom she had had
relations was none other than Yehudah (who was her Yavam).
(b) Rav Chinena B'rei de'Rav Idi Darshens from the Pasuk "ve'Lo Sonu Ish es
*Amiso*" - 'Am she'Ito' (people who are with you in Torah and Mitzvos).
Bearing in mind that by Ona'as Mamon the Torah writes "mi'Yad *Achiv*", the
former La'av does not apply when dealing with a non-observant Jew, whereas
the latter La'av applies with regard to every Jew, who falls under the
category of 'brother' (see Agados Maharsha).
(c) Rav warns us to take particular care not to contravene the La'av of
Ona'as Devarim when dealing with - one's own wife (because she cries easily,
and Hashem is easily moved by tears).
(a) Rebbi Elazar learns from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Gam Ki Ez'ak va'Ashave'a, Sasam Tefilasi" - that after the Churban
Beis ha'Mikdash, the gates of Tefilah were closed.
(b) He infers this - from the change in Lashon from "Shim'ah" by Tefilah (a
prayer) to "Al Techerash" by tears (a positive statement implying
2. ... "Shim'ah Tefilasi Hashem ... el Dim'asi Al Techerash" - that although
the gates of Tefilah were closed, those of tears remained open.
(c) What caused Ach'av to become the Rasha that he did was - the fact that
he listened to his wife Izevel (Jezebel).
(d) Rav subsequently says that someone who follows the (negative) advice of
his wife - will end up in Gehinom.
(a) Rav Papa queried Rav however, from the adage 'It'sach Gutza, Gachin
ve'Tilchash Lah'!, which means - If your wife is short, bend down and listen
(b) There are two versions of Abaye's reply. One makes a distinction between
worldly matters (where one should not follow [and certainly not when it
comes to spiritual ones]) and matters to do with the home (where one
should). The other version is - listen in both of the above cases, but not
when it comes to spiritual matters.
(c) We learned above that nowadays, the gates of Tefilah are closed. Rav
Chisda learns from the Pasuk "Hinei Hashem Nitzav al Chomas Anach, u've'Yado
*Anach*" (meaning 'your Ona'ah').
(d) Rebbi Elazar infers further from "u've'Yado Anach" - that, inasmuch as
Hashem punishes for this sin personally (whereas in other cases, He sends
angels to intervene), Ona'as Devarim is unique.
(a) In view of the natural Mechitzah (division) that exists between Hashem's
Throne and the angels (see Agados Maharsha), Rebbi Avahu learns from the
1. ... "uve'Yado Anach" - that the prayers of the victims of Ona'as Devarim
(b) Rav Yehudah extrapolates from the Pasuk "ha'Sam Gevulech Shalom, Chelev
Chitim Yasbi'ech" - that a lack of produce (food) in the house affects one's
2. ... "Chamas va'Shod Yishama Bah al Panai Tamid" - that the same applies
to the victims of Gezel.
3. ... "ha'Am ha'Mach'isim Osi al Panai Tamid" - that the same also applies
to someone who serves idols.
(c) Rav Papa cites an adage in this regard 'ki'Mishlam Sa'ari mi'Kada,
Nakish ve'Asa Tigra be'Veisa', which means - that when there is no more
barley (even cheap food) left in the storage jar, there is a knock at the
door (or when the jar rings like an empty vessel), and Machlokes enters.
(d) Rav Chinena bar Papa learns from the Pasuk "ve'Hayah Im Zara Yisrael ...
Va'yachanu ... Va'yidal Yisrael Me'os Mipnei Midyan" - that the Yisrael are
called 'Dal' specifically when they have no produce (and that one should
take special care to ensure that one's house should never be empty of one's
(a) Rebbi Chelbo learns from the Pasuk (in connection with Par'oh)
"u'le'Avram Heitiv Ba'avurah ... " - that one should take great care to show
one's wife respect, because it is through her that Hashem bestows His
blessings on one's household.
(b) And in the same context, Rava instruct the people of Mechuza - to honor
their wives if they wanted to become rich.
(a) Tanur shel Achna'i is an oven made of circular sections that have been
heated in a furnace, and put together with cement made of sand.
(b) It was called by that name - because an Achna'i is a snake that coils
itself into a circle with its tail in its mouth (as we leared at the end of
Bava Kama), and the Chachamim, who held that it is subject to Tum'ah,
encircled Rebbi Eliezer (who disagreed) with proofs like an Achna'i.
(c) Rebbi Eliezer declared it Tahor - because the owner placed cement
between the sections (See Tosfos).
(d) Following the Machlokes - Rebbi Eliezer tried to prove his point by
making a local carob-tree move one (or four) hundred Amos, a stream of water
change its course and run in the opposite direction, and the walls of the
Beis ha'Medrash begin to cave in.
(a) Rebbi Yehoshua responded ...
1. ... in the above three cases - by declaring that one cannot bring a proof
from carob-trees and streams of water, and that the walls of the
Beis-ha'Medrash had no business to interfere when Talmidei-Chachamim were
(b) The walls of the Beis ha'Medrash - remained as they were. They did not
cave-in completely, in deference to Rebbi Yehoshua, nor did they revert to
their original position, in deference to Rebbi Eliezer.
2. ... when a Bas Kol announced that the Halachah is like Rebbi Eliezer
everywhere - that the Torah is no longer in Heaven, and can only be decided
by the principles that govern it, one of which is 'Acharei Rabim Le'hatos'.
(c) When Rebbi Nasan asked Eliyahu ha'Navi for Hashem's reaction at the
time - he replied that Hashem had smiled and announced "Nitzchuni Banai,
Nitzchuni Banai" ('My children have vanquished Me ... !')
(d) On that very day - the Chachamim burned all the Taharos that had emerged
from Rebbi Eliezer's ovens, and arrived at the decision to place Rebbi
Eliezer in Cherem.
(a) The Chachamim were concerned as to who would inform Rebbi Eliezer of
their decision - because if the person who told him was unworthy, the way he
put it to him could destroy the world.
(b) Rebbi Akiva, who volunteered to go, demonstrated his pain at his Rebbe's
predicament - by wearing black and covering himself with black, before
sitting at a distance of four Amos (which was a Halachic obligation).
(c) When Rebbi Eliezer asked him why that day was different than other days
1. ... he replied - that it appeared that his contemporaries had cut off
(d) When Rebbi Eliezer began to cry - a third of the olive stocks throughout
the world were stricken, a third of the wheat and a third of the barley.
2. ... Rebbi Eliezer subsequently - rent his clothes, removed his shoes and
got off his seat to sit on the floor.
(e) Others add - the ready-made doughs which swelled in the hands of the
women who had kneaded them.
(a) The 'Ach (or 'Af') Gadol' that struck on that day was - that wherever
Rebbi Eliezer looked, became burned.
(b) Even Raban Gamliel (the Nasi responsible for the Cherem) was almost
drowned by a storm at sea, until he stood up and Davened. The storm only
abated - when he said to Hashem that he did not do it for his own Kavod or
even for the Kavod of his ancestors, but in order to rid Yisrael of
(c) Eima Shalom - Raban Gamliel's sister, and wife of Rebbi Eliezer saved
her brother from death for an extended period of time - by interrupting her
husband each day from falling on his face (saying Tachanun) immediately
after the Amidah, thereby stripping it of its power to destroy Rebbi
(a) She knew exactly when Raban Gamliel had died - when one day, on the
understanding that it was a short month, and that Rosh Chodesh was on that
day, she did not bother to interrupt her husband (because there is no
Nefilas Apayim on Rosh Chodesh). Others say - that she was busy giving a
poor man some food, when her husband fell on his face to recite Tachanun.
(b) When Rebbi Eliezer asked her how she knew that Raban Gamliel had died,
she replied (quoting her illustrious ancestors) - that although all the
other gates are closed, those of Ona'ah remain open (as we learned earlier
[and Tachanun immediately after the Amidah] is the most potent occasion for
one's prayers to be accepted).
(a) The Beraisa states that someone who hurts a Ger verbally, transgresses
three La'avin - one because he is like any other Jew ("ve'Lo Sonu ... "),
and two that are written specifically with regard to Geirim "ve'Ger Lo
Soneh" (Mishpatim), and "ve'Chi Yagur Itcha Ger ... Lo Sonu Oso" (Kedoshim).
(b) We know that a Jew is forbidden to oppress another Jew for money that he
owes, from the Pasuk in Mishpatim "Lo Sih'yeh Lo ke'Nosheh".
(c) We query the Beraisa, which lists three La'vin for Ona'as ha'Ger (as we
just proved), but only two for Bal Tilchatz, on the grounds - that Bal
Tilchatz too, has two Pesukim written specifically by Geirim ("ve'Ger Lo
Soneh ve'Lo Silchatzenu" and "ve'Ger Lo Silchatz" (both in Mishpatim), in
which case one ought to transgress three La'avin, just like by Bal Toneh.
(d) So we amend the Beraisa, which now states - that one in fact,
transgresses three La'avin in both cases.
(a) The Torah warns us not to abuse a Ger - on no less than thirty-six
occasions (and perhaps even forty-six - see Tosfos DH 've'Amri Lah').
(b) Rebbi Eliezer ascribes this to the fact - that the slightest provocation
is likely to send him back from where he came (to give up everything).
(c) Rebbi Nasan learns from the Pasuk "ve'Ger Lo Soneh ve'Lo Silchatzenu, Ki
Geirim Heyisem be'Eretz Mitzrayim" - that someone with a blemish should not
point at similar blemishes on others ('the pot calling the kettle black').
(d) This D'rashah is the basis of the adage - that a person in whose family
somebody was hanged, should not tell his servant to hang up a piece of fish
(because the very term 'hanging' has derogatory connotations, as far as he
is concerned [in the same way as the "Geirim" that we were does not have
quite the same meaning as the Geirus of a real Ger] Rabbi Kornfeld Sh'lita).