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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Kesuvos 20

KESUVOS 20 (14 Nisan) - The Dafyomi study material for the day of "Hakravas Korban Pesach" has been generously sponsored by an anonymous donor. May we all merit to eat to satiation "from the Zevachim and the Pesachim" -- bi'Meherah!


(a) (Rav Sheshes): Just as Hazamah is only in front of the witnesses, so too we may only contradict them in front of them.
(b) Objection (Rav Nachman): If Reuven and Shimon were here and contradicted these latter witnesses, we would have contradictory testimony, and one could not collect using this document.
1. Now that Reuven and Shimon are not here, and if they would be here, perhaps they would admit - are Reuven and Shimon believed (and one may collect with the document)?!
(c) Answer#2 (Rav Nachman): We stand up the latter 2 witnesses against the former 2, and we leave the money in the status quo of its current owner.
1. This is as the property of Bar Shatya (a man who alternated between sanity and insanity).
2. Bar Shatya sold property. 2 witnesses said that he was insane at the time (and the sale is invalid); 2 others said that he was sane at the time.
3. (Rav Ashi): We stand up 2 against 2, and leave the property in the possession of Bar Shatya.
i. This only applies to property he inherited.
ii. If he himself bought the property which he now sold - no (we have no Chazakah saying that it is his) - perhaps he was insane when he bought it!
(d) (R. Avahu): Hazamah of witnesses can only be in their presence; they *can* be contradicted when not here.
1. If Hazamah is done when they are not here - is does not have the laws of Hazamah, but it is contradiction
(a) (Beraisa (Daf 19B)): If (other) witnesses know that these are their signatures, or if there is another document which they signed which was disputed and validated by Beis Din, they are not believed (to say that the witnesses on a document were invalid).
1. The other document may be used only if it was disputed - this supports R. Asi.
(b) (R. Asi): We only validate a document from 2 Kesuvahs or from 2 documents of sale of fields which the buyers used uncontestedly for 3 years.
(c) (R. Simi Bar Asi): This only applies if the documents are held by others, not by the bearer of the document we wish to validate.
1. We do not allow the bearer of a document to validate it from documents he holds, because he may have copied the signatures.
2. Question: The same concern applies to documents held by others - he may have seen them and imitated the signatures!
3. Answer: We are not concerned that he could imitate them so well unless they are in his possession.
(a) (Beraisa): A person may write testimony he saw on a document, and (orally) testify from it many years later.
(b) Opinion#1 (Rav Huna): He can only testify if he remembers the testimony by himself.
(c) Opinion#2 (R. Yochanan): He may testify even if he does not remember it by himself.
1. (Rabah): We learn from R. Yochanan that if 2 witnesses saw testimony and 1 forgot it, the other may remind him.
(d) Question: Can the claimant remind a witness of the testimony?
(e) Answer#1 (R. Chaviva): Yes.
(f) Answer#2 (Mar Bar Rav Ashi): No (and this is the law).

1. If the witness is a Chacham, he may testify even if the claimant reminded him.
2. Rav Ashi knew testimony for Rav Kahane, but forgot it, even after Rav Kahane tried reminding him of it. Later, he remembered and testified for him.
3. Rav Kahane was taken aback that Rav Ashi was testifying for him.
4. Rav Ashi: Don't worry, I'm not relying on what you said - I put my mind to it and remembered.
(a) (Mishnah): Mounds which are close to the city or the road are impure, whether they are old or new;
(b) Far mounds - the old ones are impure, new ones are pure;
(c) (R. Meir): Within 50 Amos is considered close; 60 years old is considered old;
(d) (R. Yehudah): If there is no closer one, it is called close; if no one remembers before it was built, it is old.
(e) Question: What do we mean by 'city' and 'road'?
1. We cannot mean the simple meaning - we do not declare impurity when in doubt!
i. (Reish Lakish): An excuse was found to purify Eretz Yisrael.
2. (R. Zeira): Rather, 'city' means a city near a cemetery; 'road' is a road to a cemetery.
(f) We understand why the mound on the road is impure - sometimes, there is not enough time before Shabbos to get to the cemetery, and the body is buried in the mound.
1. Question: If the mound is near a city near a cemetery, why is it impure - everyone would go to the cemetery!
2. Answer (R. Chanina): Women bury miscarried babies, and lepers bury limbs which fall off in the mounds.
i. Up to 50 Amos, a woman will go alone (and the impurity will be unknown); more than 50 Amos, she would get an escort, and go to the cemetery; therefore, in Eretz Yisrael we do not assume that they are impure.
(g) (Rav Chisda): We learn from R. Meir that a person remembers testimony for 60 years, but no longer.
(h) Rejection: This is not so - it is not incumbent on a person to remember the impurity in a mound; testimony, which a person has responsibility to remember, he remembers even longer.
(a) (Mishnah): Both witnesses on a document say that they recognize both signatures - they are believed;
(b) If each recognizes only his own signature - Rebbi says that another witness is needed who recognizes both signatures; Chachamim say, this is not needed, a person is believed to say that this is his signature.
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