Thursday, August 31, 2006

Daf Yomi - Yoma 85 - Highlights

1. If an ox of a Jew gores the ox of another Jew, the owner of the ox that damaged is required to pay to the claimant half damages. If the owner of the damaging ox is a Cuthean, he pays full damages. We have learned previously that if half of a city’s population is Jewish and half of the population is Cuthean and a child was abandoned and we are uncertain if the child is a Cuthean or a Jew, we treat the child as a Jew. The Gemara concludes that this refers to a case where his ox that was a tam (an ox that gored less than three consecutive times) gored an ox of a definite Jew. A Jew would be required to pay half damages whereas a Cuthean would be required to pay full damages. The law is that he is only required to pay half the damages to the claimant and regarding the other half he can tell the claimant , “bring proof that I am not a Jew and then collect the full damages from me.” Unless the claimant can prove that the damager is a Cuthean, the damager is only required to pay half the damages.
2. If a building collapsed on Shabbos and we are uncertain whether there is a person buried underneath, one must clear the rubble. Furthermore, even if we are certain that a person is buried underneath but we are uncertain if the person is alive or dead, we are obligated to clear the rubble on Shabbos. Lastly, not only are we obligated to clear the rubble if there is a doubt whether the person is alive or dead and we are certain that the person is a Jew, but even if there is a doubt whether the buried person is a Cuthean or a Jew, we are obligated to clear the rubble on Shabbos. The rationale for this ruling is that the possibility of saving a Jew’s life overrides the prohibition of clearing the rubble on Shabbos. One is obligated to clear the rubble even if the person buried underneath will only live afterwards for a short time period.
3. Rebbe Yehudah ben Lakish maintains that one can rescue a corpse from a fire on Shabbos, although the corpse is muktzeh and one is normally rabbinically prohibited to move muktzeh items on Shabbos. The rationale for this ruling is that because one is in turmoil that his relative’s corpse will be destroyed, and if he is not permitted to move the corpse before the corpse is consumed by the fire, he may come to extinguish the fire. Rather than have him violate a biblical prohibition of extinguishing a fire, the Chachamim allowed for him to move the corpse which is only a rabbinical prohibition. When a building collapsed and the person buried underneath died, we do not allow one to remove the corpse from the rubble, because there is nothing that he will do that will constitute a biblical prohibition, so there is no need to permit one rabbinical prohibition to prevent one from violating a different rabbinical prohibition.
4. If a victim was buried by the rubble and he is not moving and appears to be dead, there is a debate regarding where on his body one has to check to ascertain that he is dead. Some say that we must check up to his nose and if there is no breathing, then he is certainly dead and he should not be moved until after Shabbos. Others maintain that we check up to his heart to see if there is a heartbeat.
5. There is a debate in the Gemara regarding the source for the ruling that saving one’s life overrides the laws of Shabbos. Rabbi Yishmael derives this law from what is said if the thief was discovered while tunneling in. There is uncertainty whether the thief is merely coming to steal or to kill as well, and murder contaminates the land and causes the Divine Presence to depart, yet the owner is allowed to save himself at the cost of the thief’s life. Certainly, then, the saving of a life will override the laws of Shabbos, which is less stringent than bloodshed. Rabbi Akiva maintains that the source for the law that saving ones life overrides the laws of Shabbos is derived from the verse that states if a man shall act intentionally against his fellow to kill him with guile, from beside my altar shall you take him to die. The words from beside my altar teach us that only when a Kohen who was accused of murder and is about to begin the avodah is he taken away to be tried, whereas a Kohen who is already serving on the altar completes the avodah and then is taken away to be tried for murder. However, this only applies to being put to death, i.e. we allow the Kohen to complete the avodah before he is tried for murder, but if the Kohen knows testimony regarding someone else who is about to he executed, the Kohen is removed from performing the avodah even while in middle of the service. If regarding the Kohen, of whom it is uncertain whether his testimony will even save the life of the one standing to be executed, and furthermore, the avodah that he is performing is so stringent that it overrides Shabbos, yet we have the Kohen interrupt the avodah to possibly save a life, then certainly saving a life overrides Shabbos. Rabbi Elazar maintains that we derive the source for saving a life overriding the Shabbos laws from circumcision, which is an improvement to only one of a person’s two hundred and forty eight limbs, yet overrides the Shabbos, so certainly if one acts to save a person’s entire body, it should override Shabbos. The Gemara also cites three other opinions who offer various sources for the law that saving a life overrides the Shabbos laws.
6. Rabbi Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel that if he would have been involved in the discussion of the aforementioned Tanaaim, he would have offered a source for the law that saving a life overrides the Shabbos laws and that source would have been superior to all the other sources. The source that Shmuel would have offered was from the verse that states you shall guard My decrees and My laws that man shall carry out and by which he shall live. The verse implies that one shall live by the commandments and not die because of the commandments, so saving a life will override all commandments except for the three cardinal sins of murder, idolatry and adultery.
7. The Mishnah states that one who brings a chatas offering and a definite asham offering will gain atonement for sin. Death and Yom Kippur atone for sin as long as one repented. Repentance provides atonement for lesser transgressions, whether one violated positive or negative transgressions. Regarding severe transgressions, however, repentance suspends punishment until Yom Kippur arrives and atones.
8. An asham vaday, a definite asham, is brought when one definitely violated certain prohibitions, such as stealing and misusing scared objects. If one is uncertain whether he violated a prohibition which bears the punishment of kares, he must bring an asham taluy, a doubtful asham. There are two differences between the asham vaday and the asham taluy. An asham vaday effects a complete atonement whereas an asham taluy protects the person from punishment as long as he remains doubtful, but once he ascertains that he indeed sinned, he would be required to bring a chatas. A second difference between the two offerings is that regarding an asham vaday, nothing else can effect atonement, even after Yom Kippur has passed, whereas one who is liable to bring an asham taluy and Yom Kippur passes, he is exempt from bringing an offering because Yom Kippur effects the necessary atonement.
9. The Mishnah implies that Yom Kippur effects atonement only in conjunction with repentance. Rebbe, however, disagrees and maintains that Yom Kippur alone effects atonement for all sins in the Torah except for one who throws of the yoke of HaShem, one who acts insolently towards the Torah or for one who violates the covenant of the flesh, i.e. he refuses to circumcise himself or he hides the evidence of being circumcised. Yom Kippur will only atone for these two sins if one repents.