Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Daf Yomi - Sukkah 31 - An Old Woman Raving and Avrohom's 318 Servants

The Gemora relates a story that a certain old woman went to Rav Nachman and claimed that the Reish Gilusa and all the chachamim are sitting in a stolen sukkah. Her claim was that the servants of the Reish Galusa stole wood from her and used it for the s'chach on their sukkah. Rav Nachman paid no attention to her claim. She persisted and said that a woman whose father had 318 servants and you refuse to listen to her. Rav Nachman responded that there is no valid claim here for once the sukkah is constructed with stolen wood, the wood does not to be returned based on a Rabbibic decree and therefore the sukkah is deemed to be valid. This decree was issued in order to inspire the thiefs to repent. If they would be compelled to deconstruct their building to return the stolen property, they would not repent.

Rashi explains that the woman was referring to Avrohom Avinu and his 318 servants. The commentators offer various explanations as to what was the meaning in this woman's words and the analogy to Avrohom's servants.

The Chasam Sofer cites the Gemora in Chulin 89a which states how harsh stealing is and proves this from the servants of Avrohom who stole from Sdom and Avrohom could not return that which they stole. The old woman thought that the Rabbinic decree of not returning stolen objects which are used in the construction of a building would only apply when there are many stolen objects and it would be very cumbersome to deconstruct the building to return those beams, however when the stolen wood is few in number and only being used for s'chach, perhaps the decree does not apply and the sukkah should be disqualified. Rav Nachman finally responded and ruled that the decree applies in all cases. Whenever wood is stolen and subsequently used in a building, whether it's a lot of wood or few and whether it's a mansion or a sukkah, the thief acquires the wood and owes money instead.

5 comments:

Velvel said...

Why does the takana apply even by s'chach? Just remove it! the entire sukkah won't collapse?

ben said...

see Rashi who implies that he didnt just place schach on top of the Sukkah. Rather, he built the Sukkah with the wood and made a שינוי מעשה and a שינוי השם.

Avromi said...

Velvel: sorry so late, I missed your comment - thats the chidush of rashi and C"S and aruch lener that there is a lo plug on all these cases.

Avromi said...

Ben: That Rashi is on the Gemora before, not on the woman case. By this case, Rashi states that it was used for s'chach.

ben said...

the gemara itself says וסיכך בהן yet it still means built sukkah with wood. Rashi is just paraphrasing the previous Gemara.