Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Mistaken Deal - Kesuvos 97 - Daf Yomi

The Gemora cited the following incident: There was once a food shortage in Nehardea. All the people sold their mansions. Eventually, wheat arrived and Rav Nachman told them: The law is that the mansions must be returned to their original owners!

The Gemora notes that the sales were made in error since it became known that the ship carrying the wheat was waiting in the port.

The Gemora adds that this would explain the following conversation: Rami bar Shmuel said to Rav Nachman: If you rule like this, you will cause them trouble in the future (for people will be fearful of selling). He replied: Is a food shortage a daily occurrence? Rami bar Shmuel retorted: Yes, a food shortage in Nehardea is indeed a common occurrence!

This Gemora is used to resolve various questions.

*** Reuven desperately needed an operation and he desired a certain expert doctor to perform the surgery. The hospital told him that he presently was outside of Eretz Yisroel and will only be returning the following week. Reuven vowed an enormous amount of money to charity if the surgeon would return earlier than he originally intended. As soon as he uttered those words, the doctor was standing by his bedside. He told Reuven that he had decided to shorten his vacation. The question was asked: Was Reuven obligated to fulfill his vow? Perhaps, he was not required to give the money to charity, for at the time that he pronounced the vow, the doctor was already in Eretz Yisroel!

*** There was a certain city where a terrible edict was issued against the Jewish residents. They sent a message to a well-known Tzadik, who was famous for delivering miracles to daven for them. The Tzadik agreed, but requested of them to send a certain amount of money that he would be able to distribute to the widows and orphans residing in his city. A short amount of time after they sent the money, they received a letter that the decree had been cancelled. The city was overjoyed. However, one resident sent a letter to the Maharsham saying that perhaps, they should get their money back because he noticed that the date on the letter stating that the decree had been cancelled was before they actually sent the money. It emerges, he claimed, that the giving of the money was erroneous.

*** Reuven and Shimon bought two lottery tickets together. They made up that they each will share the winnings of each ticket. The reason for this decision was based on the Gemora in Bava Metzia that states that the mazal of two people together is better than one. After the lottery numbers were chosen, Reuven went to Shimon attempting to switch the deal. He said, “Let us each keep the winnings of our own individual ticket.” Reuven did this because he already knew that the ticket which he was holding was chosen and he would receive $50,000.00. Shimon agreed to this new deal. The reason that Shimon agreed was because the ticket which he was holding was chosen, and he would now receive the full share of a $200,000.00 winning. The question arose. Can Reuven now retract from the second deal?