Thursday, January 15, 2009


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The Gemora (Bava Kamma 14) explains that one braisa speaks of a case where a yard was set aside for both of them for the purposes of both keeping produce and their oxen (it is therefore not regarded as “the field of another,” and he would not be liable for shein and regel), whereas Rav Yosef’s braisa deals with a yard set aside for keeping produce in but not cattle, in which case, as far as shein is concerned, the yard is regarded as the yard of the damaged party (because the damager has no permission to bring his ox in).

Rabbi Zeira challenged this explanation: In the case where the yard was set aside for keeping produce in (for both of them), how can the there be liability for shein and regel when the field does not fulfill the condition of being “the field of another” (since the damager has the right to keep his produce there as well)?

Abaye said to him: Since the yard is not set aside for keeping cattle in, it may well be termed “the field of another.”

Reb Elchonon Wasserman explains the dispute as follows: It is written regarding shein: ubi’er b’sadeh acher – and it consumes in the field of another. The argument is regarding the word ubi’er. Is it in reference to the act of damaging, or is it in reference to that which is damaged?

Rabbi Zeira holds that it is in reference to that which is damaged. The produce is what is getting damaged. And since with respect to the produce, they both had permission to keep their produce in the yard, it is regarded as a jointly owned courtyard – and with respect to the damage of shein, it is considered a public domain, and the damager is exempt from liability.

Abaye, however, holds that the word ubi’er is in reference to the act of damaging. The ox is the one who committed this damage. And since the damager has no right to bring his ox into the yard, it is regarded as the “field of another,” and therefore, he would be liable.