Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Pain to the Deceased

It was stated (Bava Metzia 38b): If a man is taken captive, Rav said that we would not bring down a relative to his property, and Shmuel said that we would. Now, if it was heard (either by way of a rumor, or through one witness) that the captive was dead, all would agree that we would bring down a relative (for if the captive would return before the relative eats from the produce, he will receive his share like a sharecropper, and if the captive does not return, he inherits it all – either way, he will make sure to do a good job). They disagree where it was not heard that he had died. Rav said that we do not bring down a relative, for he might cause them the property to deteriorate (for he will not fertilize it, and he will constantly plant there – ultimately ruining the land). Shmuel said: We do bring down a relative, for since a master said that we evaluate for them just like a sharecropper, he will not allow the field to be ruined.

The Gemora asks from a braisa: From the implication of the verse (discussing those who oppress widows and orphans): “And I shall become incensed, and I shall kill you with the sword,” I know that their wives shall be widows and their children shall be orphans; why then does the Torah state: “And your wives shall be widows, and your children shall be orphans”? This teaches us that their wives will seek to remarry and we will not permit them (for Hashem is cursing them that they will be taken captive and we will not know if they died or not), and their children will desire to go down to their father’s property and we will not allow them. [This contradicts Shmuel, who rules that we do allow the relatives to go down to the captive’s field!?]

Rava answers: The braisa means that they are not permitted to go down and sell the property.

The Iyun Yaakov asks: What is the curse to the dead sinner if his wife will not be allowed to remarry? There is no pain at all! On the contrary, the Zohar writes that this would be regarded as an honor to the deceased!?

He answers that nevertheless, at the time that the woman desires to remarry, she will be embarrassed, and Chazal say that a man does not want his wife humiliated before a Beis Din!

The Ben Yehoyada writes that these men were killed by sword and buried immediately. There were no witnesses available to verify their identity. It will therefore be necessary to open their graves to see if there are any identifying marks to help us determine who they were. This is considered painful to the deceased, and this is the meaning of the curse.

He adds that these women, who will never be allowed to remarry, will eventually curse their own husbands for being the cause of their present predicament. This will be painful for the deceased!

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Monday, June 01, 2009

200 - 1,000!!??

The Mishna had stated: Two people deposited money with a guardian, one deposited one hundred and one deposited two hundred, and each claims that he was the one who deposited two hundred. Each one receives one hundred, and the other hundred is left until Eliyahu ha’Navi arrives (to settles the issue for us). Rabbi Yosi says: If this is the law, what does the liar lose by lying? [He will receive his money back, and merely cause the other person to lose!] Rather, all of the money deposited is left until Eliyahu ha’Navi arrives.

Similarly, two people deposited vessels with a guardian, one is worth one hundred and one is worth one thousand, and each claimed that they were the owner of the expensive vessel. The smaller vessel should be given to one, and from the value of the expensive vessel should be given the value of the smaller vessel to the other, and the rest should be left until Eliyahu arrives.

Why by the case of money is the example of “two hundred” given, and by the case of the vessels – “one thousand” is given?

Imrei Daas answers: The Gemora below (38a) states: A person would prefer a kav of his own produce more than nine kavs belonging to his fellow. This is because that which he toils for is regarded as more precious to him.

Accordingly, we can explain as follows: With respect to money, a person is willing to lie that the two hundred is his when, in truth, he only gave one hundred. However, with respect to vessels, if his friend’s vessel is merely worth two hundred, he will not wish to lie, for he would rather have his own although it is worth less. If his friend’s vessel, however, is worth more than nine times the value of his own, he would be willing to lie. This is why the Mishna gives the example where his vessel was worth one hundred and the other vessel was worth a thousand.

This explanation is based upon two assumptions: 1. The logic that a person would prefer to have one of his own than nine of his friend’s is precise, and if his friend’s value exceeds his by more than nine times the value, he would not want his own. It is quite possible that the Gemora means that he would prefer his own over that of his friend’s even if his friend’s vessel is worth ten or twenty times the amount! 2. This logic applies by vessels as well as produce. It is quite possible that the Gemora’s logic applies only with respect of produce, where he toiled in the land – that is why the produce is more precious to him. However, with respect to vessels, it wouldn’t make any difference to him.

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