The gemara states that Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Elazar disagree about one who renounces his property in the public thoroughfare – is he responsible for damages or not. The gemara doesn’t know who holds which opinion and brings different statements of theirs to be able to conclude who help by which opinion. In doing so, they analyze different cases and make distinctions between cases where one may or may not be held responsible. The gemara brings 3 opinions advising people how to become a pious person – one should fulfill either nezikin, avot or brachot. One can attempt to suggest theories as to the uniqueness of each of these categories. Taking out garbage or putting out garbage to become fertilizer in the time of the Mishna/Talmud raised various questions about the level or responsibility of the one who took it out in the event it caused damage. Does the fact that one is allowed to do something, remove him from responsibility for damage it may cause?
There are a number of different ways to explain the two opinions in the mishna regarding one who breaks a jug in the public thoroughfare and one gets damaged by it. Issues raised relate to – is an accident/careless behavior considered negligence or unintentional damage? If one leaves items in a public space and renounces ownership, is he responsible for damage they cause? Is there a difference if the items got there because he left them intentionally or if it was from the result of an accident?
Can one take the law into his own hands? Under what circumstances? If one dropped his pitcher in the public thoroughfare and it broke and someone slipped and got injured, is he responsible for damage caused to vessels? For damage caused to a person? Does it matter if the damage was from the ground or from the shards or water itself that slipped out of the pitcher?
If someone throws something out a window and on its way down, someone smashes it with a baseball bat, who is responsible? If someone falls off a roof onto someone, depending on what made him fall (typical or atypical wind) will affect the level of responsibility and what he needs to pay. Even though people are always responsible for their actions, there is a debate among the commentaries as to whether or not there is an exemption for a situation that was completely out of one’s control. The mishna says one leaves a jug in the middle of the street and someone breaks it, he is exempt. If the person for hurt by it, the owner is responsible to pay for damages. The rabbis of the Talmud have trouble understanding how one is not responsible for breaking someone else’s jug. Four answers are given and those answers have important ramifications in understanding this halacha.
The gemara suggests all sorts of kal vahomer arguments that raise doubts on many of the halachot we have been learning. However they are all rejected based on inferences from the verses in the Torah. Is there a ransom payment only by keren type damages or would one also be responsible if an animal killed by trampling in the property of the one who was killed? The next mishna discusses the responsibility of a person for damages. He is responsible even for unintentional damages. Raba brings a list of cases where an act was done unintentionally and discusses the law for the various unintentional acts in different areas of law – damages, work on Shabbat, killing unintentionally and going to the refuge city, and a slave who goes free if you damage him.
How does an animal become a shor muad? Do the occurances need to be on separate days or can they be all in the same day? How can we go back to determining that he is no longer dangerous and can be considered as a shor tam? According to one opinion the instances need to be on 3 separate days. If so, is the purpose to show that the animal is prone to dangerous behavior or is it for the purposes of letting the owner know that he should watch his animal? The gemara attempts to answer this question. If one entices a dog and the dog bites him, Rava says that the owner is not responsible because the enticer instigated him. The next mishna discusses the argument between Rabbi Tarfon and the rabbis in a case where the animal did keren (aytpical) damages in the property of the one who was damaged. Does the owner of the animal pay full damages or only half?
Rabbi Yochanan’s approach that fire is like a person shooting arrows is questioned and it is explained that he holds that it is both like arrows and because it’s his property. When a cow eats someone’s food and brings the food into its mouth, is it considered that it is now in the property of the one who is doing the damage and therefore since it is eating and eating is exempt if it takes place not in the property of the one who is damaged, he is exempt or do we say that if the cow is standing in the property of the one who he is causing damage to, his mouth is considered in the property of the one who he is causing damage to and he would be liable.
Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish debate: Is one liable for fire because the fire is like a man shooting an arrow (like the category of man damaging) or is it because the fire is considered his property (like an ox or a pit)? The gemara attempts unsuccessfully to prove Rabbi Yochanan’s approach, like a man shooting an arrow.
The rabbis continue to debate the issue of someone who lives in someone else’s property without his knowledge – does he need to pay him rent or not? The gemara bring an argument between Rav and Shmuel and debates exactly what their argument is about and whether or not they are arguing about soemthing the tannaim already debated. A dog or goat who jump off the roof and break vessels is considered typical damage and the owner pays full damage. However if he fell off, the owner would be exempt. This seems to imply that if one started an act with negligence and ended with unexpected damage, one is exempt. The gemara tries to explain how the mishna could fit in with the opinion that holds that if one begins with negligence, one is responsible even if at the end it was not from the negligence.
What types of damages fall into the category of eating (shen). If eating is exempt in public property, what happens if an item rolled from public to private or vice-versa. If the animal ate food in the public domain, the owner is exempt. However if he benefited from what he ate, the owner is responsible to pay the amount that the owner benefited. This leads the gemara to raise a basic question about one who lives in a friend’s property without his knowledge, does he need to pay him rent or not? One benefits and the other has not lost anything by that – does he need to pay?