Nov 182016

Chizkiya says that maaser sheni that has less than the value of a coin can be redeemed on a coin that was used previously to redeem maaser sheni because there must be a little bit of value still left on the coin from the last time (as people aren’t exacting in their calculations).  The gemara questions this by bringing in a mishna that seems to imply that maaser sheni that gets mixed up with non maaser items is cancelled by majority.  If Chizkiya is correct, then maaser should always be something that can never be cancelled in a mixture because it can be fixed – davar sheyesh lo matirin.  The gemara tries to answer this question.  How do we calculate the one fifth payment?  Is it one fifth of the principle or one fifth of the total once the amount is added (1/4)?

Nov 172016

Can one use money that is devalued?  At what percentage would it be fraud that one can claim back the amount he was defrauded by the devaluation of the coin?  If a coin deteriorates more than that amount, can it still be used as per its new value?  There is a debate about whether this would work from the percentage of fraud until half of its value or just at half its value.  In a case where it can work, the coin must be destroyed so as not to allow room for people to trick others.   What is the time frame allotted for getting back the defrauded money?  Is it the same as for items or different?

Nov 162016

Is the time allotted for getting your money back in a case of over/undercharging the same for the buyer and the seller?  Do the laws of fraud apply only to businesses and not to individuals?  Does it depend on what they are selling?  Are there certain merchants to whom laws of fraud do not apply or are there certain laws of fraud that do not apply to any merchants?  The answer to this questions depends upon the explanation of Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion in the mishna.  If one agrees that he is willing to buy/sell an item and will not make a fraud claim, is that a valid condition?  Is it the same as a case where one betroths a woman and conditions it upon not giving her the financial rights that a wife has in a marriage?  Does it depend on whether he says it with or without knowing that he was overcharged/underpaid?

Nov 152016

Various proofs are brought to support Shmuel’s opinion that fraud percentage is determined based on the market price and also on the amount actually paid.  Two are rejected and one is accepted.  The mishna discusses only the percentage at which there is fraud.  What happens if it’s less than or more than?  If it’s less, we assume the parties agreed and they cannot get their money back.  However the gemara questions whether they also have a window of opportunity where they can get the money back that they were overcharged.  If they were overcharged more than  1/6, the deal can be cancelled.  But again, is there a certain time frame in which that can be done or is there no statute of limitations?  The gemara tries to answers there questions from our mishna but in the end if unsuccessful.  Then Rava paskens and explains both the answers to these questions and also brings an alternative psak to what our mishna held regarding fraud (at 1/6).

Study Guide Bava Metzia 50

Nov 142016

If just a verbal agreement was made between two people, can one cancel the agreement?  if he does, is he looked at as a dishonest person or do we assume that verbal agreements are meant to be broken?  Rav and Rabbi Yochanan debate this point.  This argument between them directly related to an argument they have regarding one who gave a deposit (paid for part of it) on an item.  One side wants to change their mind about the part that wasn’t paid for.  Can they do that?  The laws on fraud regarding overcharging or underpaying are discussed in the mishna.  Various issues are debated – At what percentage?  Is the percentage calculated by the market value of the item or also by the price that was paid in that particular instance?  Until when can one claim he was defrauded?  If one was defrauded at that percentage, can he cancel the whole transaction or just get back the percentage by which he was defrauded?

Nov 132016

Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish debate whether money can acquire an item from the Torah but the rabbis decreed that it doesn’t or that only pulling works to acquire an item by Torah law.  Sources are brought to try to prove each side.  If you give a deposit and then want to change your mind, it is considered that you committed to the entire transaction or just for the part that your deposit covered?  Rav and Rabbi Yochanan debate this point.  An attempt to question Rav’s opinion is brought but the case dealt with land and the gemara explained that since land can be acquired through money, the deposit is sufficient to require both sides to follow through with the whole transaction but the same would not apply to moveable items as they cannot be acquired through money – therefore one must only keep his commitment for the part that he already paid for.

Nov 112016

Can a coin be used to effect a kinyan chalipin (symbolic kinyan) and if it can’t, can a coin be acquired through a kinyan chalipin?  These questions are debated and sources are brought to prove or disprove opinions on the matter.  In this context an important debate between Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish is raised about whether money can be used by Torah law to acquire items.  Both agree that practically it can’t be; however Rabbi Yochanan holds that it is only because of a gezeira from the rabbis.

Nov 102016

A debate between Beit Shamai and Beit Hillel regarding trading maaser sheni coins from silver to gold is brought up in connection with our mishna.  Amoraim debate both whether or not the debate applies to using gold coins in general to redeem maaser sheni fruits or only to changing silver coins (that were already used for redeeming the fruits) to gold coins.  The gemara brings 3 explanations for the debate – the first one being connected to the same issue as our mishna; the others think the issue is a maaser sheni issue exclusively and has nothing to do with the currency vs. commodity debate.  Two amoraim debate whether money can be used for a kinyan chalipin, a symbolic kinyan.  Chalipin must be done with something that has inherent value.  Does money have inherent value because it is made form a metal or is it viewed only in terms of the image on the coin which will eventually wear away.

Nov 092016

Various issues relating to shlichut yad are raised in the last mishna of the perek.

When making a purchase or barter with items that can be used as currency, which item is considered the currency and which the commodity?  When changing gold with silver, there are 2 versions that Rebbi said – one when he was younger and one later in life.  The gemara attempts to prove his earlier opinion.

Study Guide Bava Metzia 44

Nov 082016

If one gives money to a money changer, the assumption is he is expecting he will use it (unless he seals it) and then the money changer is responsible if the money gets lost.  There is a debate whether he is responsible also for ones (accidental damage).   Beit Shammai, Beit Hillel and Rabbi Akiva debate regarding an item that is worth a different value at the time the shomer used it and the time he breaks it and is then brought to court.  What price does he need to pay?  The gemara debates what exactly is the opinion of Beit Hillel and what is their point of disagreement with Beit Shammai.  Eventually the mishna is understood in a different manner.