From where do we derive various halachot about a borrower that are not mentioned in the verses explicitly: That “captivity” is also included in cases where the borrower is obligated? That a borrower is responsible for theft and loss? That the exemption of the owner being “with the borrower” applies also for theft and loss? If the shomer was negligent and the owner was “with the shomer” is he exempt? There is a debate about this. Rav Hamnuna has a narrow view of the exemption of “the owner is with the borrower”. He claims it is a case where the owner was working with the animal itself at the time of its break or death and was also with him from the time of borrowing until the time of its death. The gemara knocks down each of these statements and rejects this explanation.
What is considered unanticipated circumstances beyond one’s control that a shomer would be exempt from? One animal attcking? or 2 animals? Does it depend what type of animal? One can stipulate that he will be a shomer but will not be obligated to pay according to the Torah laws. How is this different from a condition that goes against Torah law that generally we say is not a valid condition? Other laws of conditions are discussed. The mishna discusses in which circumstances one is exempt as a borrower because the owner was “with him” (she’eila b’baalim). The gemara then discusses the derivation of the laws of shomrim from the verses in the Torah.
The gemara concludes that it is a tannaitic debate whether the worker’s rights to eat on the job are considered an added wage or a God given gift. Is a watcher of a field considered “working” to the extent that he can eat from the field or not? There is debate about how to view his work. The mishna discusses the 4 types of watchmen. One who gets paid for watching is responsible for circumstances beyond his control. Rabba and Abaye about what level of “out of his control” is necessary in order for him to be exempt. Is he expected to go beyond what is expected of a regular watchman since he is getting paid (Abaye) or not (Rabba)?
How much is a worker allowed to eat? Can he eat more than the value of his wages? Is the food allowance views as an addition to his wages – meaning it belongs to him and can be transferred to others – or is it a “gift” from God which would therefore be for his use only. One can view the latter option as a basic human right – to allow one to eat from the produce he is working with.
Can one be obligated for muzzling one’s animal or crossbreeding animals if he caused it to happen by speaking to the animal and not by doing any action? Details regarding a worker eating on the job are further discussed. Does one need to be working with both one’s hands and legs (like the ox who can’t be muzzled)? If one is working with one type, can one eat a different type in the field? Can one eat from the same type in a different area? Can one eat while one is walking from one place to another?
Details regarding the halacha forbidding one to muzzle one’s animal while threshing are discussed.
Various halachot relating to how a worker can eat in the field he is working in are derived from the verse about picking in the vineyard. One of those is that he is not obligated in tithes. The gemara then brings in two opinions about when one is obligated in tithes – when the food goes into the courtyard or into the house. The gemara then questions why is the drasha from the Torah necessary if the worker was in the fields – wouldn’t he be exempt anyway on a Torah level if he was a buyer who purchased the produce while it was in the field? Various other questions are also raised against the two opinions and answered up. Then the gemara proves how we can derive that an animal can’t be muzzled to prevent him from eating – both produce that is detached and attached to the ground. And likewise, from where we can derive that a wroker is allowed to eat produce that is attached to the ground as well as produce that is not attached to the ground.
The story of Avraham and the angels is discussed further and many drashot are brought deriving behaviors to be emulated. The mishna and gemara discuss the halachic details relating to workers being allowed to eat on the job – under what circumstances is it allowed? How much can they eat?
More stories are told about the greatness of some of the Rabbis. Raba bar Nachmani’s tragic death is recounted and how it related to the need for him in the heavens to resolve a debate between God and the “Rabbis” in the yeshiva in the heavens. The gemara then gets back to the mishna and issues of minhag hamokom and the story in the mishna about the Rabbi’s son who promised the workers food and from there diverges into a long discussion about the story of Avraham and the angels.
Rabbi Elazar the son of Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi come head to head in a power struggle as to who is greater. However, after Rabbi Elazar’s death, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi goes to find Rabbi Elazar’s wayward son and brings him back to become a Torah scholar. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi’s father, is praised for his humility. Various other statements/stories are brought as a critique of the egos and arrogance found in the beit midrash. And others that discuss the greatness of some of the rabbis.