Feb 162017

As part of a discussion about in which direction of the city may one set up a tannery due to the bad smell and the direction that the winds travel, the gemara goes off on a tangent regarding the strengths of each of the winds (the 4 directions).  From there, the gemara brings a braita that attempts to explain why we only see the sun during the day and also why summer days and winter days have different amounts of sunlight/daytime hours.  One must distance a tree from a neighbor’s pit as the roots will damage the pit.  Details of this law are discussed.

Feb 152017

Abaye brings a proof from blood found in the cervix for Rabbi Chanina’s statement that if there is a majority against proximity, majority wins (majority of blood comes from the uterus which is impure blood but there is a closer chamber which would not be impure blood).  Rava disagrees with Abaye’s comparison because he says the majority of uterine blood is different from a regular majority because of the frequency.  In the end, though, Rava changes his mind and agrees that this case would support Rabbi Chanina.  Various other cases regarding a situation with a safek (doubt) are brought as relating to Rabbi Chanina’s opnion but they are all rejected (for various reasons each one has other factors that led to the determination of the halacha – not having to do with majority vs. proximity.  A tree must be distanced from the city a certain amount of space for aesthetic reasons.  The law is different depending on whether the city was there when the tree was planted to vice-versa or if it was unknown which came first.  The gemara compares the law here to the law in the case in a different mishna regarding a tree planted near a neighbor’s pit and explains the differences between the cases.  A threshing floor must be distanced 50 cubits from a city and from neighboring fields.  The last line in the mishna is unclear and two epxlanations are brought to explain whether it is a new law or explaining the reason for the law already stated in the mishna.

Feb 142017

One needs to distance one’s ladder on a shared wall from another’s dovecote 4 cubits so that a mongoose doesn’t climb up and eat the doves.  In the context of this, the gemara raises issues of indirect damages and that one cannot lay a claim to land via chazaka in a case where is causes damages.  However, the latter one is narrowed to very specific types of damages.  One needs to distance one’s dovecote from a city and other fields a certain distance to prevent one’s doves from eating seeds or grains of others.  But if one purchased a field that had a dovecote within a short distance from one’s neighbor, one can assume that it was done within the law (the neighbor allowed it or was compensated financially).  The mishna discusses laws relating to a chick found in a certain area – how does one determine to whom the chick belongs?  Rabbi Chanina says that in determining uncertainties, and there is a majority factor and a proximity factor that each lead to different conclusions, one follows the majority.  Three cases are brought (including our mishna) that seem to indicate proximity would be the more compelling factor.  Each one is resolved.

Feb 132017

The gemara continues discussing under what circumstances outsiders can come into a town and sell there wares.   Special dispensations are made for those who learn.  As a result, the rabbis unfairly questioned Rav Dimi when he came to town to sell and since he didn’t know the answer, they assumed he wasn’t a talmid chacham and he couldn’t sell his wares.  When he went to complain to Rav Yosef, Rav Yosef cursed those who did this and the rabbi who had questioned Rav Dimi died.  An interesting number of statements are brought by various rabbis who all assumed responsibility for his death (some connected to this particular incident and others not at all).   The mishna discusses one who has a wall next to another’s wall and wants to build a wall, one needs to leave a distance of 4 cubits, and also if the wall has a window, one needs to distance his wall from the window by 4 amot (higher, lower or opposite).  the first case is quite confusing and two explanations are brought.  One of them, brought by Rava explains that the first wall was also 4 cubits away and it fell.  One needs to distance the new one 4 cubits away for that space is left for people to tread on the ground alongside the wall which will strengthen the neighbor’s wall.   Various questions are brought on this explanation of Rava – from the second part of the mishna and from another braita.

Feb 122017

Can one who shares a courtyard with others open a store in one’s house that will attract many people and cause traffic and noise in the courtyard?  Can one have a profession that makes lots of noise (blacksmith)?  Can one be a teacher of children as children make a lot of noise?  Different issues regarding education – what type is the best type of teacher (more knowledge vs. patience to correct mistakes of the children), how many children should be in a class, the responsibility of the city to set up teachers, does one fire a less good teacher for one who is better, etc.  Can one open a store in an alleyway of the same type of another member of the alleyway?  Does it depend on whether he was a resident of that alleyway or city?

Feb 102017

The gemara delves into each of the sections of the mishna – questioning things that are listed, items that seem unnecessary (as they can be derived from other ones), and clarifies what is the reason for the halacha in many of the cases.  In addition they try to figure out whether the first section in the mishna requires distancing and plastering or just one or the other.

Feb 092017

Rava and Abaye debate whether one can dig a pit build right near the border of another if on the other side of the border, there is no pit right now – or need he be concerned that one may want to dig a pit there in the future.  Abaye says he is allowed to and Rava disagrees.  One question is raised against Abaye and resolved.  8 questions coming from our mishna and many of the upcoming mishnayot in the chapter are brought to question Rava’s opinion.  Each question is resolved (many of them in an identical manner).

Study Guide Bava Batra 18

Feb 082017

The perek ends with praising the virtues of the avot and other biblical characters (including Yishmael who according to tradition, did teshuva at the end of his life).  The new perek begins with a discussion of the need to leave space from a neighboring pit when digging a pit in one’s property or digging various other things or having flammable substances, or anything that could damage the other’s property.  Abaye and Rava debate whether or not one can dig a pit near the border of the neighbor if the neighbor does not at present have a pit there.  There are two versions regarding what type of field they are debating.  The gemara then tries to reconcile which one is correct based on our mishna.

Study Guide Bava Batra 17

Feb 072017

The gemara brings the narrative of the Job story and explains it in detail including the Satan’s convincing of God to test Job and Job’s reaction to his situation.  Some explain that he was firm in his belief and others claim he had complaints against God.

Feb 062017

What is the order of the books of Tanach?  This does not match the order that we use today.  Who wrote which book of Tanach?  Some of the authors mentioned die sometime in the book, including Moshe who dies in the last 8 verses of the Torah.  The question is raised in each case – who finished the book?  When did Job (איוב) live?  Several opinions are brought, including one that he did not ever live and was written as a parable.   What is the significance of trying to figure out when he lived?

Study Guide Bava Batra 15