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Steinsaltz

The Gemara explains: The first is certainly considered negligent, and is therefore liable to pay for damage caused by both his body and his property. The second is deemed liable to pay for damage caused by his body, as he had the opportunity to stand up and he did not stand up. For damage caused by his property that was lying there and that caused the third person to stumble and fall, he is exempt, as he can say to him: I did not dig this pit, i.e., I did not cause this obstacle. Since it was the first person who stumbled and brought about the situation where the items of the second were lying on the ground, the second is not deemed liable.

The Gemara raises an objection to Rava’s statement from a baraita that comments on this case: All of them are liable to pay for damage caused by their bodies and exempt from paying restitution for damage caused by their property. What, does this not refer even to the first, indicating that even he is exempt from damage caused by his property?

The Gemara answers: No, it is referring to all of them except for the first. The Gemara asks: But doesn’t the baraita teach the term all of them, indicating that the first is also included? Rav Adda bar Ahava said: The term all of them refers only to those who incurred damage, and excludes the first one, who only caused damage to others.

The Gemara questions this answer: What is this interpretation? Granted, if you say that the term includes even the first, this explanation is consistent with that which is taught: All of them. But if you say that it is referring to all of them except for the first, what is the reason that the misleading term: All of them is used? Let the baraita teach more accurately that those who incurred damage are liable in turn for the damage caused by their bodies, but are exempt from paying restitution for damage caused by their property.

Rather, this entire explanation of Rava’s statement should be rejected, and it should be explained as follows: Rava said that the first is liable both for injury caused to the body of the second and for damage caused to the property of the second, and the second is liable to pay for damage incurred by the third with regard to injury to his body but not with regard to damage to his property. What is the reason for the exemption in the last case? It is because after his fall, the body of the second person is effectively a pit, and we do not find that in the category of Pit one is liable to pay restitution for damage caused to vessels.

The Gemara asks: This works out well according to Shmuel, who says that any obstacle that was placed in the public domain constitutes a pit, i.e., the halakhot of a pit apply to it. But according to Rav, who says that if the one who placed it there renounces ownership of the hazardous object it is considered a pit, but if he does not renounce ownership of it then it is not considered a pit, what is there to say? The second one who fell obviously did not renounce ownership of his body, so why is he exempt from damage he caused to vessels as though he were a pit?

The Gemara answers: Actually, Rava’s statement should be explained as he was understood to have said initially, i.e., that he distinguishes between damage caused by another’s body and damage caused by his property. And as for your difficulty from the statement in the baraita that all of them are liable to pay for the damage caused by their bodies but exempt from paying restitution for the damage caused by their property, apparently including even the first one, contrary to Rava’s opinion, Rav Adda bar Minyumi interpreted it before Ravina as referring to a case where vessels were damaged by vessels. In other words, it is not the body, but the vessels of the second that were damaged by the property of the first, and since the broken vessels of the first have the status of a pit, the owner is exempt from liability for damage caused to the vessels of others.

The Master said above: If they all fell because of the first, the first is liable to pay for the damage of them all. The Gemara asks: How did they all fall because of the first? Rav Pappa said: It is a case where he blocked the road like a skeleton [keshilda], filling the entire width of the road and causing the rest to stumble over different parts of his body. Rav Zevid said: He fell diagonally like a blind man’s cane, and they all stumbled over him.

MISHNA: If this person came in the public domain with his barrel, and that person came from the opposite direction with his cross beam, and this one’s jug was broken by that one’s cross beam, the one carrying the cross beam is exempt, because this one had permission to walk in the public domain, and that one also had permission to walk there.

If they were walking in the same direction, so that the owner of the cross beam was walking first, in front, and the owner of a barrel last, behind him, and the barrel was broken by the cross beam, the owner of the cross beam is exempt, since the owner of the barrel saw him in front of him and should have been more careful.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
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