סקר
איך הלימוד שלך בעקבת הקורונה?






 

Steinsaltz

It was during the era of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi that the beginning of this baraita extolling the study of Talmud was taught. The result was that everyone abandoned study of the Mishna and pursued the study of the Talmud. It was then that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi taught them: And always pursue study of the Mishna more than study of the Talmud, as without a firm basis in the fundamental halakhot of the Mishna, talmudic discourse is futile.

The Gemara asks: On the basis of what homiletic interpretation did the tanna state that there is no virtue greater than the study of Talmud? It is just as Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Elai, interpreted homiletically: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a horn, and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1)?

In the phrase “declare to My people their transgression,” these people are the Torah scholars, whose unwitting transgressions become for them tantamount to intentional transgressions. Due to their erudition, they are held to a higher standard. “And to the house of Jacob their sins,” these are the ignoramuses, whose intentional transgressions become for them tantamount to unwitting transgressions. Due to their lack of erudition, they are held to a lower standard. And that is the basis of that which we learned in a mishna (Avot 4:13), that Rabbi Yehuda says: Be careful in the study of the Talmud, as a transgression based on an unwitting misinterpretation of the Talmud is considered an intentional transgression.

Rabbi Yehuda, son of Rabbi Elai, interpreted a verse homiletically. What is the meaning of that which is written: “Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word: Your brothers that hate you, that ostracize you for My name’s sake, have said: Let the Lord be glorified, that we may gaze upon your joy, but they shall be ashamed” (Isaiah 66:5)? “Hear the word of the Lord, you who tremble at His word,” these are Torah scholars; “your brothers…have said,” these are masters of the Bible, who are aware of their shortcomings and treat the Torah scholars with deference; “that hate you,” these are masters of Mishna, who consider themselves the equals of Torah scholars and resent the fact that the Torah scholars do not treat them as equals; “that ostracize you,” these are ignoramuses, who distance themselves with their actions from the Torah scholars.

Lest you say, with regard to those groups who are not Torah scholars, that their hope has ceased and their chances are eliminated, the verse states: “That we may gaze upon your joy.” All of the Jewish people, including the groups listed above, will gaze upon the joy of the Torah scholars. Lest you say that the Jewish people will be ashamed, the verse states: “But they shall be ashamed,” meaning that gentiles will be ashamed, but the Jewish people will be joyous.

MISHNA: In the case of one who deposits an animal or vessels with another, who is acting as an unpaid bailee, and they were stolen or they were lost, and the bailee paid the owner the value of the deposit, and did not wish to take an oath that he did not misappropriate the item and that he was not negligent in safeguarding it, that will effect who keeps the deposit if it is found or returned. The bailee may also choose to take the oath, as the Sages said: An unpaid bailee takes an oath, and he is thereby released from the liability to pay the owner.

If the thief is later found, the thief pays the double payment. If the deposited item was a sheep or an ox and the thief slaughtered or sold it, he pays the fourfold or fivefold payment. To whom does the thief pay? He gives the payment to the one who had the deposit in his possession when it was stolen, i.e., the bailee. When the bailee paid the owner for the stolen item, the owner granted the rights to the item to the bailee. Therefore, the bailee is entitled to any payment the thief presents for the item, be it compensation for the item’s value or a fine.

In the case of a bailee who took an oath and did not wish to pay, if the thief is then found and required to pay the double payment, or if he slaughtered or sold the animal and is required to pay the fourfold or fivefold payment, to whom does the thief pay? He gives the payment to the owner of the deposit, not the bailee.

GEMARA: The Gemara asks: Why does the mishna need to teach the case of one who deposits an animal, and why does the mishna need to teach the case of one who deposits vessels? The mishna could have sufficed with a general halakha about one who deposits any item.

The Gemara explains: Both are necessary, as, if the mishna taught only the case of one who deposits an animal, I would say: It is only with regard to an animal that the owner agrees to transfer rights to the double payment to the bailee when the bailee pays for the stolen item. This is due to the fact that the exertion required to tend to the animal, to bring the animal in and to take it out, is great. Consequently, when it becomes clear that the bailee was not responsible for the theft of the animal but nevertheless compensated the owner, the owner waives his rights to any compensation the thief will pay. But in the case of vessels, where the exertion that is required to tend to the vessels is not great, say that the owner does not transfer to the bailee rights to the double payment.

And had the mishna taught only the case of one who deposits vessels, I would say: It is only with regard to vessels that the owner transfers rights to the double payment to the bailee when the bailee pays for the lost item. This is due to the fact that double payment, in their case, is not substantial, as that is the maximum payment that he could receive. But in the case of an animal, where if the thief slaughtered or sold it, he pays the fourfold or fivefold payment, which is substantial, I would say that the owner does not transfer the rights to the double payment to the bailee. Therefore, both cases are necessary.

Rami bar Ḥama objects to the fundamental reasoning. How can the owner of the deposit transfer rights to the double payment to the bailee? But isn’t there a principle that one cannot transfer to another ownership of an entity that has not yet come into the world? Since the thief was not yet liable to pay the double payment when the bailee paid the owner for the item, there was no way to transfer rights to that payment to another person. And even according to Rabbi Meir, who says that a person can transfer to another ownership of an entity that has not yet come into the world, that statement applies to items such as the fruits of a date palm, which are likely to come into being, as they grow on a regular basis.

But here, where the transfer of rights to the payment is part of the initial agreement between the owner and the bailee, taking effect when the item is deposited,

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)
אדם סלומון
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