Bava Metzia 92: Time to Eat
“Everything goes according to the custom of the land (Bava Metzia 83a). As much as lawyers may try, it is impossible to contract for each and every eventuality when entering into an agreement. In many places of employment one does not even sign a contract. Despite best intentions an employee and employer may have different expectations as to the exact requirements of a job. Unless explicitly agreed otherwise, it is the custom of the land...Continue Reading »
Bava Metzia 85: For the Children
One of the challenges of higher education is ensuring that one does not sit in an ivory tower where what one learns has little application to real life issues. This problem is no less, and probably much more, applicable to much of yeshiva education, especially in the modern period where yeshivot are independent institutions no longer part of the broader community. Judaism has always stressed the connection between learning, teaching and doing....Continue Reading »
Bava Metzia 83: Was the Wine Good?
“Pray for the welfare of government for, if not fear of them, man would swallow his friend alive” (Avot 3:2). Law and order is the backbone of any society and, along with security, are the most important duties of government. When law breaks down, society is doomed to anarchy, chaos and worse. Almost by definition, law is inflexible and thus, in certain circumstances can cause injustice. “The law pierces the mountain” (...Continue Reading »
Bava Metzia 85: Forget It!
Family owned businesses comprise some 90% of all business enterprises in the United States, account for about 65% of gross domestic product and 75% of all new job hirings. Yet only some 30% survive to the second generation and a mere 12% of these businesses will be around in generation three (see here for example). Passing on a family heirloom is no easy task, and many things must go right to ensure a successful transition, whereas there are a...Continue Reading »
Bava Metzia 84: I Can't Learn Without You
The traditional way to study Talmud is with a chavruta, a study partner, someone with whom to bounce off ideas, debate, question and argue about how to best understand the Talmudic sugya. Having someone to challenge our ideas and interpretations is indispensable in helping to clarify and refine our understanding of the text before us. “What is [the meaning of] what is written (Proverbs 27:17), 'Iron sharpens iron?...Continue Reading »