Bava Metzia

Bava Metzia 37: What Does the Cheater Lose?

November 16, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
It is a beautiful character trait to be trusting of others. It is also, all too often, foolhardy. The underlying theme of much of Bava Metzia, and for that matter all of Seder Nezikin, is that people, lie, cheat, commit adultery, and even kill. If people would be honest there would be little need for many of the Talmudic discussions that fill these pages. The Gemara is forced to spend much energy in trying to understand the mindset of those who...
Continue Reading »

Bava Metzia 35: Making a Quick Dollar

November 13, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The difference between a smart businessperson and an ethically challenged one can be fine indeed - so fine that many will disagree on where to draw that line. “One rents a bull from his friend and loans it to another and the animal dies of natural causes…”(Bava Metzia 35b). If introductory Talmud begins with yeush shelo meda’at (see here) it is quickly followed by an introduction to the arba shomrim,...
Continue Reading »

Bava Metzia 33: 40 Long Years

November 11, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the beautiful things about studying Gemara is delighting in how it seamlessly flows from one idea to another; how it blends legal rulings, moral teachings and philosophical musings with personal vignettes, historical information and sociological observations – and much more. The generations blend together, as scholars living hundreds of years and hundreds of miles apart engage in conversation with each other[1]. The Talmud is...
Continue Reading »

Bava Metzia 33: You Go First

November 08, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
There are few mitzvoth of greater importance than kibud av veim. This is so well-known and obvious that it hardly needs elaboration. So much so that the models our Sages present to us as paragons of this mitzva are non-Jews; beginning with Eisav in the Torah and Dama ben Netinah in the Talmud (see Kiddushin 31a). “His lost object and the lost object of his father his object comes first.” (Bava Metzia 33a) While kibud av...
Continue Reading »

Bava Metzia 32: Helping the Enemy

November 03, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“G-d is good to all and His mercy is upon all His creations” (Tehillim 145:9). If G-d has mercy on all His creations so too must man, created in G-d’s image, have mercy on all creations. Laws ranging from not killing a mother ox and her offspring on the same day, the laws of shechita, the prohibition to eat before feeding one’s animal, the prohibition to muzzle an ox while it works in the field, the prohibition...
Continue Reading »