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Talmud Study - Lesson 5

An Ode to Pledges


Talmud Study - Lesson 5: An Ode to Pledges

In this class, we explore the nature and reliability of pledges, whether an item found on one's property can be presumed to belong to him, and the evolution process of a halachic sales transaction.
Lesson 5 Handout, Lesson 5: Talmud Text, Lesson 5: Talmud Text in English
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Talmud, Tractate Bava Metziah

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Anonymous Barcelona November 9, 2017

The difference I see with that simple easy ruling of ownership of offspring before theft is the following.

You are given a sheep as a guardian, and the sheep has offspring. The thief stoles the sheep and his offspring, say one lamb.

Given retroactively ownership when starting guardianship with the clause on offspring, the guardian has not even the option to pay for the lamb, nor its extra benefits. Never was his.

In the second case before theft, the guardian is owner now of the main sheep, yet offspring never.

The easy solution exposed at the end, pose a problem now. The offspring would belong to the guardian after apprehending the thief. Moreover, the guardian does not know even if he has to pay for the main sheep, or also for the offspring in case the are stolen?
It just does not conform the the Talmud case.

Isn't it? Reply

Pam Maryland June 21, 2017

I love this course. So insightful. Reply

Many Thanks Florida November 24, 2015

Thank you My past attempts for Talmud study have been difficult and frustrating. I have found it to be intimidating and tedious. I am able to follow your classes and greatly appreciate the way you teach. Thank you very much for making this comprehensible, contemplative, and enjoyable. Reply

Richard Jacksonville, Fl March 14, 2012

R' Akiva Eiger's suggestion First, Thank you so much for your shiurim on Bava Metzia. My chavrusa and I are both just getting started in "serious" Talmud learning and your classes are helping us tremendously. I hope you are still checking these e-mails so we can thank you properly.

Anyjow, we probably missed a very basic point here, but we wonder how R; Akiva Eiger's suggestion relative to separating the acquisition of the cow and its profits solves the problem. That is, how can the guardian take possession of the profits if the cow is in a marsh? Isn't this the same acquisition problem that existed previously? There is no act of acquisition. Reply

Anonymous Barcelona November 9, 2017
in response to Richard:

This reason you mention means it may only resolve the same case that the first resolution.
I argue that it does not resolve the first resolution case either.
What if the the item has offspring, and the thief steals also the offspring?
To whom goes the stolen offspring if the thief is apprehended?
And the benefits of the stolen offspring?
By this ruling, the guardian would be the owner of the offspring at the time of theft if the offspring would be stolen, which would not be the same stated in the Talmud, hence not resolving it. Reply

Barney Borås, Sweden January 6, 2011

Belated Thanks! Dear Rabbi Wolf,

Belated but heartfelt thanks for the wonderful gemorah lessons. I enjoy learning with you very much. You're very good at explaining the gemorah and presenting it in a very enjoyable and interesting way. I also very much like your comments at the end of each class. I usually watch/listen to each clasee 2-3 times during the week so I am only up to lesson 5 at the moment but look forward to following all of the lessons and hope you keep it up for a long time to come.

Thank You. Reply

kameo October 30, 2010

believable claim? Is there never a believable claim for the borrower to be exempt from payment?

Thieves can be very nasty, the borrower might have been threatened to give him the aninmal.

Is that not a believable claim to be exempt from payment?

I am still loving the lessons!, did not expect to be able to follow them! Reply

Anonymous Englewood, nj June 14, 2010

is there really an unpaid guardian? if an unpaid guardian receives the thief's fine - should the object be stolen and he wishes to pay - then this benefit should make him into a paid guardian. Even a potential benefit is a benefit - a lottery ticket has value even if it ultimately is not the winning ticket. How then can the mishnah bring a case of an unpaid guardian? Reply

luther Nashman new york, USA May 17, 2010

To Rabbi Wolf Talmud lesson 5 Thank you very much for answering me. You make a valid point! Reply

Robin Ziino Barrington, RI, USA May 17, 2010

Tamud Bavli The Schottenstein English Edition is very expensive. Is the Soncino Press edition good for studying? IThere is a website: Discountseforim that has very good prices. Is anyone familiar with them?
Thank you for helping with my questions. Reply

Manuel Gwiazda Buenos Aires, Argentina May 17, 2010

To Rabbi Wolf Dear Rabbi

I understand your explanation in terms of:

It is one thing to be the fellow, and another one to be the Judge ruling between two parties.


And by the way, I like the way you explain everything. Though the subjects are very complex, you make them crystal clear and above all, very interesting.

I hope you extend your Talmud classes to more than those scheduled. You are a great teacher.

Best regards Reply

Yitshak Ben Avraham/ Thomas McCord nashville, Tn./U.S. May 17, 2010

Tefillin If a borrower borrows Tefillin, and the Head Tefillin strap broke, should the Tefillin be replaced, or just the strap. Reply

David Holt Australia October 20, 2017
in response to Yitshak Ben Avraham/ Thomas McCord:

The whole Tefillin as a strap seperate from the Tefillin box might not be kosher. That is we cannot be sure that the Tefillin the strap came from was kosher. Reply

Eliezer Wolf NY May 16, 2010

To Channa Tosafos is speaking of a unique method of transaction which includes an evolutionary process, in which the item grows to become more and more yours until it finally becomes fully yours.

The legal parameters and practical applications of this phenomena are very interesting, however beyond the scope of this discussion.

A point to consider: What if I sell you an item from now and after 30 days. Then, on day 20, I sell it to someone else in one shot. What would you rule?

Re "you will be willing to compensate": As discussed in the class, R' Yochanan taught us that indeed a pledge would be sufficient. The only exception to this teaching might be the borrower, which we will discuss further in next class. Reply

Channa May 16, 2010

Resoultion 3 Tosafos seeks to resolve the problem by conveyance both now and at the time of sale. I have a question: In this instance does the word conveyance imply owership, and if so why not state so explicity, and how can an item be conveyed and not conveyed at the same time? "Now, AND just prior..." what logic is operational that something is conveyed yet not?
Second, in the "you will be willing to compensate..." Is this wording pursuant to exacting a pledge?

Anonymous Pembroke , NC May 14, 2010

In the 2nd resolution of the Talmud it seems to me that the guardian was negligent. How then can he benefit from this? His negligence allowed time for the aniaml to be stolen. He has no respect for the owners' property other wise he would be watching it better. So agian why should he get anything? Reply

Eliezer Wolf NY May 16, 2010

To Manugw Indeed, on a religious level, one must always judge another on the side of merit (unless there is sufficient reason not to). We believe that at the depths of one's soul, one always wants to do what is correct and just.

However, when discussing civil law, in which every decision about one person automatically affects another person, what right do we have to optimistically give credence to one's pledges when it may be at the expense of anothers' pocket? We need to be very careful when making such decisions that have multiple impacts upon several parties involved in the transaction.

The 'holiest' and most ideal method to implement is one in which all parties involved will feel safe and protected. Reply

Manugw Buenos Aires, Argentina May 14, 2010

About the pledge and Torah commandments After finishing this class, I was wondering..., As the Rabbies who were discussing the pledge at that time were Torah scholars, and..., they concluded that there are cases were the pledge was not enough as future evidence of payment or the guardian may swear in false, I try to enter the frame of mind of these Sages and ask:,.. .How do they reconcile this conclusions with the Torah commandment of "..Judge the people favorably." or ".Judge the people on the side of merit...."? In that case, I understand the pledge of your friend would be enough evidence of future payment, according to Torah standards. Reply

shaoul Boca Raton, FL May 13, 2010

Talmud lesson 5 very good, perfect, amount of minutes Reply

Maria Martinez Monte Vista, Colorado May 13, 2010

Talmud For Beginners Lesson 5 Enjoyed the class and am looking forward to the next one. Thank you and have a good Shabbat. Reply

Eliezer Wolf NY May 16, 2010

To Tom Today we have access to many books authored by R' Akiva Eiger. Some are commentary to the Talmud, some are legal responsa, and some are brief analytical notes and textual emendations to the Talmud and the Shulchan Aruch.

As far as I am aware, all these books are only printed in their original language - in Hebrew.

However, there are some fantastic biographical books in English about his life and accomplishments.

By the way, there is a beautiful adage that gets told in many Talmudic academies: "If R' Eiger didn't have an answer, then how could you have the audacity to provide one!"

I think that this saying isn't so much discouraging Talmudic students to produce novellae (which is somewhat of a primary pursuit of Talmudic study) but rather to magnify the greatness of R' Eiger and his teachings.

Ultimately, I'm sure he would be very happy to discover answers to his questions. Reply

Tom NYC, New York May 13, 2010

Rav Eger Are there books available by Rabbi Eiger?
This was the best class so far! Reply

These Talmud classes will be studying and analyzing the third chapter of tractate Bava Metzia, which presents the Jewish approach in many matters of civil law, particularly vis-à-vis the different degrees of liability assumed by guardians, renters and borrowers.
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