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Talmud Study - Lesson 2

The Four Guardians

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Talmud Study - Lesson 2: The Four Guardians

This class serves as an introduction to the subject matter discussed in the third chapter of Bava Metzia, namely the laws of the four guardians.
Six Orders of the Mishnah  
The Four Types of Guradians  
Thief's Fine  
Listen to Audio | Download this MP3
Tractate Bava Metziah, Talmud

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Jordan Mugala Ottawa Ontario Canada July 8, 2020

Thank you so much Rabbi Wolf! This is very exciting! I pray I will grasp these concepts to a deeper extent every day with study and patience.
Shalom! Reply

Jordan Mugala Ottawa July 8, 2020

Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai truly must have had a heart of gold, it gives me motivation to be more patient. Reply

Brenda Guilbault NYC May 24, 2020

Excellent teacher, I really enjoyed this first class presented so clearly. Reply

Ross March 1, 2020

How about: The Ox would take 2 1/2 years to develop into a good breeder. You’re paying double still.
The sheep is Smaller it only takes 2 years to come to full maturity. Again you’re paying double again. Because you didn’t just steal the animals but also the lost productivity.
With the ox you’re missing a second plow season in the fall. Reply

Dr. Claudia Tatum Dallas November 26, 2019

Wow he is so knowledgeable and inspiring. I loved it. Reply

Elizabeth Alcoba Olney January 18, 2019

Good class! thank you Rabbi. Do you have an on line Hebrew class? Reply

Yitzhak Grand Barnstaple, England October 23, 2018

Shalom rabbi - loving the series so far very interesting - if a paid guardian, renter or borrower pays compensation to the owner and then the thief is caught does he get the compensation returned to him? Also if the person who is supposed to get the compensation from the thief dies who receives the compensation on his behalf? Reply

Rabbi Mendel Adelman October 23, 2018
in response to Yitzhak Grand:

Hello Yitzchak,

If the guardian pays compensation to the owner, and then the thief is caught, the thief then returns the item to the guardian, plus double.

"If a man left an animal or implements with another for safekeeping and they were stolen or lost, and the bailee said: "I will rather make restitution than take an oath," and then the thief was found, the thief must make twofold restitution, and if he had slaughtered or sold the animal he must make fourfold or fivefold restitution to the bailee who had agreed to pay [rather than take an oath]" (Rambam Laws of Borrowers and Guardians 8:1).

However, if the item is still extant, it is returned to the original owner, the compensation is returned to the guardian, and the thief pays the double penalty to the guardian.

If the guardian dies, his children receive the payment in his stead (or whoever inherits him). Reply

Chananaya March 5, 2018

Thank you so much rabbi I'm loving the classes how do the get a work sheet to follow the class ? Reply

Benjamin Jones March 5, 2018
in response to Chananaya :

Click on the link under the video that is titled "Handouts" for resource to accompany class, beautiful you found this class. Reply

Donna Nall Chandler, AZ USA October 26, 2017

Rabbi Wolf,

I just listened to your Lesson 1 of Talmud Study. I cannot read Hebrew or Aramaic but I would love to study the Talmud, is there one that has been translated into English? I love that you said, "Truth can only be realized by rigorous effort and questioning is essential for understanding." paraphrased. I liked how you explained the Mishnah. I have studied God's word for many years but have not studied it from a Jewish prospective which I believe has to have more information because you are God's chosen people. He has always made sure there was a remnant of His people who loved and honored Him. Looking forward to lesson 2. Do you happen to work from an outline that we can use to take notes. It took me 2 hours to listen to the first one because I had to keep going back. No problem, you said some things that I wanted to listen to more than once. Reply

Jenifer Nech Houston USA February 28, 2017

Thank you so much. Rebbe Wolf, you are so easy to listen to. I am motivated to learn more. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org December 20, 2015

Re: The Renter If the rental policy included the furniture (TV, etc.) in the apartment, then it would only be logical for the renter to be responsible for anything stolen from it. Reply

Bonnie Kalbrosky San Francisco December 6, 2015

The Renter So if someone (A) rents an apartment from someone else (B) and the apartment is broken into during the day and a TV is stolen, are the Rabbi's saying that "B" is responsible / liable for "A"'s stolen goods and would therefore have to repay him/her? Reply

Benjamin Indianapolis June 9, 2015

Ox & Sheep/ Watch Additionally, I wonder if due to an Ox & Sheep being living, breathing life forms in relation to value? Just a thought 🌈 Reply

Gurdeep Badwal wolverhampton June 7, 2015

ox and sheep i thought maybe the ox and sheep have a higher value because they bring income to the household, a watch is a watch but if you steal an ox or a sheep not only have you stole the principal value you are also stealing future income that would have came from the ox plowing or transporting carts and the sheep for its wool or meat ..... its just a thought. By the way i think the course is fantastic and the rabbi a very articulate man. Reply

benjamin Indianapolis May 17, 2015

Rabbi Meir I do not see Rabbi Meir listed on the "Personalities' heading on the Class Resource f/ Lesson 1. I thought to look upon hearing the discussion of the Ox & Sheep between he & R. Zakkai. From there I looked Rabbi Meir up on Wikipedia....quite interesting. Looking forward to Lesson 3. Reply

Chana Bangkok April 4, 2015

thank you for sharing! i really love this lecture! Reply

Anonymous WI November 7, 2014

Thief's Fine How do you/is the factor of metal instability fit into this teaching and understanding? What if the 'thief' simply doesn't have the mental clarity to understand would 'they' be held to the law in the same way or is there exceptions to this line of thinking? If yes, who is deemed worthy to judge a person that suffers unlike the common people? Reply

Malca Miami February 24, 2014

My First Encounter This is my first encounter with Talmud from the beginning and I am happy that the teacher/Rabbi is talking slowly and clearly in order to understand. Talmud brings about teachings from the basic elements in life, like an ox and a sheep. And if we pay attention and concentrate, we can understand the message.

I am an observant Jew who learns and lives as a Jew. Now, I would like to add a different aspect into my spiritual life that requires thought and concentration, and that at the end, it arrives at being better people.

Thank you for the opportunity Chabad.org is giving all of us to learn Talmud. Reply

Harold Brownstein February 22, 2014

Thank you,

I have learned way more than I thought in a short period of time. I look forward to lesson 3. Reply

Jean Oakes BATTLE GROUND October 17, 2013

Thanks, Questions, and Comments. Part Two (Continued from Part One)
Typically, you used two oxen for many of these tasks and losing one, is losing half your livelihood.
Sheep on the other hand were used for their wool, for food, and for worship. (I think I forgot that in the Oxen - they were used in Worship as well.) You could credibly have one or two oxen, but it is highly unlikely that a family at that time, even a poor one, had only one or two sheep. If they had sheep, they were more likely to have more like five or ten or even hundreds.
So an oxen, besides having 4 or 5 uses, could be 50% or 100% of a family's livelihood, but a sheep not only had fewer uses, possibly 3 or 4, was also more likely to be 5% or 25% of the family's livelihood.

I have studied Torah and some Talmud now for two years, and it seems the more you study the more questions you have. One question gets answered and ten more line up take its place. How I wish to be able to study Torah all day with wise Rabbis!
~ Jean 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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