Talmud Study - Lesson 8

11 Unresolved Questions - Part 2

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Talmud Study - Lesson 8: 11 Unresolved Questions - Part 2

In continuation from the previous lesson, we once again participate in a most creative brainstorming session of our Sages. Building upon the ruling of our Mishnah, the Sages explore several complex variations of the Mishnah's base scenario. In turn, many new and fascinating discussions evolve.
Lesson 8 Handout  
Lesson 8: Talmud Text  
Lesson 8: Talmud Text in English  
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Bava Metzia, Talmud

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Jeff Pollack Amissville, VA 20106, USA October 26, 2020

What if the owner does not wish to pay a concession he would otherwise be expected to pay
- will the Court then require him to do so? Reply

Stanley August 11, 2019

A woman borrows item then the husband pays back. My question is does the husband have to pay back or can he say my wife borrowed the item so it's not my problem.and my wife has to pay it back? Reply

Rabbi EK for Chabad.org August 24, 2019
in response to Stanley:

Here in this passage, the question is whether the husband who is not the owner of the principle even if he paid will not acquire the penalty payment or since the husband is the agent of the wife and gets the revenue if he paid for the damage then he acquires the penalty payment.

Your question is dealt with in other sections of the Talmud.
There is lots of discussion about this and it would depend if the woman has assets of her own that the husband has no rights to. If this is the case she'd be obligated to pay on her own. If she does not have any assets of her own he is obligated to pay.

This is just a brief summary of lengthy passages of Talmud and commentaries and by no means does justice to your question.
As always if this is a real-world case you'd need to contact a Beth Din with all the details. Reply

Stanley Kfar Hamaccabi July 21, 2019

"7. (If you assume that the guardian does not acquire half the penalty payments for repaying half the item…) Someone borrows two cows, they were both stolen, and he paid for only one of them? 8. (If you assume that the borrower does not acquire half the penalty payments for repaying only one animal [half the deposit]…) Someone borrowed a cow from two partners, it stolen, and he paid one of the partners his entire share? 9. (If you assume that the guardian does not acquire half the penalty payments because he has only paid one partner [half of what he entirely owes]…) "

I find the text confusing as it mentions borrowers not unpaid guardians. I thought that the borrower and unpaid guardian have completely different rights yet here they seem to be the same thing Reply

Rabbi EK for Chabad.org July 24, 2019
in response to Stanley:

Did you see the lesson handout sheet, the explains each of the literal phrases of the Gemorah?

You can see it here:

The Gemorah asks a series of questions where it changes from an unpaid guardian to a borrower between question 6 and 7.
Indeed, usually, the unpaid guardian and borrower have different rights, however here regarding acquiring the Kefel - penalty payment - their rights align, as in both cases they paid for the stolen item or at least part of it. Reply

Peter Cassirer Sweden January 20, 2016

Blackboard Why don't you use a blackboard to show names and terms? Reply

Nossson Klein Jerusalem, Israel October 31, 2010

Where is the Jerushalmi Where in the Jerushalmi Rambam makes reference? Reply

Yonatan ROCHESTER, NY August 4, 2010

lesson #8 I truly enjoy your online class. You have made a complex subject, more easy to understand. You are an excellent teacher and speaker. I only wish I were able to attend your class personally. Thank you. Reply

MIldred Gordon Lancaster, America July 8, 2010

Interesting Course I have found this course very interesting. I have learned a lot of things that I didn't realize I didn't think about about. before. Thank you for helping me to understand about these things. Reply

Kayo Tokyo, Japan June 22, 2010

Difficult The teacher's voice is so clear that it is very easy to listen to. However, the logic of Talmud is difficult to follow. It might be because English is not my mother tongue. Reply

Julie George Wellsville., Kansas June 22, 2010

Lesson 8 You are an excellent teacher. Your diction is perfect, you are clear and precise and your expressions show you love what you're doing.
I've always wondered about Talmud if I could ever understand it. This is great.
Shalom, Reply

Manuel Gwiazda Buenos Aires, Argentina June 19, 2010

Very interesting I enyojed the class. I remembered the tale of King Solomon and the women arguing for the ownership of one baby: Rabbi keep going this way. These classes open my mind Reply

Maria Martinez Monte Vista, Colorado June 16, 2010

Talmud For Beginners Lesson 8 I enjoyed the lecture and am looking forward to Lesson 9. Reply

luther nashman new york, ny/usa June 15, 2010

Response to rabbi Wolf to question Thank you very much for your answer. I still am concerned that in the case of the stolen cow, where the penalty is 5 cows, that guardian would stand to make a profit of 4 cows and would likely pay the owner for one cow only. This fact to me could encourage dishonest guardians to arrange for the theft of the cow in order to reap a handsome profit. Reply

Mr. Richard Raff June 15, 2010

Talmud for beginners lesson 8 At the very least we know what the meaning of greed is right. i enjoyed this comment about the word greed by Rabbi Wolf. You would have made the Rebbe very proud with your knowledge of the Talmud Law. What I got from that comment was there is variables that need to be identified. We must know the rules before we write the answers to them. Very good job Rabbi Wolf, indeed studying more can help all of us. Reply

Eliezer Wolf June 14, 2010

To Luther We need to explore: why does the guardian want to repay an owner? Firstly, he might be 'innocent' and exempt from payment. Secondly, even if he be guilty, he still has options to wiggle his way out of payment. After all, he was only a guardian - why should he cut a loss by paying the owner?

The Talmud's approach is that people will do something when they have something to gain. Thus, if there be an incentive for the guardian when paying, then he would gain from paying the owner, and the owner would definitely gain by 'at least' receiving back the value of his item.

These ideas evolved throughout Judaic thought and eventually became the legal position: "Any guardian who pays an owner acquires the rights to future penalty payments."

If an owner does not wish to covey such rights to a paying guardian, he is attempting to act contrary to the Halachik ruling. The only way for him to do this would be to write up a contract explicitly mentioning this variance from the law.

Now his challenge would be to go find a guardian that is willing to enter such an agreement together with him! Reply

Luther Nashman n.y., usa June 13, 2010

Question for Rabbi Wolf Can the owner accept payment from a guardian and still refuse to give him ownership rights and the ability to profit from the theft? Or does the guardian in effect take over complete possession at his discretion if he repays the owner for the loss? Reply

Anonymous June 13, 2010

Grape colored glasses If you can not take care of a watch, what make you think you could guard someone else business? Damages can be compared to a car accident. Who get's the ticket at the end of the day is what we don't care about, right? Who has to pay for the accident is what people run for the most, not correct? We must remember what we did to get into the accident in the first place. So lessons 1-8 are totally relevant in order to get that total recall or maybe as the old saying goes "STOP, rewind that tape" to apply the law too. So keep going Rabbi Wolf! Move on, to just keep on, with less-on. Reply

Anonymous new york, ny/USA June 12, 2010

response to doctor's wife Punitive damages in the medical field are entirely different in nature to stealing something by a thief, but are worthy of serious discussions. But here again, the issue of money permeates the entire issue and lawyers suing for huge punitive damages is the major cause for the high insurance premiums. Again, however, I was disappointed that so far 8 lectures were devoted to the guardian question when other more relevant topics could be reviewed. as well. Reply

albert montreal June 11, 2010

maybe maybe can we have the class more often than once a week? Reply

Anonymous Barrington, RI, USA June 10, 2010

response to anonymous As a doctor's wife, I think the discussion is incrediably timely. Missing from the Obama healthcare bill is tort reform, thus punitive damages which is what the 2,4,&5 fold penalty essentially are, is quite valuable food for thought and punitive damages in and of themselves are a topic on today's legal system, don't you think? Reply

Anonymous new york, ny/usa June 10, 2010

Lesson#8 another minority opinion While I found the lecture very interesting as usual, especially the husband/wife portion, I still find the the entire topic is only slightly relevant in 2010. The whole discussions revolve around a thief's penalty payments. If the thief only had to pay back the original value plus some expenses incurred by the owner, the entire topic would not be any issue at all. The obsession with making a profit would disappear and guardians/borrowers would pay back the owners in full. For good or bad, the world has changed in regard to the punishment for thievery. What is the ruling in Israel today? While the questions studied in the Talmud show a great depth of understanding and analysis and present the deep thinking of the talmudists, this topic in my opinion does not have to reviewed in such detail. A thorough summary would have been enough. 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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