The Weekly Daf

For the week ending 31 January 2009 / 6 Shevat 5769

Bava Kama 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Only on the Sabbath

The owner of an ox pays only half the damage caused by its goring until he has been warned on three successive occasions that his ox is a gorer. From then on he pays full damage. But he is considered an inveterate gore only in regard to the pattern he set, i.e., the type of victim he gored. What about the pattern of time? This question was posed to Rabbi Yehuda: What is the status of an ox that gored on three successive Sabbaths but not in the weekdays? His ruling was that he is considered an inveterate gorer on Sabbaths and his owner will pay in full for damage caused by his goring on any Sabbath but is still considered a novice on weekdays, obligating his owner to pay only half of the damage.

  • Bava Kama 37a

What logic is there in assuming that the ox has a predilection for goring only on the Sabbath?

The ox is idle on the Sabbath (because the Torah restrains his master from having him work on this day) and is therefore in a temperamental state.

  • Rashi

The people wearing their Sabbath finery appear to the ox as strangers whom he fails to recognize and this arouses him to violence.

  • Tosefos based on Jerusalem Talmud

The Wrong Kind of Condolence

When Rabbi Shmuel bar Yehuda lost a daughter, the Babylonian sages invited their Eretz Israeli colleague, the Sage Ullo, to join them in paying a condolence visit.

"What can I have to do with the condolences of the Babylonians", replied Ullo "when they are so blasphemous? They try to comfort the mourner by saying 'What can you do?' as if to imply that if they could do something about it they would counter the will of Heaven!"

  • Bava Kama 38a

A man must rather accept with love the decree of Heaven in the manner which the suffering Job rebuked his disconsolate wife "Shall we accept only the good from the L-rd and not accept the evil?" This attitude is also expressed in the Talmudic dictate that one must bless the L-rd for the evil as well as for the good.

  • Nimukei Yossef

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