For the week ending 6 February 2016 / 27 Shevat 5776

Gittin 57 - 64

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The destruction of Tur Malka and Beitar in Eretz Yisrael and Kefar Sachnia in Egypt
  • Nevuzraden and the blood of the Prophet Zechariah
  • The voice and hands of destruction
  • The heroism of 400 boys and girls and of a woman and her seven sons
  • The tragedy not mentioned in the Torah's warning of disaster
  • Ransoming of a prodigy and heroism of a brother and sister
  • When the mishnah's rule about sikrikin applies
  • The most learned and wealthy man among Jews
  • Transactions of a deaf mute or minor
  • Decrees for the sake of peaceful relations
  • The order of aliyot to the Torah reading
  • Writing the Oral Law
  • Neighbors sharing water of a well
  • Dealing with less observant neighbors and non-Jews during Shmitah year and regular year
  • Relating to a Torah scholar who is a major dissenter
  • Retracting appointment of an agent for delivery of a get
  • Agency for delivering get and for receiving it
  • Who can accept a get for a na'arah ha'meurasah

State of the Date

  • Gittin 61a

On his way to the Babylonian city of Hutzel, Rabbi Cahana saw a man knocking dates off a tree that belonged to no one. When he picked some up to eat he was quickly warned by the man who had removed them from the tree that the dates rightfully belonged to him.

The claim was based on the ruling of the mishnah (59b) that the fruit which one knocks off an ownerless olive tree cannot be taken by someone else because of a rabbinical decree of darkei shalom — maintaining peaceful relations between people.

The explanation of Rashi that the fellow removed the dates by throwing some sticks at them is challenged by Tosefot because it leaves us with a question as to why Rabbi Cahana helped himself to the dates when he was aware of the rabbinical decree that they belonged to the remover.

The approach favored by Tosefot is that of Rabbeinu Chananel who states that the fellow was seemingly interested only in removing branches from the tree and dates fell merely as a result. Assuming that the fellow was interested only in the wood and not in the fruit Rabbi Cahana picked up the dates to eat them until he was informed by the fellow that his intention in removing the branches was to get to the dates which should therefore belong to him.

What the Sages Say

"How do we know that Torah scholars are called kings? Because of the passage (Mishlei 8:15) citing the Torah as saying 'by me do kings reign.'"

  • The Sage Ganeiva - Gittin 62a

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