For the week ending 27 August 2016 / 23 Av 5776

Bava Kama 86 - 92

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Payment for reversible physical damage
  • Embarrassing a slave, a blind person, a minor, a naked person or someone sleeping
  • Status of the blind regarding obligations and culpability
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  • The decree of the Sanhedrin whose seat was in Usha
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  • Cutting down a fruit-bearing tree
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  • Biblical sources for folk wisdom

The Anonymous Brothers

When Yosef introduced five of his brothers to the Egyptian king he selected those whose appearance made an impression of physical frailty so that Pharaoh would not be tempted to recruit any of his brothers as warriors.

This is no mention in the Torah who those five brothers were. While there is a midrash that they were Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yissachar and Binyamin – the ones whose names were not mentioned twice by Moshe when he blessed all of the tribes before his death – our gemara states that they were Gad, Naftali, Dan, Zevulun and Asher – the ones whose names were repeated by Moshe in order to endow them with strength.

The question arises as to why the names of these weaker brothers are not explicitly mentioned in the Torah.

Maharsha suggests that the deletion of their names was intended as a hint to their lack of the prowess of the other brothers.

It may be added that they were compensated for this omission of their names by having Moshe mention them twice.

What the Sages Say

"One may not commit suicide for the Torah states (Bereishet 9:5) 'But I shall demand the blood of your lives' which means that one who sheds his own blood will be held responsible."

  • Rabbi Elazar - Bava Kama 91b

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