For the week ending 6 June 2009 / 13 Sivan 5769

Bava Metzia 44 - 50

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library
  • Business transactions on non-real estate items
  • The status of gold and other coins in such transactions and in redeeming second tithe produce
  • Why non-real estate transaction cannot be finalized with money
  • How chalipin (barter) can effect transaction
  • The use of an asimon – a non-stamped coin – for transactions of second tithe redemption
  • The curse for backing out of a deal after money has been paid
  • The moral obligation of honoring a verbal agreement
  • The force of a down payment or security given to guarantee a deal
  • When a verbal commitment is not morally binding
  • The importance of telling the truth
  • The rules of deceit in business transactions
  • How much time does the buyer have to claim he was overcharged

Open House

  • Bava Metzia 49b

It was just before the beginning of Shabbat when someone came to the home of one of the Sages (either Rabbi Tavos or Rabbi Shmuel bar Zutra) and asked if he could purchase some sesame seeds. When he was told that there were none for sale he asked if he could leave the money he brought for the purchase in the Sage's safekeeping since it was so close to Shabbat.

"The whole house is open for you" was the reply.

The money was then left, but during the course of Shabbat it was stolen.

What sort of responsibility did the Sage have regarding the money?

A paid guardian is responsible for theft while an unpaid one is not. It would then seem that the Sage who invited the fellow to leave his money might be considered a paid guardian because of the potential of a sale from which he would profit.

But the Sage Rava ruled that not only was the Sage not considered a paid guardian, he was not even in the category of an unpaid one. The reason? Because telling someone the house is open for him may be a nice way of accommodating a desperate visitor, but it is certainly no acceptance of responsibility.

What the Sages Say

"If you gave me the entire world to do so I would not tell a lie."

  • One of the Sages to Sage Ravina - Bava Metzia 49a

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to TalmuDigest

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.