For the week ending 20 June 2009 / 27 Sivan 5769

Bava Metzia 58 - 64

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When a guardian receives compensation for Shabbat
  • Priceless items
  • Hurting with words
  • The seriousness of public embarrassment
  • The great debate and the voice of Heaven
  • Deceiving consumers by mixing inferior with better produce
  • Unfair competition for customers
  • The slave who dyed his hair and beard
  • Usury with money or produce
  • Various forms of dishonesty
  • Which profits of usury can be confiscated by court
  • Your own life comes first!
  • Returning profits from usury or stolen items
  • When buying "futures" constitutes forbidden usury
  • Subtle forms of usury which are forbidden

Anatomy of a Blush

  • Bava Metzia 58b

"One who embarrasses another in public and causes him to blush in shame is considered as having murdered him."

This powerful warning that was stated before Rabbi Nachman bar Yitzchak received corroboration from him. He pointed out that we see the victim of such embarrassment turn red and then white, which indicates a form of bloodshed.

But why does he first turn red if the reaction is one of losing blood?

Tosefot explains that the initial blush is caused by the excitement that forces the blood to seek an escape. The resulting paleness is the result of the blood receding.

Public embarrassment is therefore equated with bloodshed even though it is only a momentary experience.

What the Sages Say

"A man must always be extremely careful in showing consideration for the honor of his wife, for the prosperity which is bestowed upon his household is only in the merit of his wife."

  • Rabbi Chelbo - Bava Metzia 59a

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