For the week ending 17 December 2016 / 17 Kislev 5777

Bava Metzia 86 - 92

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
  • The flight and death of the Sage Rabbah bar Nachmeini
  • The feasts of the Patriarch Avraham and of King Shlomo
  • The hospitality Avraham extended to the angels
  • When it is proper to deviate from the truth
  • The right of an agricultural worker to partake of the produce
  • The limitations on this right
  • Forbidden muzzling of an animal threshing grain
  • Forbidden crossbreeding of animals
  • Use of which part of body in work entitles worker to eat from produce
  • Eating from produce in which worker is not directly involved
  • Is there a limit to how much of the produce the worker may eat
  • Can the worker take from produce for his wife and children

A Hint for Hospitality

  • Bava Metzia 87a

"I will bring you some bread," said the Patriarch Avraham to his three guests as he invited them to partake of his hospitality. What he ended up doing was slaughtering three cows so that he could offer each guest a luxurious meal.

This shows, commented Rabbi Elazar, that the righteous offer little and deliver a lot, in contrast with the wicked who promise much and deliver nothing.

It would seem that it is sufficient for the righteous to merely deliver what they promise. Why should they begin by offering less?

Maharsha sees in this a valuable hint for true hospitality. If a host invites a potential guest to a lavish dinner there is a danger that his offer will be refused because of a reluctance to impose upon the host. Avraham taught us the strategy of offering something token that will not be turned down, and then surprising the guest with truly lavish hospitality.

What the Sages Say

"How important is peace between people that even G-d deviated from the truth (to preserve peace between Avraham and Sarah.)"

  • The Yeshiva of Rabbi Yishmael - Bava Metzia 87a

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