Daf Yomi

For the week ending 28 November 2009 / 10 Kislev 5770

Bava Batra 100 - 106

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The rights of the public to a road they have been using
  • Whether walking on a property finalizes a transaction
  • Some funeral customs of Talmudic times
  • How many graves in a burial cave
  • The ramifications of finding a dead body on the road
  • What is considered part of a field sold or consecrated
  • When the buyer of earth is shortchanged or receives too much
  • Conflicting statements made by the seller
  • The margin of error when land sold is marked with boundaries
  • How heirs divide the inherited property

How Eretz Yisrael Was Acquired

  • Bava Batra 100a

"Arise, walk about the Land through its length and breadth, for to you will I give it." (Bereishet 13:17)

This command of G-d to the Patriarch Avraham is cited by Rabbi Elazar as a source for walking in an acquired property constituting a kinyan which makes the transaction final and irreversible.

His position is challenged by the other Sages who contend that Avraham's walking throughout Eretz Yisrael promised to him and his descendants was only a symbolic way of preparing the future conquest of the Land by Yehoshua and his Jewish army. The position of these Sages is that walking on land does not serve as a kinyan, and another expression of mastery such as improvement of the property is required to finalize a transaction.

Although no mention is made in our gemara as to what did serve as a kinyan for Avraham according to these Sages, there is an interesting suggestion made by the Ohr Hachayim commentary on Bereishet.

Two passages before the one quoted above, Avraham is told, "Raise now your eyes and look out from where you are: northward, southward, eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and your descendants."

Human vision is limited, so that in order for Avraham to see the entire Land from where he stood it was necessary for G-d to miraculously bring all of the Land to him. Such a phenomenon of the Land coming to Avraham was certainly a supreme expression of mastery which gave our forefather absolute title to Eretz Yisrael.

What the Sages Say

"One cannot take away from the public a road on his property which he has allowed them to use."

  • Rabbi Yehuda in the name of Rabbi Eliezer - Bava Batra 100a

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