For the week ending 18 June 2016 / 12 Sivan 5776

Bava Kama 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • What are considered normal and abnormal damages caused by an animal
  • The importance of bowing when saying modim
  • The honor paid to King Chizkiyahu
  • Damage caused by animal with its feet or by fowl with its wings or legs
  • Damage caused by stones kicked by animal or by the swinging of its tail
  • Damages caused by animal eating – what and where
  • A squatter who doesn't rent, living in a house not being rented
  • Other examples of this same principle
  • When owner of animal pays only how much he benefited from what his animal ate from another's produce
  • Damage caused by a dog jumping on vessels or causing a fire with a burning cookie
  • How to view the damage of fire – as arrow of damager or his possession
  • Placing a fire in the hands of an incompetent

Squatter's Rights

  • Bava Kama 20a

Is one who takes up residence in the vacant home of another without his permission obligated to pay him rent?

This question takes several forms:

  1. If the owner does not rent out the house and the squatter is not one who normally rents a house, then it is considered a case of no loss and no benefit and there is no obligation to pay.
  2. If the owner does rent out the house and the squatter normally does rent a house, then this is a case of loss (because the presence of the squatter discourages others from renting) and benefit and there is definitely an obligation to pay.
  3. If the owner does not rent out the house but the squatter does normally rent a house, this is a situation of someone benefiting from another without causing him a loss. This case is debated by the Sages, and the ruling is that there is no obligation to pay.
  4. If the owner does not rent out his house and the squatter does not normally rent a place. While the above three cases are all mentioned in our gemara, this one is not. The position of Tosefot is that there is no obligation to pay since the squatter derives no benefit. The fact that his presence caused the owner a loss by discouraging potential paying tenants is considered only indirect damage, for which there is no obligation to pay. This position is challenged by other commentaries who contend that if one derives even a fringe benefit from another's loss he is obligated to pay.

What the Sages Say

"The honor which Scripture records was accorded to the righteous King Chizkiyahu when he died consisted of establishing a yeshiva for Torah study by his tomb (for three, seven or thirty days according to different opinions)."

  • Rabbi Natan and Other Sages - Bava Kama 16b

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