For the week ending 6 August 2016 / 2 Av 5776

Bava Kama 65 - 71

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Change in the nature of a stolen object and despair of recovery on the part of the victim
  • A stolen sacrifice and stolen animal skins
  • A decree to facilitate a thief's rehabilitation
  • Change in the name of a stolen object
  • Why the fine of four and five times for selling or slaughtering a stolen animal is limited to cow and sheep
  • The thief who steals from a thief
  • The status of a stolen object when the owner has not yet despaired of recovering it
  • The markings made for indicating the status of certain trees
  • The tzenuin and their efforts to prevent sin
  • Testimony regarding the theft and the slaughter
  • When violation of Shabbat accompanies the theft and its sale
  • When an agent carries out the slaughter or sale of the stolen animal
  • Can one benefit from something cooked on Shabbat

A Dilemma for Decades

Imagine a problem in Talmudic logic remaining unresolved for twenty-two years!

Such a situation is mentioned in our gemara. The Sage Rava reports that the Sage Rabbah posed a question to Rabbi Yosef for twenty-two years that was finally resolved when the latter became the head of the yeshiva.

A similar gemara (Mesechta Ketubot 42b) mentions a problem that both Rabbah and Rabbi Yosef struggled with for twenty-two years until the latter resolved it upon assuming leadership. (In his commentary, Rabbi Yaakov Emden suggests that in our gemara as well the text should read as it does in Ketubot.)

Rashi in Ketubot explains that the 22-year period was the time when Rabbi Yosef stood at the helm of the yeshiva, and the resolution came when Rabbah succeeded him upon his death. While Rabbah was famed for his analytic power that earned him the title of a "mover of mountains", Rabbi Yosef was chosen before him because of his encyclopedic knowledge that earned him the title "Sinai".

In order to enable Rabbah to gain a reputation like his predecessor, Heaven helped him find the solution to the problem that had challenged both of them for 22 years.

  • Bava Kama 66b

What the Sages Say

"A one-day-old ox is called an ox and a one-day-old ram is called a ram."

  • The Sage Rava - Bava Kama 65b

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