For the week ending 17 September 2016 / 14 Elul 5776

Bava Kama 107 - 113

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The oath required for total or partial denial of monetary claim in regard to a loan or object for safekeeping
  • The three oaths required of a guardian denying responsibility for failure to return item in his charge
  • When the double payment of a thief goes to the guardian
  • Penalty for a guardian swearing falsely that the item in his safekeeping was lost or stolen
  • Making payment for swearing falsely in a case when the victim died
  • When the victim is a convert with no heirs
  • The right of the kohen to perform the service of his sacrifice at any time
  • Defining the three elements of atonement for swearing falsely in denying a monetary claim
  • The gifts awarded by the Torah to kohanim
  • Responsibility of heirs to compensate victim of their father's theft
  • When testimony is accepted without the presence of the litigant
  • How to relate to monies illegally acquired by tax collectors
  • Relating to property of a non-Jew

Partial Payment

  • Bava Kama 112a

When is there an obligation to pay only partially for damages caused by eating what belongs to someone else?

The Sage Rava deals with the case of a man who borrowed an animal and passed away before returning it. His heirs, mistakenly assuming that the animal was owned by their father, slaughtered it and consumed its meat. His ruling is that they must pay the animal's owner as much as they would have paid for meat that they could have acquired at a bargain price (two-thirds of the regular market price as stated in Bava Batra 146b).

The heirs are exempt from paying the full value of the meat they consumed because the rule regarding the responsibility of man for damage caused even unintentionally does not apply to a case such as this in which the perpetrators were entirely blameless. (See Tosefot on Bava Kama 27b) Since they benefited, however, from eating this meat, they are obligated to pay as much as they would have spent on the luxury of meat at a bargain price. A similar ruling is found in Bava Kama 20a in regard to an animal consuming crops in a public area. Although the owner is not liable for the damage caused by his animal in such an area he is obligated to pay the amount he would have spent on feeding his animal barley at a bargain price.

Rashi notes that the skin of the borrowed animal that is still around must be returned intact to the animal's owner.

What the Sages Say

"It is better to live together with another than to live alone."

  • Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish - Bava Kama 111a

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