For the week ending 23 January 2010 / 7 Shevat 5770

Bava Batra 156 - 162

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When a minor must be physically examined to determine whether he is an adult
  • Rabbi Elazar's dissenting view re transaction of a dying man
  • Three mysteries of who died first when the house caved in
  • The paradox of a son confiscating property sold by his father
  • A son-in-law's inability to certify his father-in-law's signature
  • A son's inability to pass on to his half-brothers an inheritance from his mother when he is no longer alive
  • The two kinds of documents
  • The number of witnesses in a "tied document"
  • How to avoid forgery of a document
  • What constitutes adequate signature of a witness
  • The "bottom line" of a document

The Air of Eretz Yisrael

  • Bava Batra 158b
"I must conclude that the air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise."

This was the explanation given by Rabbi Zeira for changing the halachic position he had maintained in Babylon when he reached Eretz Yisrael. That air caused him to reexamine his previous position and arrive at the truth.

What is there about the air of Eretz Yisrael that makes one wise?

Maharsha states that when G-d instructed Moshe to ascend the mountain and gaze upon the Promised Land (Devarim 32:49), that gaze instilled in the air of Eretz Yisrael the power to increase wisdom.

In his commentary on Chumash Rabbi Ovadia Seforno writes that since the waters of the Great Deluge did not reach Eretz Yisrael, its air was not affected as were other lands.

The spiritual impact of Eretz Yisrael on everyone received testimony from Rudolph, crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who reported that when he reached the gates of Jerusalem he was overcome by a powerful superhuman feeling of holiness.

What the Sages Say

"The air of Eretz Yisrael makes one wise."
  • Rabbi Zeira - Bava Batra 158b

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