Bava Metzia 79 - 85
Getting Him Coming and Going
|The Rulings:||A man engaged to be married wishes to send some jewelry to his future wife as a gift but is not certain that it will be to her liking. He makes a deal with the jeweler that if the gift is accepted he will pay the jewelry's full value. If it is rejected he will pay him only a smaller sum for the benefit he derived from making a good impression with his offer of an expensive gift. Should he lose this jewelry through circumstances beyond his control while he is on the way to his future bride's home he is responsible for compensation because until the jewelry is rejected he is considered as if he had purchased it and owes the purchase price. If this accident happens after the gift has been rejected and is on the way back to the jeweler the buyer has no responsibility for compensation because he now has only the statue of a guardian who is absolved from payment in case of an unavoidable accident.||A man bought wine which he intended to sell for a profit in a particular locale. His deal with the seller was that if he succeeded in selling the wine there he would pay the full value; otherwise he would return it to the seller. He did not succeed in selling the wine and on the way back it was lost through an unavoidable accident. Rabbi Nachman ruled that he must pay for the wine.|
|The Problem:||The Sage Rava challenged Rabbi Nachman's ruling based on the first ruling which absolves a man from responsibility for an accident while the item is on the way back to the owner.|
|The Solution:||In the case of the wine the returning phase is considered a mere extension of the responsibility of the buyer while it is being taken to the locale for sale because he is prepared to sell that wine to any customer who presents himself until the very moment it reaches the seller.|
- Bava Metzia 81a
Where Torah Teaching Begins
Rabbi Chiya made sure that Torah would not be forgotten by Jews no matter where they were. If he heard of a town where there was no one to teach children Torah he would plant flax which he would fashion into nets to trap deer. The meat of the deer would go to feed poor orphans and their skins would provide the parchment for writing scrolls for each of the five Chumashim. He then would go to this teacherless town and teach five children from the five Chumash scrolls and orally teach six others the six orders of the Mishnah. He would then instruct each of these pupils to teach the others what he had been taught and promised to soon return and check on their progress.
The Maharsha explains that Rabbi Chiya succeeded in his dissemination of Torah because every single step, from the initial planting of the flax to the charitable utilization of the meat, was entirely dedicated to serving Hashem without any selfish motive, and was therefore blessed with success.
- Bava Metzia 85b