The Weekly Daf

For the week ending 4 July 2009 / 11 Tammuz 5769

Bava Metzia 72 - 78

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Getting Him Coming and Going

When Even Zuz Makes a Difference

The Sage Rava stated the three following rulings:
The Rulings: 1. If someone sells an item and then presses the buyer for full payment he may cancel the sale if such payment is not immediately forthcoming. 2. If someone sells a donkey to another and receives the entire payment except for one zuz, which he is pressing the buyer to immediately pay him, he may cancel the sale even because of this small amount. 3. If someone sells an item and receives the entire payment except for one zuz, which he is pressing the buyer to immediately pay him, he may not cancel the sale because of the small amount.
The Problem: The basis for Rava's first ruling is the assumption that a man who presses for payment made the sale out of a desperate need for cash and the sale was conditional on receiving this cash upon demand. (Whereas the failure to pay immediately does not affect the finality of a sale when the seller does not press for immediate payment since it is assumed that he consented to the buyer's incurring a debt to him.)

But how do we resolve the apparent conflict between the last two rulings of Rava regarding the failure to pay the remaining zuz upon demand?

The Solution: Ruling Two relates to a regular sale when the seller's insistence on immediate payment is interpreted as an expression of the desperate need for cash which forced him to make the sale. It matters not that only a zuz is involved because "one zuz means as much to him as many zuzim".

Ruling Three, however, applies to the sale of a field in poor condition which the seller is anxious to get rid of. Here the pressing for payment is not seen as a reflection on his desperate need for cash which could invalidate the sale but only as a precaution on the part of the seller to collect his money before the buyer realizes the poor purchase he made and tries to back out of the deal.

  • Bava Metzia 77b

The Prophet on Profit

Those who lend money to other Jews on interest end up losing more than they profit. (As the Talmud states on 71a that the usurer's holdings eventually crumble with no hope for recovery - Rashi.) Furthermore, they cast aspersions on the wisdom of Moshe Rabbeinu and the truth of the Torah for their behavior seems to say "Had Moshe Rabbeinu realized how much profit there is in usury he would not have written a prohibition against it". - Rabbi Shimon.

  • Bava Metzia 75b

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