TalmuDigest

For the week ending 21 March 2009 / 25 Adar I 5769

Bava Kama 86 - 92

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Payment for reversible physical damage
  • Embarrassing a slave, a blind person, a minor, a naked person or someone sleeping
  • Status of the blind regarding obligations and culpability
  • Physical damage done to a minor or a slave
  • Those who are ineligible as witnesses
  • Selling or giving property of husband or father
  • The decree of the Sanhedrin whose seat was in Usha
  • Selling a promissory note or ketuba
  • Various forms of embarrassment and how much must be paid
  • Can a witness also serve as a judge
  • When evaluation of weapon must be made to determine culpability of damager
  • Payment for embarrassment relative to status of victim and offender
  • Does a person have a right to inflict harm on himself
  • Cutting down a fruit-bearing tree
  • The need to ask forgiveness of victim in addition to paying him
  • Biblical sources for folk wisdom

The Anonymous Brothers

When Yosef introduced five of his brothers to the Egyptian king he selected those whose appearance made an impression of physical frailty so that Pharaoh would not be tempted to recruit any of his brothers as warriors.

This is no mention in the Torah who those five brothers were. While there is a midrash that they were Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yissachar and Binyamin – the ones whose names were not mentioned twice by Moshe when he blessed all of the tribes before his death – our gemara states that they were Gad, Naftali, Dan, Zevulun and Asher – the ones whose names were repeated by Moshe in order to endow them with strength.

The question arises as to why the names of these weaker brothers are not explicitly mentioned in the Torah.

Maharsha suggests that the deletion of their names was intended as a hint to their lack of the prowess of the other brothers.

It may be added that they were compensated for this omission of their names by having Moshe mention them twice.

What the Sages Say

"One may not commit suicide for the Torah states (Bereishet 9:5) 'But I shall demand the blood of your lives' which means that one who sheds his own blood will be held responsible."

  • Rabbi Elazar - Bava Kama 91b

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