BAVA BASRA 157 - Dedicated by Uri and Aviva Sondhelm in memory of their parents; Avraham ben Menachem Mendel ha'Levi, Gella bas Ze'ev, and Sarah bas Tzvi.


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the Halachah that a person who loaned money with a Shtar may collect the borrower's field as repayment for the debt, since he has a lien on the borrower's properties until the loan is paid back. Shmuel questions whether a borrower may stipulate in the Shtar that the lender will obtain a lien not only on the fields he presently owns but even on fields that he will acquire in the future. The Gemara states that according to Rebbi Meir, who maintains that a person can acquire a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam," a borrower certainly may create a lien on fields he will own in the future. Shmuel's question is only according to the Chachamim who disagree with Rebbi Meir.

What is the basis for Shmuel's question? The Chachamim maintain that a person cannot acquire a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam." Why should Shmuel entertain the possibility that, according to the Chachamim, a person can create a lien on property that he does not yet own?


(a) The RASHBAM (DH Ela) explains that Shmuel's question is whether there is a difference between the creation of a lien and the acquisition of a field. The Rashbam adds the words, "and the reason is as I have explained." It is not clear to which previous explanation the Rashbam refers. The RASHASH suggests that the Rashbam refers to the fact that land that the borrower will buy in the future is not absolutely a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam," since the land itself already exists; it just has not yet come into the possession of the borrower. Shmuel's question, therefore, is whether land that the borrower has not acquired yet (and does not presently plan on acquiring), but which does exist, has the status of a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam."

The Rashash rejects this explanation based on the Gemara earlier (141b). The Gemara there says that according to Rebbi Meir, a person may perform a transaction on something that exists but is not yet in his possession. The Gemara implies, however, that this is logical according to the opinion of Rebbi Meir, but not according to the Chachamim. The Rashbam himself (141b, DH Eimur) illustrates this with an example. According to Rebbi Meir, a person may give money of Kidushin to a Nochris and stipulate that she will be Mekudeshes to him after she converts. Since she already exists (but is merely not yet Jewish), she is not considered a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam." Why, then, does the Rashbam here suggest that the Rabanan agree to such a Halachah? The Rashash suggests that the two cases may be different, but he does not explain how they differ from each other.

(b) The Rashbam gives a second explanation for Shmuel's question. He explains that although the Rabanan maintain that a person cannot buy or sell a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam," perhaps they rule leniently with regard to loans and allow a borrower to create a lien on a "Davar she'Lo Ba l'Olam," in order to make it easier for borrowers to obtain the money they need from lenders. (Y. MONTROSE)



OPINIONS: The Gemara says that Rav Ashi ruled one way in his "Mahadura Kama," and he ruled another way in his "Mahadura Basra." What is the definition of these terms?

(a) RABEINU GERSHOM explains that the "Mahadura Kama" is the way Rav Ashi learned the subject when he was younger. The "Mahadura Basra" is the way he learned the subject when he was older.

(b) The RASHBAM (DH Mahadura Basra) quotes RAV HAI GA'ON who explains simply that the "Mahadura Kama" refers to the first time Rav Ashi learned the subject, and the "Mahadura Basra" refers to the second time he learned the subject.

(c) The Rashbam quotes RABEINU CHANANEL who explains that Rav Ashi taught for sixty years in the Yeshiva. (Although the Rashbam says that he "lived" for sixty years, the YA'AVETZ and RASHASH point out that this is clearly not what the Rashbam means.) Rav Ashi always reviewed his learning during the months of the "Kalah," Nisan and Tishrei. After thirty years, he finished all of his learning. He then reviewed again and finished his learning after another thirty years (after which he apparently passed away). The "Mahadura Kama" was the way he learned and taught the subject during the first thirty years, and the "Mahadura Basra" was the way he learned and taught it during the last thirty years.

A similar explanation is given by RAV SHERIRA GA'ON (#104). He says explicitly that this was not Rav Ashi's personal learning. There was a decree of the Rabanan at the time to learn approximately two Masechtos a year and to finish Shas every thirty years. The "Mahadura Kama" refers to the first thirty years in which Rav Ashi undertook this program, and the "Mahadura Basra" refers to the last thirty years. (Y. MONTROSE)