Discussions for this daf
1. The Behavior of Rava

ronald gordon asked:

I am at loss to understand how an Amora of the stature of Rava can have attempted to deceive.

(a) The Gemorah uses the word 'matrid' which Rashi explains 'lomar lo yafe dantoni'.This does not seem to be an intolerable harrassment, too justify Raba deceiving her. In any case. as I say above, deceipt is not something we should associate with a luminary of the Gemorah.

(b) Also,what in fact was the 'onesh' he suffered. Did Raba have a ship, and did it sink?

(c) And how did 'soaking his clothes' kseem aa realistic way of invalidating the curse.

If you can help me here, I should be grateful

Ronald Gordon, u.k

The Kollel replies:

(a) As I understood it, Rava held that the woman had no right to the property in question. When she didn't want to leave him alone, he had his Talmid fool her into thinking that she won the court case, so that she should let him go. I don't see anything immoral about that; the Torah even advises to act in such a manner (Tehilim 18:27).

(b) From Berachos 56a (end of the Amud), it seems that the boat in which Rava was traveling indeed sank. Rava was saved miraculously.

(c) "Manei" can mean "utensils," not just clothes. If so, perhaps they dunked Rava's mixing bowl, also referred to as "Arba" (the same word that the woman used for "boat"), as we find in Pesachim 40b on top of the page. By dunking it, they wanted to be "Yotzei" the curse, so that it would no longer affect his "boat." We find a similar tactic used in Gitin 35a.

Best wishes,

Mordecai Kornfeld

Kollel Iyun Hadaf

Ronald Gordon responded:

Thank you for your prompt reply.

(a) I am not going to argue with the kollel being only a very part time superficial student of the daf yomi seder. However regarding Rava [Berachot 56a, it appears from my [presumably incorrect] reading of the daf, tha Bar Hedya left the boat ["ko salik" in the aramaic] dropped a book which Rava picked up; and I don't see mention of the boat sinking.

(b) Regarding Rava's treatment of the woman, you appear to say that she harrassed him unbearably; the posuk in Tehillim that you quote uses the word "ikesh", translated by Metzudas Tsion as "akum" in English "crooked"This hardly fits with the Rashi I quoted which appears to me be a complaint put in a reasanable way.

(c) However although I cannot agree with your views on this issue, which I regret seem to me to be and indefensible whiteswash of a very difficult gemorrah I will understand your non persuance of this discussion


Ronald Gordon

The Kollel replies:

(a) Bar Hedya refused to board the boat because he foresaw that the boat in which Rava traveled would sink (Rashi DH Amar). Presumably, it did.

(b) "Tarda" means literally "she pestered," or "hounded" him. Rashbam is explaining *how* or *why* she was pestering him. See Targum Unkelus, Shemos 2:17 and Devarim 1:44 for the definition of Tarad.

(c) Upon reconsidering your comments, it occurred to me that you have a point. We are told that a totally undeserved curse is totally ineffective. (Mishhlei 26:2, Makos 11a). If the woman's curse had an effect (as I claim it did), Rava must have acted at least somewhat inappropriately for a person on his level. He should have been more compassionate in the way he dealt with the woman - who may even have been an Almanah. (See Bava Metzia 85a, where the Gemara censures the great Rebbi Yehudah ha'Nasi in a similar vein.)

If so, I will follow in the ways of Rava himself and retract my original words if necessary (Bava Basra 130b), saying, as he so often did unabashedly, "What I have told you earlier was mistaken!" (Eruvin 104a, Bava Basra 127a, Zevachim 94b, Nidah 68a).

Thank you, and keep up the good work Ronald!

Mordecai Kornfeld

Kollel Iyun Hadaf