More Discussions for this daf
1. Ma'aseh she'Hayah 2. Wife Selling Kesuvah 3. The brothers can avoid ever paying Mezonos

Bernard Kahan asked:

Thank you very much for putting my chart on your page a lot of people in my local Kehilloh saw it including some Magidei Shiurim and said it was useful B.H.

My question relates to the Gemoro I am currently learning which is Kesuvos 53a.

On the bottom of 52b and continuing to 53b the Gemoro brings a "Maaseh Shehoyoh" with Rav Popa to bring out a Nekudah about "Kesuvas Bnin Dichrin" but evethough it was a Maaseh Shehoyoh and Mah Dehava Hava I do have a number of difficulties in how the story seems to unfold I wonder if you could be Masbir it to me based on the following Heoros.

a) Why did Rav Popa assume that Yehuda Bar Meraimar did not want to follow him because of this Maamar of Shmuel to Rav Yehuda starting with "Shinenoh Vechu..." just Poshut there was a private meeting between 2 people "Veygen Gelt" nobody likes to have 3rd parties around so obviously Yehuda Bar Merimar was not going to intrude while negotiations were taking place between Rav Popa and Abba Surah it is a private business transaction not a public debate!!!so obviously he did not want to accompany Rav Popa.

b) Why "Takker" when Yehuda bar Meraimar saw that Abba Surah was misinterpreting his silence did he not jump in and correct his assumtion and tell him "no i am not at all angry with you" instead of letting Abba Surah increase his money to such a crazy amount!

c) How could he let him at all increase his money we have learnt earlier 2 Maamorim 1) on 52b "Vead Kamma Abaye VeRovo Omar Tarvayhu Ad Leissur" 2) on 50a "Takonos Usha Omar Rav Iloiy Hamevazvez al Yevazvez Yoser MiChomesh".So again he should have jumped in and stopped him.

d) It is terrible that as a result of non communication such a Maaseh should have allowed to happen surely that is a Mussar for us all to know when to be "Ishtik" and when to say something and surely Baalei Mussar would learn from this Gemoro that it is something we have to be aware of.Non communication leads to many problems!!

e) You could say on this last point based on the Gemoro 52b before the Mishnah with the Maaseh of Rav Yochonon "Umibsorchoh Loy Tisalem " Odom Choshuv Shaani whether Yehuda Bar Meraimar who was for sure an Odom Choshuv but not a Korov of either of the parties just should have not got involved because we can see EVEN his Shtiko led to these problems.

I am really sorry but this Shtikel with this Maaseh really bothers me and I cannot understand the Cheshboinos and Halochos involved it creates many problems for me!!!

However further on in the Perek on 53a/53b there is another Maaseh that starts Ki Oso Rovin ie from Eretz Yisroel to Bovel he told Abaye a Psak from Raish Lokish but Abaye's reply is so "Sharf" that it has almost frightened me. I mean there is no indication that Rovin wanted to argue with him he was just pointing out a Moreh Horoah from Raish Lokish and I just cannot see the justification for his strong worded reply almost like a Mussar Drosho how and why should Rovin know that Rav Hoshiah had already learnt this Halocho.

Now I dont want to sound "Ballabatish" but with"Masseh Shehoyohs" like the last question I asked and this one I feel the Gemoro wants to illustrate something a bit more with these stories and if I dont fully grasp them I could end up learning "falsher" Pshat Chas Vesholom

Kol Tuv,

Boruch Kahan

The Kollel replies:

Boruch - it's good to hear from you!

(a) The Shitah Mekubetzes (top 53a) writes in the name of Rashi (first edition) that the reason that Yehudah bar Ameimar apppeared in front of Rav Papa (bottom 52b) was in order to honor Rav Papa. Therefore when Rav Papa asked Yehudah to accompany him to speak to Aba Sura'ah but Yehudah refused, Rav Papa understood that there must be some Halachic reason for this, and not merely good manners, because since the whole reason Yehudah appeared on the scene was out of respect for Rav Papa, it would not seem logical that he should go against Rav Papa's request without a good reason. This can possibly be understood better on the basis of the Kehilas Yaakov Kesuvos #46 DH v'Nir'eh who writes that there is not actually a Rabbinical prohibition to pass the inheritance from the males to the females. (He learns this from what Shmuel said to Rav Yehudah, "Do not be present when inheritance is taken away from the rightful heirs" but did not actually say "It is forbbiden to take away inheritance"). Instead, the Kehilos Yaakov writes that it is only a "Midas Chasidus" - a pious act - not to be present when inheritance is passed over from the rightful inheritor to someone else. (I found that the Kehilos Yaakov was Mechaven to the Meiri that this is only a Midas Chasidus).

Rav Papa understood, therefore, that Yehudah was trying to be Machmir not to be present at such an event, even though it was really permitted.

(b) On the basis of the above we may also be able to understand why Yehudah did not tell Aba Sura'ah not to give so much. We must not forgot that Yehudah was an invited guest of Rav Papa. Since Rav Papa clearly wanted Aba Sura'ah to give a larger sum, Yehudah felt that he could not go against Rav Papa once he had actually decided to accompany him out of respect for Rav Papa. He believed that Rav Papa must be right even though he did not quite see why.

(c) (1) Your question is asked by the Ayeles Ahavim on Kesuvos, by the Maharil Tzints. He answers that when the Gemara before states that the maximum is one tenth this is referring to what a person can be forced to give but if a person wants to give more that is fine. (I saw Ayeles Ahavim cited by Rav Elyashiv Shlita in his Collection of Responsa part 1 end of chapter 136. There in a Teshuvah to Rav Menashe Klein Shlita, the Ungvar Rebbe, about adopting children he cites the Ayeles Ahavim as a source that if childless couples who do not have children are prepared to give everything in order to receive a child for adoption, this is permitted because they are doing so for their own benefit.)

(2) Again, with the above Sevara, we can answer this question too. The Takanah of Usha not to donate more than 20% to charity only applies when one gives to others but Aba Sura'ah was giving to his own daughter and this is considered that he was doing so for his own personal benefit and is therefore permitted.

In my opinion Rav Papa saw that deep down Aba Sura'ah was happy in committing himself in this way for his own daughter. If he would not have been happy with this, the mere presence of Yehudah would not have been sufficient to force him, but he simply needed the encouragement and psychological pressure to push himself into helping his daughter in a way that he really was capable of doing.

(e) Yehudah bar Meraimar does seem to have been a distinguished person, but on the other hand it appears that he did not possess Semichah, even though we wrote above that he wanted to do a pious act. In Torah scholarship however Rav Papa was clearly the greatest, and the real obligation in the story was to honor Rav Papa.


Dovid Bloom

The Kollel adds:

Answer to question concerning the Gemara bottom 53a/53b-

(1) This is a difficult question and I daven that I should give the correct explanation of this Maaseh in the Gemara and not be misunderstood. I think I should say one or two words of introduction and stress that when we sometimes read in the Gemara very sharp accounts about passionate discussions between the Chachomim, this is not because there was any personal bad feelings between them, Chas v'Sholom, but rather because the most important thing in their lives was to reach the truth of Torah and to be able to do this one has to invest one's whole soul into the strive for perfection. For the thing that is most precious to a person, he will speak very emotionally.

(2) I now want to try and connect the Gemara at bottom 53a with a Gemara at the end of the Masechte - on daf 111a. Rav Yehuda states there in the name of Shmuel that it is forbidden to leave Babylonia and live in other countries. Rashi DH Kach writes that this is because in Bovel there are Yeshivos which diseminate Torah constantly. One sees from the Gemara that one is not allowed to leave the Torah, and consequently one is not allowed to leave a place of Torah either.

[ A more contemporary example of this is what the Chazon Ish wrote that before the Chofetz Chaim passed away in 1933 it was forbidden to leave Poland - because the Chofetz Chaim's presence there meant that this was the world centre of Torah - in the same way that it was forbidden to leave Bovel in the time of the Amoraim]

(3) The Gemara then relates that a Torah student went from Pombedita, which was a great Torah centre, to Astonia, which was evidently not a place of scholarship. He died. Abaye commented that if this student would have wanted to he could have lived. (On an identical comment of the Gemara in Chagigah 5a Rashi there DH Ee explains that if he would have wanted to go on a good way he would have lived.) One sees from this Gemara that Abaye believed that Bovel was the world's Torah centre and therefore one might be punished for abandoning it.

(4) Now, back to the Gemara on 53a. Ravin arrived from Eretz Yisroel and said a Halacha in the name of Reish Lakish. To this Abaye reacted that Ravin should throw his favours on the thorns because Rav Hoshiya has already explained his Halacha in Bovel. Rashi 53b DH Shekila explains that Abaye said to Ravin that if you think we should be grateful to you are mistaken.

I think we can now see that Abaye was re-stating his opinion that Bovel was the world's leading Torah country, even more than Eretz Yisroel. He was pointing out that we do not always require the Torah of E. Yisroel because we already know in Bovel what they know there. No doubt, at earlier periods of history, in E. Yisroel there was a higher level of learning than in Bovel but Abaye maintained that in his times Bavel was stronger in Torah learning than E. Israel

[See also Menachos 100a and Rashi DH u'Mitoch which shows us that there was competition between the Chachomim of E. Yisroel and those of Bavel and see also Beitzah 16a "Those stupid Bavliim....."]

(5) One should not think that sharp competition is not the way of Torah study because the Gemara states (Bava Basra 21a) that jealousy amogst the students gives everyone an incentive to reach higher levels of wisdom( "Kinas Sofrim Tarbeh Chochmo"). Peer pressure is an important factor in Torah success.

It is also worth looking at the end of Sefer Chofetz Chaim where he cites Teshuvos Chavos Yoir 152 who asks that since we know that the words of the wise are heard when spoken softly how is it that we sometimes find such bemeaning and quarellsome exchanges in Shas?. He cites several examples of this but I am only going to mention one, namely from Yevamos 9a where Rebbe said to Levi "It seems to me that you do not possess a brain in your head!". Chavos Yoir explains that Levi was Rebbe's pupil and it is permitted for the teacher to reproach his Talmid with harsh words in order to encourage him to learn more deeply and avoid making mistakes in his learning.

I suggest that a similar tactic occurred on Kesubos 53 - Abaye was trying to show Ravin that his chidush was not so great as he thought in order to encourage Ravin to try even harder in learning Torah.

The main thing I am trying to say is that the purpose of the Amoarim with these very sharf comments was to improve the level of Torah learning!

(c) Here is a different answer to question (c) above:- how could Abba Suraah give all of his belongings to his daughter - the Gemara 52b states that one gives only up to 10% of one's property to one's daughter?

The answer is that it may be that if one gives over 10% out of honour for a Talmid Chochom (in this case Yehudah Meraimar) it is permitted to give more than 10%.

[This can be compared to the Gemara above 50a which states that one should not give more than 20% to charity. However Shitah Mekubetzes there DH Hamebazbez writes that this only applies if one gives the money to paupers, but if one gives the money to promote the study of Torah, one may give over 20% of one's property, as we find in the Midrash that Rabbi Akiva did so. Shitah Mekubetzes writes that this is hinted at in Rashi there DH Hamebazbez who writes that one should not give more than 20% to paupers, which suggests that one may give over 20% to support Torah learning. In a similar way one can argue that one may give over 10% to one's daughter out of honour for a Talmid Chochom]

I pointed out previously that Yehudah bar Meraimar does not appear to have received Semicha. However I have since noticed that below Kesubos 80b the Gemara refers to him as Yehudah Mar bar Meraimar, and the extra title "Mar" would suggest that he was a distinguished Talmid Chochom. I also found in Berachos 45b that the Gemara relates that Yehudah bar Meraimar, Mar bar Rav Ashi and Rav Acha from Difti ate bread together. The Gemara states that none of them was more distingished in wisdom than the others, in which case the most distinguished would have said the Zimun. This suggests that Yehudah bar Meraimar was equal in Torah greatness to Mar bar Rav Ashi and Rav Acha who themselves wer the Gedolei HaDor so Yehuda bar Meraimar must himself have been one of the Gedolei Hador in Torah. Therefore Abba Suraah wished to pay respect to Yehuda, and that is why he gave more than 10% to his daughter.

(b) One of the Gedolim answered your question about why Yehudah did not say something to Abba Suraah. He answered simply that Yehudah thought that Abba Suraah would understand on his own that he should not give so much. According to this answer your question comes back:- how could he allow such a bad mistake to happen merely because of an understanding?

However I still think that the fact that Abba Suraah was prepared to give so much in honour of a Talmid Chachom shows that he was not really so upset deep down about what happened. In addition, the fact that Yehudah told Abba not to retract once he had written over the property shows that what he had done was not forbidden at any rate bedieved. After all, he was giving his belongings to his own family.


Dovid Bloom

The Kollel adds:

Here are new answers to question (c)(2) and to the question on bottom 53a-

(A) (c)(2) If there is a special need it is permitted to give more than one fifth of one's money away. Even more so is it permitted to give more in order to appease a Talmid Chochom which is what Abba Suraah thought he was doing when he believed that Yehudah bar Meraimar was annoyed that he was not giving more.

[A source for the above answer can be found in Shitah Mekubetzes Kesubos 50a DH Hamebazbez which cites the Midrash that Rabbi Akiva gave away more than 20% and explains that he gave it to support Torah study. Similarly one is allowed to give over 20% for the needs of a Torah scholar].

(B) At the bottom of 53a Abaye was not in fact Makpid on Ravin for saying over his Dvar Torah. Rather "Take your favours and throw them on the thorns" is merely an expression. This phrase is mentioned several times in Shas [see Shabbos 63b, Beitza 29b, Bava Kama 83a, Bava Metzia 63b] and since it is a common saying Abaye used it to indicate that Ravin had not said anything new but he held nothing against him for saying his Halacho.


Dovid Bloom