More Discussions for this daf
1. Bribery and the sharecropper 2. Admon and Chanan 3. Chanan ha'Mitzri
4. Chozros Chalilah 5. Bnei Kohanim Gedolim

Jeff Ram asked:

Dear Rabbi Kornfeld,

Near the bottom of of daf 105b, we find a story of Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi. He had a sharecropper bring a basket of fruit on Thursday (instead of the usual Friday), presumably as his regular "sharecropping fee". R Yishmael disqualified himself from judging the sharecroppers case and he also refused the basket of fruit.

Once he disqualified himself as a dayan, why did he not accept the basket of fruit which was due him as a fee from his sharecropper.

If R Yismael couldn't have been afraid that people (or the sharecropper) would think that he accepted the basket as a bribe since before R Yishmael accepted the basket, he asked "why are you bringing this today?" - and once R Yishmael realized that his sharecropper would appear in the Beis Din that day, he disqualified himself immediately as a judge. So therefore, he couldn't possibly be influenced, the sharecropper couldn't think that this was a bribe and others wouldn't think that R Yishmael accepted a bribe in this case because he wasn't the judge.


Jeff Ram

The Kollel replies:

Rebbi Yishmael did not refuse to receive the payment of the sharecropper altogether. He just refused to take it that day (Thursday), since it was usually paid the following day (Friday). Presumably a profit might be earned by having the fruits the extra day (e.g. if a caravan of hungry travelers passes, and they are willing to pay more than market price for immediate delivery of the fruit).

The reason he did not accept it was probably because it was offered as Shochad. Even though he turned down the case, he intended to sit by and hear it played out (which, the Gemara relates, he did). He did not want to have his thought processes influenced by Shochad, even if he was not the judge. (Even after his refusal, they were somewhat influenced though.) Alternatively, he considered it not to have been offered "b'Lev Shalem," since the sharecropper only offered it (the day early) in order to gain Rebbi Yishmael's favor for the courtcase, which Rebbi Yishmael now refused to judge.