Monday, 19 September 2016

Bava Kamma 111: Robbery to Feed One's Children

Our daf shares two distinct sections.  The first ends Perek IV.  The second, amud (b), introduces Perek X.  Perek IV focused on stolen items, false oaths, and the return of stolen property.  Perek X begins with a focus on the motive of the robber and his family circumstances.

Amud (a) walks us through a robber returning stolen property to a priest.  How should this be managed?  What if the robber approaches the 'wrong' priest on watch?  How is the robber to manage this return?  How is the priest to deal with this robber and his offering/s?  One of the principles that we learn is that the money must be offered before the guilt offering is offered.  The money is the principle value of the stolen item plus the one-fifth payment.

Amud (b) begins with a Mishna: When a person robs food and feeds it to his children,or when a person robs something and leaves it to his children and then dies, the children are exempt from payment to the victim after their father's death.  If the stolen item could serve as a legal guarantee of a loan, the children are liable to pay after their father's death.

The rabbis consider the timing of this crime.  Have the victims already despaired the loss of their stolen item?  What is the domain of an heir in comparison with the domain of a purchaser?  The stolen object must exist for it to be returned to the victim, and if it has been consumed it no longer exists. The rabbis wonder about the obligations of children who have lost their father.  If the item is a cow used to plow, can it be used after the father's death?  And what about the honour of their father?

Our new Perek promises to share new and interesting legal conundrums regarding restitution.

No comments:

Post a Comment