Monday, 20 March 2017

Bava Batra 57: Chazaka, fields, courtyards, laundry, and Torah Scholars' Clothes/Tables

Our daf begins with a case that helps the rabbis understand the different  considerations at hands when brothers, rather than others, are testifying.

We are introduced to a new Mishna.  It tells us that there are some uses of property that have the means to establish chazaka and some that do not.  
It does not establish chazaka if one:

  • stands an animal in a courtyard, 
  • place an oven, a millstone, or stove there, or
  • raises chicken in a courtyard, or places fertilizer in a courtyard
But it does establish chazaka if one:
  • constructs a permanent partition ten handbreadths high for his animal,
  • constructs a partition for his stove, oven, or millstone,
  • brings the chickens into his home, or
  • constructs an area for fertilizer that it three handbreadths high or deep
The Gemara's first question: why do we learn about chazaka through what is required regarding keeping an animal?  Ulla suggests that the laws that apply to converts who have no heirs also apply to land that is ownerless.  Rav Sheshet and others counter this assertion.  What about plowing or other activities that would establish chazaka?  What about partners who are not particular about constructing boundaries?  The rabbis discuss the practice of lenient rulings when it comes to monetary matters and more stringent rulings when considering ritual questions.

The rabbis then question the use of fields and courtyards.  Their example is very informative.  They suggest that Jewish women must be permitted to do laundry within a shared courtyard, for Jewish women will not be degraded by doing laundry in the fields.  Further, they speak about halachot based on men who might stare at women with their feet in the water while they do their laundry.  I hope that we have the opportunity to learn more about the task of laundering clothing in ancient Israel.

Finally, the rabbis discuss the manner in which a Torah scholar should be adorned and seated.  His garments should cover his flesh. His garment should be long enough so that a handbreadth of another garment should be visible beneath it.  The table of a Torah scholar is debated: which two thirds of the table shall be covered with a cloth?  Which part of the table should be uncovered, leaving place for dishes and vegetables, There is a ring on the table, used to hang it when not in use.  One must be careful not to use the table when a child or assistant is present because s/he might overturn or bump into the table.  Or perhaps we are speaking about day and night.  In this case, the ring is visible during the day and it will not prove to be a hindrance.  

No comments:

Post a Comment