Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Bava Batra 58: Rabbi Bena'a, Inheritance, Partial Chazaka
As we learned in yesterday's daf, Torah scholars organize their desks carefully. Ignoramuses leave a food in the middle of their desks surrounded by dishes. Torah scholars sleep with their sandals or shoes under their beds. Ignoramuses sleep with a hodgepodge of items under their beds.
We learn a number of stories about Rabbi Bena'a. He was thought of as a wise rabbi but he was marking burial caves. He was said to have seen Eliezer, who explained that Sarah was holding Abraham in her arms while she examined his head. Rabbi Bena'a was permitted to enter, measure the cave, and leave again. Then he entered Adam's burial cave. He heard the Divine Voice telling him that he should not look at Adam, for Adam is "My image itself". He was permitted to enter and measure the inner and outer caves. He explained the need to measure differently if the caves were atop each other and if the caves were adjacent to each other.
Rabbi Bena'a describes Adam's two heels as two suns. The Gemara teaches that all people are like monkeys compared with the beauty of Sarah. Same goes for Sarah compared with the beauty of Eve, Eve compared with the beauty of Adam, and Adam compared with the beauty of the Divine Presence. The beauty of a number of rabbis are then compared: Rav Kahana to Rav, Rav to Rabbi Abbahu, Rabbi Abbahu to Jacob, Jacob to Adam.
The Gemara returns to our discussion about inheritance. A number of case examples elucidate halachot. When a father says that he is leaving a barrel of earth to one son, a barrel of bones to another, and a barrel of wads of wool to another, Rabbi Bena'a interprets this as land, livestock and blankets. A man overheard his wife telling her daughter to be more subtle about her sexual transgressions. The wife says that only one son of her ten children is the son of her husband and that no one knew because of her secrecy. The father then leaves all of his property to that one son.
Some people did not like Rabbi Bena'a's recommendations and he was jailed by the king. Rabbi Bena'a's wife told the guards a bizarre story about drinking from a skinned and emptied servant's daughter. Rabbi Bena'a is permitted to leave when he uses his wisdom to interpret his wife's words.
Rabbi Bena'a describes writing on the king's gate about judges. Judges should not be held to judgement themselves. He speaks of life and death, blood, wine and healing.
A new Mishna tells us that chazaka is restricted when it comes to a spout pouring water over another's field, Egyptian (portable) ladders versus Tyrian (large, permanent) ladders, and Egyptian (too small to put one's head through) windows versus Tyrian windows.
The Gemara begins by focusing on the spouts. The rabbis determine that a spout can be moved but only on the same side of the building. Chazaka does not entitle one to move the spout the the other side of the building.