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Reading the Rabbinic Mind: Bava Kama

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Reading the Rabbinic Mind: Bava Kama


Tuesday, Thursday 6:00AM
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Course Description

We will be learning Masechet Bava Kama this semester, beginning with the eighth chapter.  We will cover the discussions of the gemara itself, as well as the comments of Rashi and Tosafot.
We will emphasize a methodological approach to studying gemara, aimed at equipping the student with the tools needed to learn gemara on one’s own.

About Rabbi Yitzhak Zuriel
Rabbi Yitzhak Zuriel has been enjoying guiding students in how to learn and understand Talmud at WebYeshiva.org since its founding. He began his teaching career as a teacher and educational director at Michlelet Bruria in the 1980s. For over 20 years, he has been working as a software engineer at the company NDS (now Cisco) in Jerusalem, and was an editor and contributor to NDS's Torah journal, Chiddushei Torah@NDS, that was published annually from 1996-2014 . He and his wife reside in Ma'ale Adumim and are parents to five children and 13 grandchildren.


Class Resources & Information

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PREVIOUS CLASSESCLASS DESCRIPTIONHANDOUTSARCHIVES
October 24, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Assault Damages: Is it just a matter of money?

To all new and returning students: Welcome to our gemara class!

I am excited to be starting again our class in this fall/winter semester of 5778 and I am looking forward to learning the gemara together with all of you. Contrary to what was previously indicated, we will not be studying tractate Bava Metzia, rather we are going to be learning tractate Bava Kama. We are going to start with the 8th chapter, the chapter named HaHovel, which is about damages physically inflicted by one person on another and the various obligations engendered by such an act.

As in the past,  our focus will be primarily on getting a clear and correct understanding of the gemara text itself,  and secondarily on understanding the explanations and additional perspectives offered by the commentators on the gemara page-- Rashi and Tosafot.

I know that a number of students like to follow the shiur from the recorded archive. I would like to encourage everyone to consider joining us for the live classes, and thus be able to contribute your thoughts and questions to the real-time discussion.

If you have the time, I have attached here a selection from the Rambam that presents some of the topics that we will be studying in the mishna and gemara.

Looking forward to seeing all of you in class!

Yitzhak Zuriel

 
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October 26, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 83b: Mishna: The Five Payments for Bodily Injury Inflicted by a Person on Another
In the previous shiur, we introduced the subject of injury caused by one person to another by assault, and studied the Rambam's statements indicating that it is not only a matter of monetary compensation but that the injuring party also must ask the injured party for forgiveness. Then we read and discussed some of the verses in the Torah that are relevant to the subject, in the book of Shemot. At the end of the shiur, we read the first part of the mishna and pointed out the difference between the plain sense of the verses in the Torah and the actual halacha, which specifies monetary compensation in five different areas.
 
In this shiur, we will learn the mishna in depth and also study the comments of Rashi. Time allowing, we will start the gemara on the mishna. You are welcome to prepare by reading the mishna (Bava Kama 8:1, also on Daf 83b) before the class, but this is not required.
 
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October 31, 2017 5:30AM - 6:30AM
Daf 83b: Mishna: Evaluation of payments for unemployment and embarrassment; Gemara: What Happened to 'ayin tahat 'ayin ?
***NOTE: This week, for the one week only, we have a timing issue because Israel is moving to winter time (Israel Standard Time) on Motzei Shabbat, and in the United States the change from daylight savings time to standard time will take place only the following weekend. I have decided to adopt Rabbi Brovender's solution and to offer a compromise on the time with all of you. So for this week, i.e. Tuesday October 31 (this shiur) and Thursday Nov. 2, the class will be held from 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM Israel time, which for students in the United States is one-half hour later than usual. I hope this minimizes the inconvenience caused to everyone, and look forward to seeing you in class.
 
 
In the previous shiur, we learned in depth the mishna on the first three of the five payments with which one who physically assaults another is obligated, and we read and discussed the comments of Rashi on this.  Please review this material; if you havea any questions I will be happy to discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will finish the last two segments of the mishna in depth and study the Rashi comments. Then we will move on to reading the first sugya in the gemara on this mishna.
 
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November 2, 2017 5:30AM - 6:30AM
Daf 83b: Gemara: What Happened to 'ayin tahat 'ayin ? (II)
NOTE: This class will start at 5:30 and not as usual, this one last time before the time changes in the United States.
 
 
In the previous shiur, we finished the final two segments of the mishna and learned it with the comments of Rashi. We also looked at the source verses for the five payments, as presented by Rashi. Then we began the first sugya in the gemara: we read and translated down to the middle of the first wider line in the Vilna Shas printed gemara page. Then we went back up to the beginning and began to break the gemara down into its logical segments, but we only got as far as the end of the beraita and the beginning of the discussion on it, about halfway down the gemara page. Please review all of this, and as I suggested at the end of the shiur, try to parse on your own the remainder of the part of the sugya that we have translated, using the language cues that we have been emphasizing in previous semesters. We will begin the shiur with an opportunity for you to ask any questions about any of the above.
 
In this shiur, we will continue parsing the gemara (up to where we stopped translating) into its logical segments, and thereby understand the flow of the logic. Then we will start again from the beginning of the sugya and discuss each part in depth and study Rashi's comments on each.
 
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November 7, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 83b: What Happened to 'ayin tahat 'ayin ? (III)
In the previous shiur, we finished parsing the first part of the sugya, which is discussing the beraita brought in the gemara to explain why we do not learn the halacha about the punishment for assault and battery being payment instead of literally "an eye for an eye" etc. Then we began discussing the material in depth. We studied carefully the set of verses from the Torah in VaYikra 24 in which the beraita's first drash is learned, and then had a better understanding of the questions that the amoraim ask at the outset of the gemara. Please review this material. If there are any questions I am happy to answer them by email or at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will continue discussing the first part of the sugya in depth, piece by piece, and gain an appreciation of the magnificent manner in which the tanaim (and amoraim) link our halacha to the written Torah by the mechanism of drash.
 
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November 9, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 83b: What happened to 'ayin tahat 'ayin ? (IV)
In the previous shiur, we finished the first segment of the gemara's sugya, that explains the first drash brought in the beraita ("מכה  מכה"). We also read and discussed the explanations of Rashi on this section. Please review this material, especially look at the verses in VaYikra 24 (v. 17-20) and see if you can explain them now according to the drash of the beraita. In particular, how the meaning of "'ayin tahat 'ayin" -- understood by the midrash to mean "with payment" is derived. 
 
We will begin this shiur with a brief 2 to 3 minute review of how in the end those pesukim should be understood according to the first drash in the beraita, just as a review and to make sure that we are all on the "same page" before proceeding. Then we will go on to learn the the second part of the sugya in the gemara, which discussed the second drash in the beraita: why it is needed at all, and why then do we need the first drash..?  As usual, we will translate and break it down into its logical parts before discussing it in depth.
 
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November 14, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 83b: What Happened to 'Ayin Tahat 'Ayin? (V); The argument that it's impossible to do it literally
In the previous shiur, we read in its entirety the last part of the section of the sugya that discusses the 2nd drash in the beraita that is the focus of the sugya. We translated and broke the gemara down into its logical segments and discussed the logical flow. Then we went back to learn in depth the first lines of this discussion, which explained why the tana in the beraita felt it necessary to bring a second drasha, i.e. what is lacking in the first drash? We also read and discussed the comments and explanations of Rashi on this. Please review this section; if there are any questions we will discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will finish discussing in depth the remaining logical segments of this part of the gemara, including the question: so why do we need the first drash in the beraita, if the second one is good? After we complete this with Rashi, we will move on to the next subsugya, in which the gemara begins to examine other possible reasons why 'an eye for an eye' cannot be understood literally for halachic purposes.
 
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November 16, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 83b-84a: 'Ayin Tahat 'Ayin: is the literal meaning really impossible to use?
In the previous shiur, we finished the first sugya, which explained the beraita that used two drashot to learn that a perpetrator pays money for permanent bodily injury that he caused to his victim, and that the court does not have the same injury inflicted upon him as punishment, despite the literal meaning of several verses in the Torah that seem to indicate otherwise.  We then read and translated the next section of the gemara, a beraita of R.Dustai b.Yehuda, which also brings a proof that 'ayin tachat 'ayin should not be taken literally. In parsing the gemara into its logical segments, I admit that I myself got confused because of the similarity of this section with the follwing section, and we did not complete that step of analysis. Please review what we did, and see if you can logically segment on your own this short section which we did not complete in shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will finish parsing this sugya and discuss it, and then go on to the following segment, a beraita of R.Shimon b.Yohai, which has similar style of language but a different argument. We will see that in these latter beraitot brought by the gemara, the basis for the position stated in each of them is really an argument from logic, rather than a technical drash in the words of the verses. Time allowing we will continue to see an additional tanaitic statement (beraita) that uses yet a different methodology.
 
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November 21, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a: 'Ayin Tahat 'Ayin: more tanaitic attempts to substantiate the halacha that it means payment
In the previous shiur, we learned the two beraitot with similar styles, in which R.Dustai b.Yehuda and R.Shimon b.Yohai respectively bring different answers, involving both logic and a drash on the pasuk "one law will be for you" (VaYikra 24:23), for how the Torah's statement "ayin tahat 'ayin" and similar statements can be understood at the level of midrash to indeed map to the halacha that we know: that the perpetrator pays money for the damage. We identified the steps of the logic involved, part of which were stated by the amoraim who apparently interjected their own words in the beraita to clarify things. Please review this material, and try to read it on your own inside the gemara text. If there are any questions, I will be happy to answer them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
 
In this shiur, we will continue further in the sugya with more beraitot of the tanaim, and also statements by amoraim (meimrot), which attempt, in additional ways, to define the linkage of this halacha with the written Torah.
 
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November 23, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a: Tanaitic and Amoraic derashot on other pesukim to substantiate the halacha that the Hovel pays money
In the previous shiur, we studied the gemara's discussions of two beraitot (of the school of R.Yishmael and of the school of R.Hiyya) which followed similar logical lines, seeing in extraneous language of the Torah a basis for a drash that finds a semantic meaning of monetary payment, as the punishment/consequence for one who assaults and causes permanent physical injury to another person. At the end of the shiur, we read and translated the following section, a beraita brought by Abbaye from the school of Hizkiya and the discussion of the amoraim on it. Please review this material; in particular, if possible try to break this last new piece of the sugya into its parts and identify the flow of the discussion and try to understand it. If you have any questions about any of the material I will be happy to answer them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
 
In this shiur, we will first parse the subsugya that discusses the beraita brought by Abbaye, which we have already read and translated. We will then discuss it in depth. Then we will move on to further drashot, now authored by amoraim, all of them seeking to authenticate, by means of the drashot, the known halachic understanding that the perpetrator of a physical assault on another person causing permanent injury (damage - nezek) must pay, and NOT suffer the same physical injury.
 
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November 28, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a: The final drash - Rav Ashi; The enigmatic beraita of R.Eliezer

In the previous shiur, we learned three different attempts by amoraim, using existing texts containing drashot (the first from tanaim and the latter two from amoraim), to prove that the Torah could not mean "an eye for an eye" literally. We saw how the amoraim in the gemara dismiss each of these logical arguments. Please review this material; if you have any questions you can raise them at the beginning of this shiur or by email. 

In this shiur,  we will see the final (and successful) attempt, by Rav Ashi, to find a single drash that indeed links the halacha that the hovel pays for bodily damages, with the written Torah. Then we will learn the very enigmatic beraita of R. Eliezer and see the mind-shifting way the gemara uses to make sense of it.

 
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November 30, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a: Damages inflicted on people by animals: 2 amoraic stories
In the previous shiur, we completed the first, long, sugya with the drash of Rav Ashi (and its "fixup") and then the beraita of R.Eliezer, the analysis of which led to understanding that R.Eliezer has a different opinion than the other tanaim regarding whose limb's value (in his opinion, that of the mazik) is actually used for determining the damages payment. Please review this material; if there are any questions we will discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will begin by reading and discussing a few comments of Rashi and Tosafot on the last segments of the sugya we have completed. Then we will study two amoraic stories of cases where bodily injury was inflicted on a person by an animal.
 
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December 5, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a-84b: The authority of the sages of Bavel
In the previous shiur, we first discussed Rashi's and Tosofot's different explanations of Rabbi Eliezer's position that we evaluate the damage payment in the limb of the perpetrator. Then we read and discussed the first of two amoraic stories of cases where bodily injury was inflicted on a person by an animal. Please review this material; if you have any questions we will discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will first study the comments of Rashi and Tosafot on the story of Rav Papa bar Shmuel that we read and discussed last time. Then we will read and study the second story, and the subsequent discussion in the gemara concerning the difference in authority level between the sages (and judges) of Bavel and the sages (and judges) of Erez Yisrael at the time of the amoraim.
 
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December 7, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a-84b: The authority of the sages of Bavel (II)
In the previous shiur, we first read and discussed comments of Rashi and Tosofot on the story of Rav Papa bar Shmuel (about the boy whose hand was bitten off by a donkey). Then we read, translated, and discussed the story of Rava in which he instructed his beit din to evaluate damages done to a boy by an ox by considering the boy as slave being sold.  Finally, we read, translated, and parsed into logical segments, as we went along, the first part of the subsequent long discussion in the gemara that attempts to understand the distinction (of Rava, quoted in relation to the story) between cases that are adjucated in Bavel and cases that are not. Please review this material; while we have not yet discussed the content, if you have any questions about the terminology and the way we have so far parsed the gemara, please raise them at the beginning of this shiur or by email.
 
In this shiur, we will continue reading and translating the gemara down to the end of the sugya, and breaking it down into its logical segments to see the flow.  Then we will go back and understand the gemara's discussion in depth. By the end of this sugya we will have a better understanding of the challenges that faced the sages (and judges) of Bavel, and the difference in authority level between them and the sages (and judges) of Erez Yisrael at the time of the amoraim.
 
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December 12, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84a-84b: The authority of the sages of Bavel (III)
In the previous shiur, we finished reading, translating, and parsing into logical segments the sugya that seeks a rule to explain Rava's distinction between cases where the victim of a physical injury-causing attack is a person (which the sages/judges of Bavel do not judge), and cases where the victim is an animal (which they do judge). Then we went back to understand in depth the stages of the discussion. We stopped in the middle of the Rashi comment that explains the requirement of "elohim" (expert judges) from the Torah (top of daf 84b), and we looked at the relevant verses. Please review this material. If there are any questions we will discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will continue in that Rashi and look at the gemara in the first chapter that he references, about why semicha stopped.  Then we will continue our in-depth discussion of the successive stages of our sugya.
 
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December 14, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84b: The authority of the sages (judges) of Bavel (IV)
In the previous shiur, we finished studying the Rashi at the top of the page (84b) and read the source in Sanhedrin (14a) that he references, about semicha not applying in Bavel, following the story that illustrates the historical setting of persecution and the resulting difficulty to maintain semicha even in Eretz Yisrael during the tanaitic period. Then we moved on to discuss in depth the next segment of the sugya, which suggests a basis for the non-semicha-based authority of the sages/judges in Bavel, and we learned the Rashi on this segment as well. Please review this material and if there are any questions we can discuss them at the beginning of this shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will move on in the sugya to understand and analyze in depth the next and final segments of the gemara's search for the rule that explains Rava's distinction between physical injury cases where the victim is a person (not judged in Bavel) and damage cases where the damage was not physical injury to a person (e.g. an animal, which are judged in Bavel). Time allowing, we will move on to read, translate, and parse the next, and final, part of the sugya about damage payments.
 
Wishing you and your families a joyous Hanuka!
 
WebYeshiva.org helps Jews all over the world maintain a connection with Torah study and with each other. If you have benefited or know someone who may benefit from its programming please make a small donation to help keep the lights on by clicking here: http://www.webyeshiva.org/donate/
 
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December 19, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84b: Damage payments for injury to animals: why not in Bavel (According to Rava)?
In the previous shiur, we finished our in-depth discussion of the part of the sugya that fully identifies the conditions and types of cases in which judges in Bavel--or actually anywhere outside of Eretz Yisrael--can act as agents on behalf of the sages/judges of Eretz Yisrael. We then began the final section of the sugya, which attempts to resolve an apparent contradiction between two halachic statements by Rava regarding the authority of judges in Bavel to judge cases of injury caused to an animal by another animal. We only read and translated this section. Please review all of this material, and see if you can parse the final section of the sugya by yourself based on your previous knowledge and the translation of terms that we gave at the end of the shiur.
 
In this shiur, we will begin with a very quick summary of the conclusion of the previous part of the sugya and read Tosafot's comments on it. Then we will break down the last part of the sugya into its logical parts, and after understanding the flow of the logic we will discuss it piece by piece in depth.
 
Hodesh Tov and Happy Hanuka!
 
WebYeshiva.org helps Jews all over the world maintain a connection with Torah study and with each other. If you have benefited or know someone who may benefit from its programming please make a small donation to help keep the lights on by clicking here: http://www.webyeshiva.org/donate/
 
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December 21, 2017 6:00AM - 7:00AM
Daf 84b-85a: Compensation for pain without a disabling injury
 
In the previous shiur, we reviewed the conclusion of the previous part of the sugya and read Tosafot's comments on it, which further clarified the definition of the kinds of cases judged outside Eretz Yisrael. Then we learned the last part of the sugya, which resolves an apparent contradiction between Rava's rule and another statement that he made, on the tangential subject of the jurisdiction authority in Bavel for damages inflicted by animals on other animals. We identified its logical parts, and discussed it segment by segment in depth, with help derived from Rashi's comments. With this we have now completed the sugya about the damage payment defined in the mishna. Please review this material; I am happy to discuss any questions that you might have.
 
In this shiur, our last shiur of the fall semester, we will learn the first subsugya on the subject of the second payment defined in the mishna: the payment for pain inflicted by one person on another. We will see an argument between two amoraim regarding which of the tanaim could be the author of the mishna's position that compensation is paid for pain even when the victim sustained no disabling physical injury.
 
I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I will be taking a leave from teaching in WebYeshiva during the upcoming winter semester, as I will be traveling abroad for a significant part of that period of time. I encourage you to continue your learning of gemara: there are excellent alternative shiurim in WebYeshiva that you can enroll in for the winter semester. G-d willing, I will be back for the spring semester and as far as I know at this time we will resume learning Bava Kama. You will hear more details about this towards the end of winter semester.
 
Yitzhak Zuriel
 
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