ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Basra 154
(a) If the benefactor and the beneficiary argue over whether the former was
a Bari or a Shechiv-Mera when he wrote the Sh'tar, the Chachamim in our
Mishnah hold 'ha'Motzi me'Chavero, Alav ha'Re'ayah'. When Rav Huna says
'Re'ayah be'Eidim', he means - that the benefactor must bring witnesses to
prove that he was a Shechiv-Mera (and not just to substantiate the Sh'tar).
(b) The basis of the Machlokes between Rebbi Meir and the Chachamim,
according to him is - whether we go after the benefactor's current status
(Rebbi Meir [like Rebbi Nasan]), or after the Chezkas Mamon (the Chachamim
[like Rebbi Ya'akov]).
(c) But according to Rav Chisda and Rabah bar Rav Huna, the Chachamim mean -
that the benefactor only needs to bring witnesses to substantiate the
(d) Once he has done that - they too, follow the opinion of Rebbi Nasan,
that the benefactor must bring a proof that he was a Shechiv-Mera when he
wrote the Sh'tar.
(a) According to the Chachamim, the beneficiary needs to substantiate the
Sh'tar, despite the fact that the benefactor anyway admitted that he wrote
it - because otherwise, the latter will be believed with a 'Peh she'Asar' to
say that he was a Shechiv-Mera (which he can no longer do once the Sh'tar
has been substantiated from another source).
(b) According to Rav Chisda and Rabah bar Rav Huna, when Rebbi Meir says
'Tzarich Le'havi Re'ayah she'Shechiv-Mera Hayah' - he means exactly what he
says, that the benefactor must prove that he was a Shechiv-Mera when he
wrote the Sh'tar.
(c) The basis of their Machlokes is - whether, once one party admits to
having written a Sh'tar, the other party is obligated to substantiate it
(the Chachamim) or not (Rebbi Meir).
(a) The Chachamim hold in the Mishnah in Kesuvos that if witnesses
substantiate their own signatures on a Sh'tar, but who then claim 'Anusim
Hayinu', 'Ketanim Hayinu' or 'Pesulim Hayinu', they are believed - because
'ha'Peh she'Asar, Hu ha'Peh she'Hitir' (meaning that we have to believe them
because had they wanted, they could have remained silent to begin with).
(b) Rebbi Meir in a Beraisa disagrees with this - because once the witnesses
substantiate their signatures, we assume the Sh'tar to be Kasher (and they
are not believed to invalidate it, even with a 'Peh she'Asar').
(c) The basis of their Machlokes is - whether 'Modeh bi'Sh'tar, Tzarich
le'Kaymo' (the Chachamim) or 'Eino Tzarich le'Kaymo' (Rebbi Meir).
(d) Despite the fact that they already present this Machlokes once, they
find it necessary to present it a second time, because, had ...
1. ... the Chachamim not repeated their ruling here, we might have
thought - that it is only when witnesses invalidate the Sh'tar, that they
are believed, but not the borrower (even with a 'Peh she'Asar').
2. ... Rebbi Meir not repeated his ruling there, we might have thought -
that it is only the borrower who is not believed, but witnesses would be.
(a) Rabah agrees with Rav Huna, that when the Chachamim in our Mishnah say
'ha'Motzi me'Chavero, Alav ha'Re'ayah', they mean with witnesses. When Abaye
suggested that perhaps this was because the Sh'tar lacked the clause
(generally contained in the Sh'tar of a Bari) stating that 'the benefactor
was walking on his two feet' - Rabah countered that neither did it contain
the clause that he was ill and bedridden (generally contained in the Sh'tar
of a Shechiv-Mera).
(b) According to Rabah, the Chachamim's reason is because - seeing as we now
have a Safek, we apply the principle 'Uki Mamona be'Chezkas Mareih' (as we
explained earlier [using a different phrase]).
(c) Rebbi Yochanan too, holds like Rav Huna, whereas Resh Lakish holds
'Re'ayah be'Kiyum ha'Sh'tar', like Rav Chisda and Rabah bar Rav Huna. Rebbi
Yochanan asked on Resh Lakish from a Beraisa, which discusses a case where
one of the heirs sold some property of the father's estate and died. The
bone of contention between the remaining brothers and the purchaser was -
whether he was a Gadol when he sold the property or not.
(d) When the purchasers asked for permission to examine the deceased
brother's body, to ascertain that he was a Gadol when he died, Rebbi Akiva
ruled - a. that it was disrespectful to make such an examination on a dead
body, and b. that anyway, the signs of maturity tend to change after death
(in which case, even if he were now to appear to have been a Gadol when he
died, this may not have been the case).
(a) This She'eilah came before Rebbi Akiva - in B'nei B'rak.
(b) Rebbi Yochanan was trying to prove from this Beraisa - that it must have
been a question of proving that the seller was a Gadol when he sold the
property, because, had it been a question of substantiating the Sh'tar, why
did they discuss examining the seller's body?
(a) Resh Lakish refuted Rebbi Yochanan's Kashya - by switching the roles of
the claimant and the defendant. The property, he argued, was already in the
possession of the purchaser, and the claimant was the brothers, who could
not possibly have been instructed to substantiate the Sh'tar, because they
did not have it.
(b) Resh Lakish attempted to prove his point from the claimant's silence -
which makes sense if the claimant was the brothers (who would have accepted
Rebbi Akiva's ruling out of respect for their own flesh and blood). Whereas
if the claimant was the purchaser, he ought to have insisted on the
inspection taking place in order to substantiate his claim.
(c) We repudiate that proof however, based on Rebbi Akiva - who took the
wind out of his sails by his two-part ruling. When he said that a. it was
disrespectful to make such an examination on a dead body, and b. anyway,
these signs tend to change after death, he meant - that even if they were to
insist on examining the body, the examination would be inconclusive.
(a) Resh Lakish queried Rebbi Yochanan from a Beraisa cited by bar Kapara,
where Reuven counters that the field that Shimon's claims is his, really
belongs to *him*, and Shimon produces a Sh'tar Mechirah to prove that he
sold it to him. The Tana rules there that, in the event that Reuven ...
1. ... denies having written the Sh'tar - Shimon must substantiate it.
(b) A 'Sh'tar ...
2. ... counters that it was a Sh'tar Pasim or a Sh'tar Amanah and he had not
yet paid) - we follow the witnesses, if there are any, and the Sh'tar, if
there are not.
1. ... Pasim' - is a Sh'tar that one person asks another to write for him,
to create the impression that he is a wealthy landowner ('Pasim' from the
word 'Le'fayes' - to appease or to plead).
(c) Resh Lakish asked whether the author of this Beraisa was Rebbi Meir, who
says 'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kasvo, Ein Tzarich Le'kaymo' (in the Beraisa that
we quoted earlier), to which Rebbi Yochanan replied - that in his opinion,
the Rabbanan agree with Rebbi Meir that 'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kasvo, Eino
2. ... Amanah' is - a document of sale written on trust (from the word
'Eimun') that he will pay him later.
(d) When (in connection with the Beraisa that we quoted a little earlier)
Resh Lakish quoted Rebbi Yochanan as having justified the claim of the
remaining brothers that their deceased brother had been a Katan when he sold
their father's property, Rebbi Yochanan replied - that this was a statement
made by Rebbi Elazar, and not by him.
(a) Rebbi Zeira asked on Rebbi Yochanan from Rebbi Yanai - who was his
(b) Rebbi Yanai quoted Rebbi as saying - 'Modeh bi'Sh'tar she'Kasvo, Tzarich
(c) Rebbi Yochanan asked on Rebbi Yanai that this was already stated by our
Mishnah - where the Chachamim said 'ha'Motzi me'Chavero, Alav ha'Re'ayah'
(which he interprets 'be'Kiyum Sh'tar').
(a) We explain Rebbi Yochanan's statement ' ... Divrei ha'Kol Eino Tzarich
Le'kaymo' by citing Rav Yosef Amar Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel - who inverts
their opinions, first the Chachamim ('Tzarich Le'havi Re'ayah
she'Shechiv-Mera Hayah, and then Rebbi Meir 'ha'Motzi me'Chavero, Alav
(b) Consequently, when Rebbi Yochanan said 'Divrei ha'Kol, Eino Tzarich
Le'kaymo', he was referring to the Chachamim, who are the majority (and
whose opinion he considers unanimous [even though Rebbi Meir disagrees])?
(c) In light of this explanation - we will also invert a. the Beraisa, which
quotes the opinions of Rebbi Meir and the Rabbanan like they are quoted in
our Mishnah, and b. Rebbi Yochanan himself, who said earlier 'Re'ayah
be'Eidim' (whilst Resh Lakish said 'Re'ayah be'Kiyum ha'Sh'tar').
(d) Earlier on the Amud, we cited Rebbi Yochanan, who queried Resh Lakish
from the Beraisa of Rebbi Akiva (that Re'ayah must mean 'Re'ayah be'Eidim').
This does not mean that we must also switch the Kashya, and that it was Resh
Lakish who asked Rebbi Yochanan - because we will now interpret the Kashya
differently, as we shall now see.