POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Bava Metzia 117
BAVA METZIA 116-117 - anonymously dedicated by an Ohev Torah and Marbitz
Torah in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.
1) HOW THE RENTER TAKES OVER THE OWNER'S HOUSE
(a) Question #1 (R. Aba bar Mamal): When Shimon lives below,
is he alone?
2) RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CEILING
1. Or, may Reuven dwell with him, for he never agreed
to be expelled from his own house!
(b) Question #2: If Reuven dwells with him, does Shimon enter
normally, or must he enter (his attic as he used to, via
a ladder, and then) down a ladder from his attic?
1. Is Shimon required to live as he used to, climbing
up to his roof?
(c) Question #3: If Shimon can say, I never consented to
climb and descend - what if there were two upper stories
on top of the house?
2. Or, can he say, I only consented to climb to enter
my house, not to descend as well!
1. Obviously, if the top story sinks, Shimon must
accept the middle story, it is less climbing.
(d) These questions are not resolved. (Rambam - the last
question is not resolved, the first questions are
resolved as supposed in the following question).
2. If the middle story sinks, must Shimon accept the
i. Can Reuven say, you consented to climb to enter
your house, you must merely climb more!
ii. Or, can Shimon say, I only consented to climb
one story, not two!
(a) (Mishnah): R. Yosi says, Reuven must supply the
3) BENEFITING WITHOUT CAUSING ANOTHER PERSON A LOSS
(b) Question: What is meant by 'the ceiling'?
(c) Answer #1 (R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): Wicker mats.
(d) Answer #2 (Stini): Cedar boards.
1. They do not argue, each says what is standard in his
(e) Reuven lived in a house and Shimon lived in its attic.
The plaster (of the attic floor) came off; when Shimon
would wash his hands, the water would drip into the
(f) (R. Chiya bar Aba): Shimon must fix it.
(g) (R. Ila'i): Reuven must fix it.
(h) Suggestion: R. Chiya bar Aba and R. Ila'i argue as R.
Yosi and Chachamim argue.
1. R. Chiya bar Aba says that the upper dweller must
fix it (like R. Yosi, who obligates him to supply
the plaster) because the damager must distance
himself from damaging;
(i) Objection: R. Yosi and Chachamim hold just the contrary!
2. R. Ila'i says that the lower dweller must fix it
(like Chachamim) because the damagee must distance
himself from being damaged.
1. We distance a tree 25 Amos from a pit; a carob or
sycamore tree must be distanced 50 Amos;
(j) Rather, we can say that R. Chiya bar Aba and R. Ila'i
argue as R. Yosi and Chachamim argue in that Mishnah;
i. This applies in all cases, whether the tree is
above, below or even with the pit.
2. If the pit was there first, the tree must be cut,
the owner of the pit must pay;
3. If the tree was there first, the tree is not cut.
4. R. Yosi says, even if the pit was there first we do
not cut the tree;
i. Just as one may dig in his own property, one
may plant in his own property!
5. This shows that R. Yosi obligates the damagee to
distance himself, Chachamim obligate the damager to
1. R. Chiya bar Aba obligates the damager to distance
himself, like Chachamim;
(k) Question: What do R. Yosi and Chachamim argue about in
2. R. Ila'I obligates the damagee to distance himself,
like R. Yosi.
(l) Answer: Whether plaster is needed to support the ceiling.
(Reuven is not bothered by dripping water, rather Shimon
is concerned about the sturdiness of his floor.)
1. Chachamim hold that plaster is needed to support the
ceiling, therefore Reuven must supply it;
(m) Question: But Rav Ashi taught, R. Yosi admits that the
damager may not send arrows (precipitate damage directly
- why does R. Ila'i exempt Shimon)?
2. R. Yosi holds that pegs suffice to support the
ceiling, plaster is only to make it smooth,
therefore Shimon must supply it (if he wants).
(n) Answer: The case is, the water does not fall straight
down, this is not considered arrows.
(a) (Mishnah): Reuven owns a house, Shimon owns the upper
story; the house fell. Shimon wants to rebuild the house;
Reuven refuses. Shimon may build the house and live
there; Reuven may not live there until he shares the
(b) R. Yehudah says, if Shimon lives there, he must pay rent
1. Rather, Shimon builds the house and also the upper
story, then Shimon may live in the house until
Reuven shares the expenses (since Shimon could live
in the attic, he is not benefiting from the house).
(c) (Gemara - R. Yochanan): R. Yehudah teaches that it is
forbidden to benefit from another's money (against his
will, even if he does not lose) in our Mishnah and in two
4) REBUILDING THE HOUSE
1. (Mishnah - R. Meir): If Reuven asked Shimon to dye
wool red, and he died it black, or vice-versa - R.
Meir says, Shimon pays the value of the wool he
(d) Rejection: Perhaps R. Yehudah forbids in our Mishnah
because living in a house blackens the walls (causing a
2. R. Yehudah says, Reuven pays the increased value or
Shimon's expenses, whichever is smaller.
3. (Mishnah - R. Yosi): Reuven paid part of his debt to
Shimon. He fixed a date and gave the document to
Levi saying: 'If I do not pay the rest by this date,
give the document to Shimon (who may then collect
the full amount).' Reuven did not pay in time - Levi
gives the document to Shimon;
4. R. Yehudah says, he does not give it.
1. Perhaps he makes the dyer return the wool because he
i. (Mishnah): Anyone who deviates has the lower
2. Perhaps he says that Levi does not give the document
to Shimon because this was Asmachta, and we know
that R. Yehudah holds that a condition of Asmachta
(a) (Rav Acha bar Ada): If the wall was originally cut
stones, and Reuven (the bottom dweller) wants to rebuild
(the part incumbent on him, i.e. up to the ceiling) from
uncut stones, he may (he must make it a Tefach thicker,
in accordance with the first Mishnah of Bava Basra, for
then it is stronger);
5) OTHER LAWS OF WALLS THAT FALL
1. If it was originally uncut stones, he may not
rebuild it (thinner) from cut stones;
(b) Question: What if neither can afford to rebuild it, and
the owner of the land wants to sell the land?
2. If it was originally bricks, he may rebuild it
(thicker) from half-bricks; if it was originally
half-bricks, he may not rebuild it (thinner) from
3. If he wants to use cedar wood for the ceiling (in
place of sycamore, which is lighter and weaker), he
may, but not vice-versa;
4. He may rebuild it with less windows than originally,
but not with more (this weakens the wall);
5. He may rebuild it lower than originally, but not
higher (this is less stable, and also extra exertion
for Shimon to get to his attic);
(c) Answer (Beraisa - R. Noson): Reuven gets two thirds of
the money, Shimon gets one third;
(d) Others say, Reuven gets three quarters of the money,
Shimon gets one quarter.
(e) (Rabah): The Halachah follows R. Noson - he was the Av
Beis Din, he delved to the heart of the law.
1. An attic decreases the longevity of a house by a
third, therefore we considered the attic's owner to
own a third of the house and therefore a third of
(a) (Mishnah): The same applies if Shimon owned a garden on
top of Reuven's olivepress built in a rock, and the
garden sank: Shimon may plant below until Reuven builds a
support for the garden floor.
(b) If Levi's tree or wall fell into the public domain and
damaged, he is exempt;
1. If Beis Din gave him time to cut the tree or destroy
the wall and they fell within the time, he is
exempt; if they fell after the time, he is liable.
(c) Reuven's wall was next to Shimon's garden; it fell. If
Shimon tells him to clear away the rocks, he must do so,
he cannot say 'They are yours (now, clear them
1. If Shimon agreed to take them, Reuven cannot later
say 'I will pay your expenditures and take them