Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who is עובר לפני עור when lending money בריבית? (Bava Metzia 75b)

The simple understanding of the Gemara is that לפני עור only applies to the מלוה and the לוה and that they are always עובר. Tosafos points out that the ערב and עדים can also be עובר if the loan would not take place without them.

The questions can be asked, why are the מלוה and the לוה always עובר? Let's take the following case. Reuven wants to lend money בריבית. Both Shimon and Levi want to borrow. Reuven decides to lend to Shimon. Why should Shimon be עובר לפני עור, after all, if Shimon didn't borrow the money Levi would have? Why isn't this a classic case of חד עברא דנהר where there is no לפני עור?

The ( משנה למלך (הל' מלוה ולוה ד:ב quotes the פני משה who says exactly this. If there were other borrowers available then there is no לפני עור on the לוה. However the משנה למלך disagrees and says the following סברה.

The only time there is a heter of חד עברא דנהר is when without you, the other person could do the עבירה with no help. In the classic case of נזיר, without you he could go and get the wine himself. Since he can violate the עבירה with no help from a Jew, your helping him does not violate לפני עור. However, by ריבית, the only way the מלוה can violate the עבירה is if a Jew helps him. The מלוה needs a Jewish לוה. Therefore, even if there is another Jewish לוה, since, bottom line, a Jew will be מכשיל him, there is an איסור of לפני עור. The fact that if Shimon won't borrow the money Levi will, is irrelevant, the bottom line is that for him to violate the עבירה he needs the help of a Jew (and מאי נפקא מינא whether it is Shimon or Levi, someone is being מכשיל him)and therefore there is always לפני עור by the לוה.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is there a general היתר of כיכר? (Bava Metzia 75a)

Rashi understands ר' יהודה אמר שמואל that לוין סתם refers to ככרות and that the חכמים are מתיר in any case. However, the Rambam and the Rif learn that even ככר is only מותר if there is a שער and this is how the Shulchan Aruch paskens. The Rama is מתיר like Rashi that a דבר מועט like a loaf of bread is permitted in any case.

תלמידי חכמים מותרים ללות בריבית (Bava Metzia 75a)

Is it permitted for them to make this arrangement up front (פסיקה)?

The Rambam seems to say no. The Rambam is only מתיר a ת"ח to return more (without any pre-arangement at the time of the loan). The Gra learns that the Rambam is מדקדק from the fact that the Gemara said ללות and not להלוות. The obvious question is the המשך הגמרא. The Gemara brings the story of Shmuel where he seems to be פוםק beforehand that he will borrow 100 and return 120. The Gra explains that the Rambam understood that Shmuel was not being פוסק but rather was just raising the possibility that he might return more because he will not be מקפיד to count. The Shulchan Aruch paskens like the Rambama however, the Rama paskens that it is even מותר to be פוסק beforehand.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

shmuel and Rabbi Meir (74a)

Rav Meir explained in shiur today that Shmuel must hold like Rabbi Meir. But if Shmuel's only issue is that it not be מחוסר בידי שמים, why is it not enough to have all the raw materials even if it's not עד שיעשו?

two suggestions:
1. Rav Meir mentioned in shiur that the drying is something that may be considered מחוסר בידי שמים.
2. the Shita quotes the Rivan that if all you have is dirt then it is not considered having ביצים של יוצר. This is also used to explain the end of the sugya with shitas chachamim -- during ימות הגשמים it has not been converted to usable zevel yet so it is like there is no zevel.

Monday, July 7, 2008

צדיק גמור אינו בולע (Bava Metzia 71a)

The Gemara distinguishes between a צדיק and a צדיק גמור with respect to whether or not they can be harmed by a Rasha.

This fits in with the classical view of hashgocha pratis as found in the Rishonim and Acharonim.

Both the Rambam and the Ramban based hashgacha pratis on a person's closeness to hashem. The closer a person is to Hashem the higher the level of their hashgocha.

When the brothers are planning on killing Yosef, Reuven saves him by suggesting throwing him into the pit. The mefarshim ask what did Reuven accomplish, the pit was very dangerous (full of snakes, etc.), even life threatening. The Netziv answers as follows. A person has בחירה חפשית and therefore the brothers could kill Yosef even if he was not supposed to die. However, animals since they have no בחירה חפשית cannot kill someone if he is not supposed to die. However the Netziv qualifies this by saying that this only applies to someone who is not a צדיק גמור, but a צדיק גמור cannot be harmed even through בחירה חפשית, exactly like our Gemara (see also the אלשיך and אור החיים there).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What was Rava's question מאי תשיך לאו תשוך (Bava Metzia 70b)

The Rishonim (Tosafos, Ritva, etc.) ask, ר' נחמן was saying that there is an איסור דרבנן so why should we care that מן התורה you can lend money to a גוי בריבית?

There is a famous Taz in a number of places (יו"ד סי' קי"ז, ח"מ סי' ב', או"ח סי' תקפ"ח) where the Taz claims that חז"ל are not allowed to assur something that the Torah explicitly permits. He is מדייק from the לשון that is used to justify how חז"ל can make גזירות. The גמרא in Sanhedrin (46a) states שבית דין מכין ועונשים שלא מן התורה ולא לעבור על דברי תורה אלא כדי לעשות סיג לתורה. Why does the Gemara say ולא לעבור על דברי תורה? Are Chazal going to make a גזירה to tell us to violate an issur? The Taz says the pshat is that Chazal even when they make a גזירה are not allowed to be עוקר דבר מן התורה and be לעבור על דברי תורה. In other words חז"ל can not make a גזירה to prohibit something that the torah explicitly permits.

Tosafos seems to use this principle to answer our original question. Rava is asking if the Torah explicitly permits us to lend a גוי money בריבית then how can we make an issur d'rabbanan to prohibit it? It is being עוקר something מן התורה.

The Rambam writes מלוה ולוה ה: א-ב :
ומצות עשה להשיך לגוי, שנאמר "לנוכרי תשיך" (דברים כג,כא)--מפי השמועה למדו, שזו מצות עשה; וזה הוא דין תורה.

אסרו חכמים שיהיה ישראל מלווה את הגוי בריבית קצוצה, אלא בכדי חייו. גזרו שמא ילמוד ממעשיו

The Rambam seems to be against the Taz. On one hand the Rambam writes that there is a מצוה דאורייתא to lend money to a גוי בריבית, on the other hand in halacha ב he writes that there is an issur דרבנן to do so. If there is a miztva to lend money בריבית to a גוי how could חז"ל prohibit it according to the Taz?

Some acharonim answer as follows. The Taz himself writes that חז"ל are allowed to make a partial issur on something that is permitted by the Torah. In hilchos Shofar the Taz quotes a question why didn't חז"ל prohibit blowing shofar on Rosh Hashana גזירה maybe you you will fix a musical instrument? He answers with his principal, that they cannot be עוקר a mitzva. However, they were allowed to make a גזירה prohibiting shofar on Shabbos because they were not completely עוקר the mitzva.

Based on this we can answer the Rambam as follows. Since there is a heter to lend a גוי בריבית, namely כדי חייו, they were not עוקר the mitzva completely and therefore they were permitted to do it.

Tosafos writes that nowadays we are allowed to lend money to a גוי בריבית because all our business is with גויים and therefore אין לאסור ריבית שמא ילמוד ממעשיו יותר משאר משא ומתן. This is quoted להלכה in שו"ע. The poskim seem to assume that the reason for the גזירה was שמא ילמוד ממעשיו and this no longer applies today. The obvious question is what happened to the idea that גזירות are לא פלוג and even if the reason no longer applies the gezera still applies?

R' Shachter in his sefer ארץ הצבי says the following. We only say that a גזירה is לא פלוג when the reason for the גזירה is not written into the גזירה, which is most גזירות. However, based on the Taz, in a case where the גזירה is coming to assur something that is explicitly permitted by the Torah, חז"ל were not allowed to make a לא פלוג but rather had to incorporate the reason for the גזירה into the גזירה. Therefore, the גזירה is limited to when the reason applies. By doing this, they are not being עוקר דבר מן התורה because the גזירה only applies in limited circumstances. This is why רבינא says that it is permitted for a תלמיד חכם to lend money בריבית. The whole reason for the גזירה is שמא ילמוד ממעשיו that doesn't apply to a תלמיד חכם. Again we can ask, what about לא פלוג? Generally all גזירות apply to תלמידי חכמים as well. The answer is that ריבית is not a regular גזירה because it is coming to be עוקר דבר מן התורה, rather it is limited to those cases where the reason applies. Based on this, we understand the heter of Tosafos. Since the reason doesn't apply in this specific case the גזירה doesn't apply, rather the גזירה is only limited to cases that fit the reason. Therefore nowadays where the reason doesn't apply it is permitted to lend money to a גוי בריבית.