Bo_5773: Emunas Chachamim

Taste of Parasha

When Moshe Rabbeinu first conveyed G-d’s message to Pharaoh, he did not say anything about the children joining them nor did he ask for anything more than a three day furlough.   When Pharaoh finally agrees to let all adult male Jews leave, Moshe Rabbeinu redefines his request.  He says that he wants permission for all Jews to leave.  Pharaoh refuses this request.  What was he thinking?  Why did this increased request make him change his mind?  Perhaps we can answer this question with a question.  Why did Hashem only tell Moshe to request for a three day furlough?   Some say it was to make it easier for Pharaoh to say yes.   I would like to suggest that it was in order to set up this scenario where Moshe was apparently changing the original request conveyed by him from G-d.   Pharaoh reached a level of belief in G-d but he still did not have an appreciation of the power vested within the Sages.   He did not have “Emunas Chachamim.”   Since that had not been part of the original message from G-d, he calculated that this was no longer a request from G-d.  This was an example of a Rabbinic injunction which Pharaoh was being challenged to trust.  A full acceptance of G-d is only when it comes with a strong “Emunas Chachamim”.  G-d desires that his words be seen through the eyes of the Sages.  The Shem Mi’Shmuel gives us an insight into the necessity of having the children with their parents.  In order for the adults to be able to focus completely on their service of G-d they cannot be worrying about what their children are doing.  They need to know that their children are safe.  Do you know where your children are?

Taste of Halacha

Mr. Katz owns an ox that is worth one thousand dollars.  Mr. Baum owns an ox that is worth two thousand dollars.  If Mr. Katz’s ox kills the ox of Mr. Baum, Mr. Katz must pay for the damages.   What is the Halacha if on the way to pay Mr. Baum, Mr. Katz’s ox tripped over Mr. Baum’s garment and broke its leg?  It would depend on where the garment was left.  If Mr. Katz did not have permission to bring his ox with him into the Baum property, then Mr. Baum is not responsible for the damages to the ox of Mr. Katz.  However, if he had permission to bring his ox into the Baum property, then Mr. Baum will now be responsible to pay for the damages to Mr. Katz’s ox.  Furthermore, if the garment was ruined in the process, Mr. Katz will now be responsible for the damages done to the garment. Although he does have permission to bring his ox into the Baum property, he still must be cognizant of the Baum’s possessions.  It is their property and they have every right to keep their objects in it (CM: 389:17).   The question now becomes, how do we evaluate the damages?  Does anyone have the number for the adjuster?  Using the Mesorah passed down to them, our Sages where able to glean from the words of the Torah the guidelines for payments.

Taste of Talmud

1) There are different levels of liability for oxen that damage by goring.  The first three times an ox damages by goring will only incur a liability to pay for half of the damage.  There is a Machlokes between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael if the value of the living cow automatically becomes the property of the damagee.  The Torah says, “They shall sell the living ox” (Exodus 21:35).  Who is the Torah commanding?   Who does the ox belong to?   Rabbi Akiva derives from this that as soon as the loss occurred the damagee becomes the owner of the living ox.  This even goes so far as to allow him to donate it to the Bais Hamikdash or any other worthy cause.  Rabbi Yishmael disagrees.  The damagee does not have a legal right to the living ox.  Rabbi Yishmael understands the verse to be speaking to the Bais Din of the city and telling them that if the owner does not have money to pay for the damages then the living ox could be sold under the auspices of Bais Din (Bava Kamma 33a). This is the Halacha here and for other damages as well.  The responsibility is upon the owner; but, if he does not have a means to pay, all of his possessions can be used as collateral.   Therefore, in the case of the garment, Bais Din will have to evaluate the loss to the garment and asses its value and the value of the damage that it caused.

This week’s issue is dedicated as a merit for: The Wolf Family

Have A Great Shabbos!!

About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and Yeshiva L' Baalei Batim. He is the owner and director of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
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