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Steinsaltz

This works out well according to the one who says that a master cannot say to a slave: Work for me and I will not feed you, i.e., he is obligated to provide the slave with a livelihood. For the purposes of the case at hand, this means that the master cannot stipulate that he is relinquishing his slaves’ right to eat while performing labor, and therefore it works out well. But according to the one who says that a master can say to a slave: Work for me and I will not feed you, what can be said? He should be able to stipulate to that effect with regard to his minor slave, as he is entitled to all profits that result from the slaves’ labor.

Rather, according to this opinion one must accept a different explanation: Both this mishna and that baraita are referring to a case when he does not provide the slaves with food, and the two tannaitic sources disagree with regard to that very issue. As one Sage, the tanna of the baraita, holds that a master can say to a slave: Work for me and I will not feed you, and one Sage, the tanna of the mishna, holds that he cannot do so. The Gemara is puzzled by this response: If so, Rabbi Yoḥanan, who says that a master can say to his slave that he will not feed him, has left aside the mishna and acted and ruled in accordance with the baraita.

Rather, the Gemara retracts the previous explanation in favor of another: Everyone agrees that a laborer eats from the property of Heaven, and even if a father or master provides his child or slave with food he cannot stipulate that the child or slave should not eat when performing labor, as the father or master has no rights over that which they consume. And what is the meaning of: Stipulates, that Rabbi Hoshaya says in the baraita? That does not mean, as in the mishna, that the master relinquishes the slaves’ right to food; rather, he stipulates that they should eat food before they work, so that they will be too full to eat at a later stage.

The Gemara raises a difficulty: If so, in the corresponding situation, with regard to his animal, there should likewise be no discussion at all because he can stipulate in this manner and distribute straw for it before it starts work, as everyone agrees that this is permitted. Rather, the Gemara retracts this interpretation and says that in fact they disagree with regard to this: That one Sage, the tanna of the mishna, holds that a laborer eats from his own property, and one Sage, the tanna of the baraita, holds that a laborer eats from the property of Heaven. This proves that this issue is in fact a dispute between tanna’im.

MISHNA: A man can stipulate on his own behalf that he receive a certain increase in his wages instead of eating the produce with which he works, and similarly, he can stipulate this on behalf of his adult son or daughter, on behalf of his adult Canaanite slave or Canaanite maidservant, or on behalf of his wife, with their agreement, because they have the basic level of mental competence, i.e., they are legally competent and can therefore waive their rights. But he cannot stipulate this on behalf of his minor son or daughter, nor on behalf of his minor Canaanite slave or Canaanite maidservant, nor on behalf of his animal, as they do not have the basic level of mental competence.

In the case of one who hires a laborer to perform labor with his fourth-year fruit, such laborers may not eat the fruit. And if he did not inform them beforehand that they were working with fourth-year fruit, he must redeem the fruit and feed them. If his fig cakes broke apart and crumbled, so that they must be preserved again, or if his barrels of wine opened and he hired workers to reseal them, these laborers may not eat, as the work of the figs or wine had already been completed with regard to tithes, from which point a laborer may not eat them. And if he did not inform them, he must tithe the food and feed them.

The mishna adds: Watchmen of produce may eat the produce of the field or vineyard by local regulations, i.e., in accordance with the ordinances accepted by the residents of that place, but not by Torah law.

GEMARA: The mishna mentions watchmen of produce. Rav says: They taught this halakha only with regard to watchmen of gardens and orchards, in which the produce is still attached to the ground, and therefore the watchman would have no legal right to it were it not for the local custom. But watchmen of winepresses and piles of detached produce may eat from them by Torah law, as the decisive factor is whether or not the produce is attached to the ground. Evidently, Rav maintains that one who safeguards is considered like one who performs labor, and therefore he has the status of a laborer.

And conversely, Shmuel says that the Sages taught the halakha of the mishna, that they may eat by local regulations, only with regard to watchmen of winepresses and piles of detached produce. But watchmen of gardens and orchards may not eat, neither by Torah law nor by local regulations. This shows that Shmuel holds that one who safeguards is not considered like one who performs labor, and therefore no watchman is entitled to eat by Torah law. In the particular case of detached produce, there is a local custom to allow a watchman of detached produce to eat from it.

Rav Aḥa bar Rav Huna raises an objection to this reasoning from a baraita: One who safeguards the red heifer after it has been burned renders his garments impure, in accordance with halakha concerning all those who take part in the ritual of the red heifer. The Torah decrees that all those who take part in the ritual of the red heifer contract impurity (Numbers, chapter 19). It is therefore necessary to establish which people are considered to have taken part in this ritual. And if you say that one who safeguards is not considered like one who performs labor, why does he render his garments impure? He has not performed any labor. Rabba bar Ulla said: He does not render them impure due to his work as a watchman; rather, this is a rabbinic decree, lest he move a limb of the heifer.

Rav Kahana raises an objection: With regard to one who safeguards four or five cucumber fields, which contain various types of cucumbers and gourds belonging to different people, this one may not fill his stomach from any single one of them. Rather, he must eat from each and every one by a proportionate amount. But if you say that one who safeguards is not considered like one who performs labor, why is he allowed to eat at all?

Rav Shimi bar Ashi said: They taught this halakha with regard to uprooted cucumbers, concerning which even Shmuel agrees that a watchman may eat them by local regulations. The Gemara raises a difficulty: Uprooted? But at that stage hasn’t their work already been completed with regard to tithes, and therefore no laborer should be permitted to eat them? The Gemara answers: This is referring to a case when their blossom had not yet been removed. Since the cucumbers still require work, they are not yet subject to tithes.

Rav Ashi said: It stands to reason that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Shmuel, as we learned in a mishna (87a): And these laborers may eat by Torah law: A laborer who performs labor with produce attached to the ground at the time of the completion of its work, e.g., harvesting produce; and a laborer who performs labor with produce detached from the ground before the completion of its work. The mishna’s phrase: By Torah law, proves by inference that with regard to detached produce there is one who does not eat by Torah law but by local regulations.

The Gemara continues its proof: Now, say the latter clause of that mishna: And these may not eat. What is the meaning of: May not eat? If we say this means that they may not eat by Torah law but by local regulations, this is the same as the first clause. Rather, is it not correct to say that it means they may not eat at all, neither by Torah law nor by local regulations? And who are the people included in this list? They are one who performs labor with produce attached to the ground at a time when it has not reached the completion of its work, and all the more so watchmen of gardens and orchards, who do not perform any significant action.

MISHNA: There are four types of bailees, to whom different halakhot apply. They are as follows: An unpaid bailee, who receives no compensation for safeguarding the item; and the borrower of an item for his own use; a paid bailee, who is provided with a salary for watching over an item; and a renter, i.e., a bailee who pays a fee for the use of a vessel or animal. If the item was stolen, lost, or broken, or if the animal died in any manner, their halakhot are as follows: An unpaid bailee takes an oath over every outcome; whether the item was lost, stolen, or broken, or if the animal died, the unpaid bailee must take an oath that it happened as he described, and he is then exempt from payment. The borrower does not take an oath, but pays for every outcome, even in a circumstance beyond his control.

And the halakhot of a paid bailee and a renter are the same: They take an oath over an injured animal, over a captured animal, and over a dead animal, attesting that the mishaps were caused by circumstances beyond their control, and they are exempt, but they must pay for loss or theft.

GEMARA: The Gemara asks: Who is the tanna who taught this mishna about four types of bailees? Rav Naḥman said that Rabba bar Avuh said: It is Rabbi Meir. Rava said to Rav Naḥman: Is there any Sage who does not accept the halakha concerning four types of bailees? All of the Sages agree that the Torah spoke of these four types of bailees. Rav Naḥman said to him: This is what I am saying to you, i.e., I mean as follows: Who is the tanna who maintains that the halakha of a renter is like that of a paid bailee? It is Rabbi Meir.

The Gemara raises a difficulty: But didn’t we hear that Rabbi Meir said the opposite, as it is taught in a baraita: With regard to a renter, whose halakha is not stated in the Torah, how does he pay, i.e., in which cases is he liable to pay? Rabbi Meir says: He pays in the same cases as an unpaid bailee; Rabbi Yehuda says he pays in the same cases as a paid bailee. The Gemara explains: Rabba bar Avuh teaches this baraita in the opposite manner to the version here.

The Gemara asks a question with regard to the accepted number of bailees: If so, that the same halakha applies to a renter and a paid bailee, why does the tanna say that there are four bailees? They are only three. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said that the mishna should be understood as follows: There are four types of bailees, whose halakhot are three.

§ The Gemara relates: There was a certain shepherd who was herding animals on the bank of the Pappa River, when one of them slipped and fell into the water and drowned. He came before Rabba, and Rabba exempted him from payment. Rabba stated the following reasoning in support of his ruling: What could he have done? A drowning of this kind is a circumstance beyond his control, and although a shepherd is a paid bailee he is exempt from liability in circumstances beyond his control.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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