Daf Yomi

For the week ending 2 January 2010 / 15 Tevet 5770

Bava Basra 135 - 141

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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After You!

The Case: A woman owned a date palm which was located on the grounds of Rabbi Bibi bar Abaye. Since she upset him every time she passed through his grounds to pick the fruit she decided to give him the tree as a present for as long as he lived, after which it would revert back to her or her heirs. Rabbi Bibi accepted the gift and in turn presented it as a gift to his young son.
The Ruling: Rabbi Huna the son of Rabbi Yehoshua ruled that the gift which Rabbi Bibi made to his son entitled him only to enjoy the fruits of the tree for as long as Rabbi Bibi lived, after which it would revert back to the woman and her family.
The Problem: When someone gives away something to another and stipulates that after the recipient's lifetime ownership transfers to another designated party, this second party only has a claim if the property is still in the possession of the first recipient when he dies. If he sold or gave away this property, however, the second party has no claim to it. Why then do we not apply this rule to the case of Rabbi Bibi and deny the woman's family any claim to the tree?


When a person gives away property entirely, retaining no rights to it, we interpret his gift to the second designated recipient as being contingent on the first one not using it up. But when the giver designates himself as the second recipient, as in the case of the woman and Rabbi Bibi, the intention is to regain ownership after that recipient's lifetime and the gift made by that recipient to his son is valid only as long as Rabbi Bibi is alive.

  • Bava Basra 137a

Mazel Tov - It's a Girl!

When a girl is the first child born, says Rabbi Chisda, it is a good sign for the sons who will follow. Two reasons are offered in the Gemara:

  1. She helps raise the younger children
  2. She prevents the "evil eye" of envy from affecting the family.

The second reason, explains Maharsha, relates to the inheritance which her brothers share equally because she is the first born. Had a son been the first born he would receive a double portion of the inheritance, inviting upon himself the begrudging evil eye of those who see him gain so large an inheritance and the envy of his brothers who have received a smaller share of the estate.

  • Bava Basra 141a

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