Bava Metziah

Bava Metziah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah, Chapter One, Mishnayoth One and Two   Introduction The first two mishnayoth of Bava Metzia deal with cases where two people both claim ownership over an object which they are jointly holding.   Mishnah One 1)                     If two people are grasping a cloak:  One says, “I found it” and the other says, “I […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3 – 4

Bava Metziah Chapter One Mishnayoth Three and Four   Introduction The third and fourth mishnah of our chapter deal with ownership disputes in which two people lay claim to a found object.   Mishnah Three 1)                     If a man was riding on a beast and saw lost property and said to his fellow, “Give it […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5 – 6

Bava Metziah, Chapter One, Mishnayoth Five and Six   Introduction Mishnah five deals with the issue of ownership over lost objects found by a man’s children or wife. Mishnah six (and the remainder of the chapter) deals with returning lost documents to their owners.   Mishnah Five 1)                     That which is found by a man’s […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 1, Mishnah 7 – 8

Bava Metziah Chapter One Mishnayoth Seven and Eight   Introduction Mishnayoth seven and eight continue to deal with returning lost documents, a topic which was also discussed in the previous mishnah.   Mishnah Seven If a man found bills of divorce, or writs of emancipation or wills, or deeds of gifts, or receipts, he should […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 10, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah, Chapter Ten, Mishnayoth One and Two   Introduction Chapter ten of Bava Metziah deals with laws concerning neighbors, a subject that the mishnah will continue to discuss in the first two chapters of Bava Batra (proving that originally these two tractates were part of one larger tractate which included Bava Kamma as well.  […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 10, Mishnah 3 – 4

Bava Metziah, Chapter Ten, Mishnayoth Three and Four   Introduction Mishnah three continues to deal with a situation in which one person owns the bottom story of a house and another owns the top story, and the house collapses.  In the scenario in this mishnah the owner of the bottom story refuses to rebuild his […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 10, Mishnah 5

Bava Metziah, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Five   Introduction Mishnah five can actually be divided into two distinct units:  sections one and two, and sections three through five.  The first unit begins with a situation in which one person’s wall fell into another’s garden.  Instead of clearing his fallen stones the owner of the wall wishes […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 10, Mishnah 6

Bava Metziah, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Six   Introduction The final mishnah of Bava Metziah deals with two people who own adjacent gardens, one garden being at a higher level than the other.  In other words the gardens were terraced.  The following illustration should help.    Upper Garden                                                        Wall                                                                                    Lower Garden   […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah Chapter Two Mishnayoth One and Two   Introduction The second chapter of Bava Metziah deals exclusively with returning lost objects.  According to Exodus 23:4 and Deuteronomy 22:1-4, a person has an obligation to return lost objects to their owner.  The mishnah is concerned with which objects are included in this obligation and with […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 10 – 11

Bava Metziah Chapter Two Mishnayoth Ten and Eleven   Introduction Mishnah ten deals with three subjects.  1)  Further defining what is a lost object.  2)  Potential conflicts between the commandment of returning lost objects and other commandments.  3)  The commandment mentioned in Exodus 23:5 to help a person whose ass has fallen under its burden.  […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3 – 4

Bava Metziah Chapter Two Mishnayoth Three and Four   Introduction In mishnayoth one and two we learned which lost objects a person may keep and which he must declare as lost.  In mishnah three we learn a third category:  objects that seem to be lost but may not be touched.  There are some things that […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5 – 6

Bava Metziah Chapter Two Mishnayoth Five and Six   Introduction Mishnah five is actually a midrash, an exegetical explanation, of Deuteronomy 22:3.  The midrash tells us general rules with regards to which items must be returned to the one who lost them. Mishnah six discusses how long a lost item must be proclaimed. As we […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 7

Bava Metziah Chapter Two Mishnah Seven   Introduction Mishnah seven deals with two subjects:  1)  Under what circumstances should the person return the lost object to the claimant?  2)  What should the finder do with the object if no one claims it?   Mishnah Seven 1)                     If he (the claimant) named what was lost but […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 2, Mishnah 8 – 9

Bava Metziah Chapter Two Mishnayoth Eight and Nine   Introduction Mishnah eight deals with a finder must care for the lost object while it is in his possession. Mishnah nine deals with the definition of lost objects which the finder must return.  The mishnah also deals with the finder’s rights to claim lost wages while […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Bava Metziah Chapter Three Mishnah One   Introduction According to the Mishnah there are four different types of guardians or people who have responsibility to watch over other people’s objects.  Each guardian has a different level of liability should the object be lost, damaged or die (if it was an animal).  The Torah discusses guardians […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 11 – 12

Bava Metziah Chapter Three Mishnayoth Eleven and Twelve   Introduction The final two mishnayoth of chapter three continue to deal with the laws of things left in another person’s guard.  Mishnah eleven deals with coins left for another person to guard.  Mishnah twelve deals with a guardian who uses something deposited with him, even though […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2 – 3

Bava Metziah Chapter Three Mishnayoth Two and Three   Introduction Mishnah two deals with the liability of a person who rents a cow and then subsequently loans the cow to someone else and the cow dies. Mishnah three deals with a person who admits to having stolen or otherwise received money from one of two […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4 – 6

Bava Metziah Chapter Three Mishnayoth Four, Five and Six   Introduction Mishnayoth four and five are very similar and we will therefore explain them together.  They both deal with two people who deposited something with a third person and subsequently one of them makes a false claim as to what he deposited. Mishnah six deals with […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 7 – 8

Bava Metziah Chapter Three Mishnayoth Seven and Eight   Introduction Mishnayoth seven and eight deal with the reductions in the quantity of certain deposited products (produce, wine, olive oil etc.) that a guardian is permitted to make when he returns the products to their owner.    Mishnah Seven 1)                     When a man leaves produce for […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 3, Mishnah 9 – 10

Bava Metziah Chapter Three Mishnayoth Nine and Ten   Introduction Mishnayoth nine and ten deal with a guardian’s permission to use an object which he is watching and the subsequent liability for the object should it be damaged after he used it.   Mishnah Nine 1)                     If a man left a jar with his fellow […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah Chapter Four Mishnah One and Two   Introduction The first two mishnayoth of chapter four deal with what constitutes the finalizing of a transaction of movable property (movable property includes things and animals and does not include land).  The importance of this halacha is that when the transaction is final neither side may […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 11 – 12

Bava Metziah Chapter Four Mishnayoth Eleven and Twelve   Introduction Mishnah eleven and the beginning of mishnah twelve deal with a seller’s mixing produce that comes from different fields or wine from different winepresses.  The potential problem is that the seller might mix good produce with bad produce in order to hide the bad produce […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3 – 4

Bava Metziah Chapter Four Mishnayoth Three and Four   Introduction In Leviticus 25:14 it states (JPS translation):  “When you sell property to your neighbor, or buy any from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another.”  From here the Rabbis learned that a person is not allowed to overcharge for certain items that had a […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 5 – 6

Bava Metziah Chapter Four Mishnayoth Five and Six   Introduction Mishnah five deals with the amount that may be missing in the weight of a coin before the use of the coin constitutes fraud. Mishnah six deals with how long a seller has to return a coin to the purchaser if the coin is missing […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 7 – 8

Bava Metziah Chapter Four Mishnayoth Seven and Eight   Introduction Mishnayoth seven and eight are not directly connected to the subject matter of the chapter.  Rather they both contain lists of laws that revolve around certain amounts of money.  Mishnah seven lists minimum amounts of money that are needed to enact certain laws.  Mishnah eight […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 4, Mishnah 9 – 10

Bava Metziah Chapter Four Mishnayoth Nine and Ten   Introduction Mishnah nine lists things to which the laws of fraud by overcharging do not apply. Mishnah ten deals with defrauding by spoken words.  This mishnah has nothing to do with the laws of sales but rather deals with things a person should not say to […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnah One   Introduction The fifth chapter of Bava Metziah deals with the Torah’s prohibition of lending money to another Jew with interest.  Leviticus 25:35-37 states (JPS translation):  “If your kinsman, being in straits, comes under your authority, and you hold him as though a resident alien, let him live by […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 10 – 11

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnayoth Ten and Eleven   Introduction The first half of mishnah ten deals with a person who strikes a bargain with another person that each will help the other to do some field work.  As we will see such an arrangement can be potentially usurious.  In the second half of the […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2 – 3

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnayoth Two and Three   Introduction Mishnayoth two and three continue to discuss things that are forbidden since they are forms of usury.   Mishnah Two 1)                     One who lends money to his fellow may not dwell in his courtyard for free or rent it from him at a reduced rate, […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnah Four   Introduction Mishnah four deals with business partnerships that are forbidden because one partner is in essence lending with interest to the other partner.   Mishnah Four 1)                     One may not set up a shopkeeper on the condition of receiving half the profit, or give him the money to […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5 – 6

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnayoth Five and Six   Introduction Mishnah five and the beginning of mishnah six continue to deal with business arrangements that are forbidden because they are usurious.  The remainder of mishnah six deals with lending with interest to gentiles.    Mishnah Five 1)                     One may evaluate cows and donkeys and anything […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 7

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnah Seven   Introduction Our mishnah teaches that one who wishes to advance money to a merchant in order for the merchant to provide him with produce at a later time may not fix a price for the purchase if the produce is not currently in the hands of the merchant […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8 – 9

Bava Metziah Chapter Five Mishnayoth Eight and Nine   Introduction Mishnayoth eight and nine deal with a person who lends produce in order to receive produce in return.  As we have learned previously, if after the loan the value of the type of produce rises, for instance at the time of the loan wheat was […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah Chapter Six Mishnayoth One and Two   Introduction The sixth and most of the seventh chapters of Bava Metziah deal with various employment laws.  The two mishnayoth which will we learn today discuss the consequences of employers or employees reneging.   Mishnah One 1)                     If one hired craftsmen and they deceived each other, […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 3

Bava Metziah Chapter Six Mishnah Three   Introduction Mishnah three deals with one who hires an donkey to carry a load in a certain type of terrain and then takes the donkey to a different terrain, against the terms of the contract.    Mishnah Three 1)                     If one hires a donkey to drive it through […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 4 – 5

Bava Metziah Chapter Six Mishnayoth Four and Five   Introduction The two mishnayoth which we will learn today continue to discuss the main topic of the chapter:  breaches of contract. Mishnah four deals with one who hires a cow to plow on a certain type of terrain and then uses the cow for a different […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 6, Mishnah 6 – 8

Bava Metziah Chapter Six Mishnayoth Six, Seven and Eight   Introduction Mishnah six deals with the legal liability of craftsmen: as paid or unpaid guardians.  It also contains several other laws with regards to paid and unpaid guardians.  Mishnah seven deals with the liability of a lender vis a vis the pledge he took to […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 1

Bava Metziah Chapter Seven Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah of chapter seven deals with the obligation to follow local customs in employee/employer practices.    Mishnah One 1)                     If one hired laborers and told them to work early or to work late, he has no right to compel them to do so where the […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 10 – 11

Bava Metziah, Chapter Seven, Mishnayoth Ten and Eleven   Introduction The beginning of mishnah ten continues to discuss the definition of an unavoidable accident for which a hirer or an unpaid guardian are not liable.  The second half of mishnah ten deals with a guardian who makes a stipulation to lower his level of liability. […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 2 – 3

Bava Metziah Chapter Seven Mishnayoth Two and Three   Introduction In Deuteronomy 23:25-26 we learn that a person who is in another’s field or vineyard has a right to eat directly from the fruit of the field.  However, he may not harvest the grapes or grain and put them in his basket in order to […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 4 – 5

Bava Metziah, Chapter Seven, Mishnayoth Four and Five   Introduction The two mishnayoth which we will learn today continue to discuss a worker’s right to eat from the produce with which he is working.   Mishnah Four 1)                     If one was working with figs he may not eat grapes, and if among grapes he may […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 6 – 7

Bava Metziah, Chapter Seven, Mishnayoth Six and Seven   Introduction Mishnah six deals with a person’s legal right to strike a deal with the employer on behalf of the other members of his household.  Mishnah seven deals with workers hired to work with food which they may not eat since it has not had the […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 7, Mishnah 8 – 9

Bava Metziah, Chapter Seven, Mishnayoth Eight and Nine   Introduction The first line of mishnah eight introduces the laws concerning of guardians, which will continue to be the topic throughout the remainder of the chapter and the beginning of chapter eight.  Some of these laws were discussed in chapter three of Bava Metziah.   Mishnah […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 8, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah, Chapter Eight, Mishnayoth One and Two   Introduction The first mishnah of chapter eight deals with a specific law which is applicable only to borrowers:  if the owners were rented or borrowed with their animals, for instance a donkey driver with his donkey, then the borrowers or renters are not obligated if the […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 8, Mishnah 3 – 4

Bava Metziah, Chapter Eight, Mishnayoth Three and Four   Introduction Mishnah three deals with a lender who uses an agent to deliver the object to be borrowed to the borrower. Mishnah four deals with disputes in sales where it is either unknown whether the cow being sold gave birth before it was sold (in which […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 8, Mishnah 5 – 6

Bava Metziah, Chapter Eight, Mishnayoth Five and Six   Introduction Mishnah five deals with a situation where one sold olive trees to another person to cut them down as firewood, but he did not sell the land.  The issue is to whom do the olives belong:  to the one who owns the trees or to […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 8, Mishnah 7 – 9

Bava Metziah, Chapter Eight, Mishnayoth Seven, Eight and Nine   Introduction The final three mishnayoth of chapter eight continue to deal with the laws of renting houses. Mishnah seven deals with what “extras” are included in the standard rental of a house.  Mishnah eight deals with a person who rents a house for a year […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 1 – 2

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine, Mishnayoth One and Two   Introduction Most of the ninth chapter deals with arrangements between a field owner and his sharecropper, i.e. one who works the field and in return provides the owner with a fixed amount of produce (either through a percentage of the crops or a fixed amount).  The […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 11 – 12

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine,  Mishnayoth Eleven and Twelve   Introduction Deuteronomy 24:14-15 and Leviticus 19:13, both command that a worker’s wages must be paid on the same day, before the sun sets.  These verses deal directly with one who works during the day, presumably on a daily wage.  Mishnah eleven deals with workers who work […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 13

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Thirteen   Introduction The final mishnah of chapter nine discusses the laws concerning a creditor’s taking of a pledge from a borrower. A pledge is an object probably worth about the value of the loan.  The borrower actually gives the pledge to the lender before receiving the loan.  It is […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 3 – 4

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine, Mishnayoth Three and Four   Introduction Mishnah three deals with a sharecropper who receives a field and subsequently decides that he doesn’t want to work the field.  Mishnah four deals with a sharecropper who doesn’t want to weed the field.   Mishnah Three If one leased a field from his fellow […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 5 – 6

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine, Mishnayoth Five and Six   Introduction Mishnah five deals with a sharecropper whose crops are not ruined but nevertheless produce an extremely low yield.  The question is asked must the sharecropper harvest the crop even though the effort will not be worth the yield.  Mishnah six deals with a sharecropper’s liability […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 7 – 8

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine, Mishnayoth Seven and Eight   Introduction Mishnayoth seven and eight continue to deal with laws concerning sharecroppers.  Mishnah seven teaches that the sharecropper is obligated to pay back the owner with the produce grown in the rented field (and not produce grown somewhere else) and that the owner is obligated to […]

Bava Metziah, Chapter 9, Mishnah 9 – 10

Bava Metziah, Chapter Nine, Mishnayoth Nine and Ten   Introduction Mishnah nine states some legal differences with regards to the rights of a sharecropper who receives a field for less than seven years versus one who receives the field for more than seven years. Mishnah ten deals with the issue of including the sabbatical year […]

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Learn one Mishnah each day with the Conservative Yeshiva's Mishnah Yomit, prepared by faculty member Dr. Joshua Kulp.