ה׳ באלול ה׳תשע״ו (September 8, 2016)

Bava Kamma 100a-b: Dyeing Wool

The Mishna on today’s daf discusses cases where someone gave wool to a dyer to color, and the wool was not dyed properly. According to the Mishna in the case of hikdiho yorah – if the wool was boiled at too high a temperature and was burned – the wool is considered entirely ruined, and full restitution will need to be made to the owner. If the dye came out uneven, the owner will pay either the added value of the poorly dyed wool or the dyer’s expenses – whichever is less. If he dyed it the wrong color entirely, Rabbi Me’ir rules that full restitution must be made to the owner; Rabbi Yehuda rules that the owner will pay the lesser value of either the added value of the newly dyed wool or the dyer’s expenses.

The Ra’avad explains the difference between Rabbi Me’ir and Rabbi Yehuda as being based on two different outlooks about the relationship between the owner and the dyer. According to Rabbi Me’ir, by going against the instructions of the wool’s owner, he gets the status of a thief, and takes possession of the “stolen” object, for which he must pay. Rabbi Yehuda believes that he remains an employee, albeit one that does not deserve to be fully paid for his substandard work.

Regarding Rabbi Yehuda’s position, the Maggid Mishna understands Rashi as ruling similarly to the position of the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna – that the owner has the option of demanding full restitution of the value of the wool. The Rambam in his Mishneh Torah (Hilkhot Sekhirut 10:4) does not accept this position, since he rules that there is no opportunity for the worker to take possession of the object through his work – en uman koneh be-shevah keli. Thus the owner will pay either the increased value of the wool or the worker’s expenses – whichever is less.

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