כ״ו באייר ה׳תשע״ו (June 3, 2016)

Bava Kamma 3a-b: The Category of Eating

As we learned on yesterday’s daf, the Mishna (2a) taught that there are four types of avot nezikin­. Generally speaking, if there is a list of avot, we anticipate that there will be toladot – “offspring” i.e. types of damage that are similar – but not identical – to that of the avot – for which the owner will be responsible, as well.

Our Gemara offers some examples of damages that are the toladot of shen (damage done by the animal when it eats). Shen is defined as a situation where the animal derives benefit or pleasure from its action, and where the animal belongs to a person who is responsible to guard it and make sure that it does not do damage to other people’s property. Included in the toladot are situations where an animal rubs against a wall to scratch itself and does damage to the wall (nit’hakekhah ba-kotel la-hana’atah) or dirties fruit, getting pleasure by doing so (tinfah perot la-hana’atah).

Rashi explains this last case of tinfah perot la-hana’atah as being a situation where the animal rolls on the fruit, dirtying it and ruining it. Rabbeinu Hananel offers a different explanation of the case, suggesting that the animal relieved itself on the fruit, which dirtied and ruined it; had the animal refrained from relieving itself on the fruit, it would have been uncomfortable. This difference of opinion is indicative of a basic disagreement about the definition of shen. According to Rashi’s approach, the animal must get pleasure from the object that it is damaging. According to Rabbeinu Hananel, any case where the animal derives pleasure while doing the damage would be considered a tolada of shen.

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