Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Bava Metzia 59

Bava Metzia 59 reads more like Pirkei Avos than a page from Seder Nezikin. Within the discussion of being careful about ona'as devarim, the gemara offers real advice as to how to properly deal with one's spouse.

Some of the pearls on the daf include Rav telling us that a man should be careful not to speak in a mean fashion to one's wife, since she cries easily and Hashem will punish you quickly if you unnecessarily hurt her feelings. I refer to this as the screen door rule.

The gemara then quotes Rav who seemingly states a contradictory rule that one who follows his wife's advice will wind up in gehinnom. The gemara asks about this seeming conflict with another expression that the man with a short wife should bend down to hear what she has to say. The gemara resolves the contradiction by stating that when a woman tells you how things should be done in the home, you should listen to her.

One final interesting statement about dealing with one's family comes from R' Yehuda, who states that one should always be careful to have enough produce in the home, since fighting generally revolves around produce. R' Papa then comments that this is the root for the colloquialism that when the produce is gone, the fighting begins.

A gentleman who was not a native English speaker who was present at my daf yomi group asked, what does the above statement mean. We explained it to him using modern terminology - always make sure that there is money in the checking account, because the fighting begins when you start bouncing checks.

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