Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Yevamos 31: Everyday Insanity

On this daf, we find the case of bar shatya. This person was considered something of a halachic shoteh, since at times he was like a normal person, while at other times he was not in his right mind. If he sold land that he had inherited and then claimed that he was not in his right mind when he did so, does the sale take effect?

The answer is that the buyer must prove that he was in his right mind at the time of the sale, since he is trying to take what was clearly in the bar shatya’s domain. The Biur Halacha rules like our Gemara that if one wants to count someone like a bar shatya for a minyan, it only works when he is in his right mind. When he is not, he is no different from any shoteh who may not be one of the ten men of a minyan.

Yet, this person imparts a somber lesson to us all. Are we balanced when it comes to our pride or someone who wants to do things differently than we do? The honest answer is, “Not always.” In a certain way, everyone has some craziness to him. In light of this, we see that we are all similar to a bar shatya.

When a certain unwell person made his way into the Chazon Ish’s room, the gadol listened to his tirade for over forty minutes. When the people in his household noticed this crazy man leaving, they wondered why the gadol had suffered so much on his account. He must have realized that he was dealing with an unbalanced person at the outset of his diatribe. “Why didn’t you tell us that he was pestering you? We would have made sure that this man did not disturb you,” they insisted.

The Chazon Ish gave a startling reply. “But why shouldn’t he receive my attention which he obviously craves? Although he is crazy, aren’t we all in our own way? His craziness takes a particularly acute form, but everyone has something regarding which he is really disturbed. Why should I censure him for merely being crazy like the rest of us?” (Maaseh Ish).

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