Bava Kamma 50: Good Intentions and Their Unintended Consequences

Today’s daf BK 50, talks about liability for digging pits in the public and private domains. There is a strange discussion which talks about Nechunya taking upon himself to dig a pit in the public domain and then announcing this pit is for water gathering/water use. The Talmud pronounces him “patur” or exempt from liability.

Huh? the guy digs a pit in the area that he does not own and then says, its for all. Who gives him that right? and on top of that, he is free of liability? Makes no sense.

The next fragment tells a story about Nechuna’s daughter who falls into a pit full of water. She is ultimately saved. The fragment also tells us that the son dies of thirst.

Strange, the Braise tells us Nechunya acted according. His act was righteous. Nevertheless, he suffers greatly. The short answer is maybe the following: Don’t be so holy. Don’t be so righteous. The old expression no good deed goes unpunished means that be careful EVEN in your good deeds. Even good deeds have unintended consequences. The Braise would not hold him responsible for liability for the pit. To SD is is unclear whether the Talmud (by that I mean Artscroll). Really thinks this was such a great thing.

The take away. Do small and quiet acts of kindness, take baby steps in building great things.

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1 Response to Bava Kamma 50: Good Intentions and Their Unintended Consequences

  1. Jonathan says:

    I would say the SDit is highly qualified to state is such. He does more for chesed when no one is looking than most people to when they’re up front and center.
    Kol HaKavod for all your efforts!

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