SHIUR SUPPLEMENT #4: DAF 4a
A. Rav bar Achva de-Rav Chiya [lines 1-5] Rav was the nephew of Rav Chiya through both his father and his mother. Rav Chiya's half-brother [from his father's side] was married to his half-sister [from his mother's side], there being no blood relationship between the two [see Rashi s.v. Rav bar...]. Rav avoided directly telling Rav Chiya that the two of them had passed away in keeping with the dictum: "He who utters evil tidings is a fool" [Mishlei 10:18]. When Rav Chiya asked him if his father was still alive, he replied: "Why do you not inquire if my mother is still alive?" When Rav Chiya then asked him about his mother, he replied: "Why do you not inquire if my father is still alive?" [This is in keeping with the first explanation of Rashi s.v. Aybu Kayam.] From this interchange, Rav Chiya was able to infer that both his brother and his sister had, in fact, passed away, and he proceeded to mourn for them by taking off his shoes.
B. Amar lei le-shamei [lines 3-9] Rav Chiya ordered his servant to take off his shoes for him as a sign of mourning. However, he then proceeded to the bath-house even though it is forbidden for a mourner to take a bath.
From the conduct of Rav Chiya, we can learn three laws that pertain to mourning:
1. A mourner is forbidden to wear shoes.
2. A relative who hears of his loss more than thirty days after it has occurred [shemu'a rechoka] mourns for only one day, as opposed to the customary seven-day period of mourning [shiv'a].
3. In such a case, one need mourn only part of the day and it is considered as if he had mourned for the entire day [miktzat ha-yom ke-kulo].
B. Akif yama asisni birata [lines 11-13] There was a cartain man who expressed his love for the sea-shore by frequently exclaiming: "By the sea shore would I build my palaces!" His genealogy was investigated and it was found that he was descended from the tribe of Zevulun who have an affinity for the sea. [His particular mode of speech identified his anscestry.]
C. Ve-chi teima zerizin makdimim le-mitzvot [lines 18-21] The gemara is puzzled by the fact that we are required to search for chametz on the eve of the 14th, when the prohibition to have chametz in one's possession begins only at midday the next day. Even if we were to apply the dictum: "The zealous fulfil their duties as soon as possible" this would not explain why we check so much in advance. It is from Avraham that we learn the importance of fulfilling a commandment as soon as possible and he did not set out to offer up his son [the Akeida] at night; rather he waited until morning [Bereishit 22].
D. Ha-maskir bayit le-chavero [lines 28-31] If a person rents out a house on the 14th of Nissan, is the owner responsible to check for chametz or the tenant? According to Rashi [s.v. chovat ha-dar] we are dealing with a scenario where the owner has already nullified the chametz [bittul] and there is only a rabbinic obligation to check for chametz. The gemara wants to know: Whom did the Rabbanan obligate to check the house for chametz ?
E. Mezuza chovat ha-dar [line 34] It is the responsibility of the inhabitant of a house to affix a mezuza, not the person who is legally responsible for the house. Therefore, we cannot deduce from the law of mezuza that it is the tenant who is responsible to check for chametz, just as he is responsible to affix a mezuza.
F. Im ud se-lo masar ha-mafteichot [lines 36-38] In every transaction, there is a specific action that be performed in order to effect the transaction. This is termed a "ma'ase kinyan". For example, one cannot aquire a moveable object through the transfer of money. A physical action, such as picking up the object must be performed.
According to Rashi [s.v. mesirat maftei'ach] the owner legally transfers the possession of the house to the tenant by handing him the keys. Therefore, if the keys were handed over before the 14th, it is the responsibility of the tenant to check for chametz, as the house was under his jurisdiction when the obligation of bedika began. If, however, the keys had not yet been handed over when the obligation to check began, then it is the responsibility of the owner to do bedika.
G. Tosafot s.v. Im According to Tosafot one cannot legally transfer possession of a house by handing over the keys. Our gemara is dealing with a scenario where the house was still in the possession of the owner. However, only the person who has the keys is able to access the house and, therefore, it is he who is responsible to check for chametz.
H. Ha-maskir bayit le-chavero be-arba'a assar [lines 39-41] The gemara has established that it is the owner's responsibility to check for chametz if he had not handed over the keys by the beginning of the 14th. The question now arises: If the tenant rented the house on the 14th, can he take it for granted that it has been checked for chametz [assuming there is no possibility of asking the owner whether or not he did bedika] ?