Bava Metzia 91 - Paying for muzzling


When one muzzles an animal and then threshes with it, he is liable to get lashes for this. (Of course, part of this law is that he must be warned a few seconds before the act, and he should reply to the witnesses that he accepts the lashes and does it nevertheless). He must also recompense by paying four kavs (6 liters) for a cow and three kavs for a donkey. Who does he pay the money to? To the owner of the cow, who expected that his cow will eat while threshing. But why should it be so? The rule is that one does not receive lashes and pay money for the same act!

One proof is from the case of a son whose mother is a prostitute and who pays for her services with a sheep. Since the son is liable to the death penalty for incest, he is not obligated to pay. Therefore the sheep that he gave her should be considered a present, not a payment. Since the Torah nevertheless forbade that sheep as a sacrifice, it must be that he is obligated to pay to fulfill his moral duty, only that it is not enforceable in court. So too is the case of muzzling - he is obligated to pay, even though the court cannot force him.

Art: Grazing Sheep with a Shepherdess Beyond by Charles Jacque