Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 45a
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תלמוד בבלי, גיטין מה
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מתני'. אין פודין את השבויין יתר על כדי דמיהן, מפני תיקון העולם; ואין מבריחין את השבויין, מפני תיקון העולם; רשב"ג אומר: מפני תקנת השבויין. גמ'. איבעיא להו: האי מפני תיקון העולם - משום דוחקא דצבורא הוא, או דילמא משום דלא לגרבו ולייתו טפי? ת"ש: דלוי בר דרגא פרקא לברתיה בתליסר אלפי דינרי זהב. אמר אביי: ומאן לימא לן דברצון חכמים עבד? דילמא שלא ברצון חכמים עבד.
MISHNAH – captives should not be redeemed for more than their value, to prevent abuses. Captives should not be helped to escape, to prevent abuses. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says [that the reason is] to prevent the ill-treatment of fellow captives. GEMARA. The question was raised: Does this prevention of abuses relate to the burden which may be imposed on the community or to the possibility that the activities [of the bandits] may be stimulated? — Come and hear: Levi b. Darga ransomed his daughter for thirteen thousand denarii of gold. Said Abaye: But are you sure that he acted with the consent of the Sages? Perhaps he acted against the will of the Sages.
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. What type of abuses do you think the rabbis were trying to prevent?

2. Do you think the prevention of abuses relate to the financial burden on the community of paying large ransoms or to the possibility that paying large ransoms may encourage further taking of captives?

3. Is it fair to ask people to refrain from ransoming their loved ones, to prevent further kidnappings?

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Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)