Paying for Humiliation – Bava Kamma 86



Rav Abba bar Mammal inquired: What would be the halachah if someone insulted someone while he (the victim) was sleeping, and then he died (without ever realizing that he was insulted)?


Rav Zevid explains the inquiry as follows: Does the assailant pay for embarrassment because the victim is insulted, and since in this case, he died before waking and was never insulted, no payment should is required, or is the payment perhaps on account of the public degradation, and since here there was degradation, he should be liable?


The Gemora cites a braisa: Rebbe says that a deaf-mute is subject to be paid for embarrassment. A deranged person is not subject to be paid for embarrassment. Regarding a minor, it depends.


Rav Pappa explains: If the minor is old enough that if he is reminded of some insult, he feels embarrassed, he will be paid for embarrassment. However, if when reminded, he still is not embarrassed, he is not subject to be paid for embarrassment.


It is noteworthy that the Gemora in Rosh Hashanah discusses a case where someone at times is normal and at times, he is deranged. It is some sort of bipolar disorder where he cycles on and off from “normal” to “abnormal.” Reb Avi Lebovitz wonders what the halachah would be If one embarrassed this person when he was deranged, but later he becomes normal and is embarrassed about what happened, would the assailant be responsible? Do we say that since at the time that the act was done he was deranged, the assailant is exempt, or do we say that since the obligation for paying embarrassment is for the feeling of humiliation, the assailant should be liable?