If you have a bi-directional relation between two classes Hibernate "thinks" it has to maintain both sides of relation. So each operation on the relation would lead to two SQL-statements. If you declare one side as "inverse" (by using mappedBy), Hibernate ignores changes made on that side.
I recommend reading "Java Persistence with Hibernate" which is a really great book about Hibernate. All the questions on Hibernate you posted are answered in that book.
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