Thursday, September 19, 2019

Keritut 28: Can Rav have resolved a question on Rav Chisda?

Yesterday, in Daf Yomi, we finished Krisus. There is an interesting emendation there, on Keritot 28a, from Rav to either Rava or Rabba, which appears motivated by scholastic generational concerns.

First, the gemara:

אמר רב חסדא אין הקינין מתפרשות אלא אי בלקיחת בעלים אי בעשיית כהן
§ Rav Ḥisda says: Nests, i. e., pairs of birds, are designated, one as a burnt offering and one as a sin offering, only in the following manner: Either by the owner at the time of purchase or, if the owner did not designate the birds at that stage, by the priest at the time of sacrifice.

Note that Rav Chisda is a 3rd generation Amora. Rav Shimi bar Ashi clarifies Rav Chisda's position, the gemara raises an objection to Rav Chisda based on a brayta. Then:
אמר רב הכי קאמר ומה במקום שלא קידש הגורל בלקיחת בעלים ובעשיית הכהן קידש השם אי בלקיחת בעלים אי בעשיית כהן כאן שיקדש הגורל שלא בלקיחה ושלא בעשייה אינו דין שיקדש השם אי בלקיחה אי בעשייה
Rav said that this is what the baraita is say ing: And if in a place where the drawing of a lot, either by the owner at the time of purchase or by the priest at the time of sacrifice, does not sanctify an animal with a specific designation, and nevertheless a verbal designation of the name, either by the owner at the time of purchase or by the priest at the time of sacrifice, does sanctify it with a specific designation; here, with regard to the two goats, where the drawing of a lot that does not take place at the time of purchase nor at the time of sacrifice sanctifies the animal with a specific designation, is it not logical that verbally designating the name, either at the time of purchase or at the time of sacrifice, should sanctify it with a specific designation?

Koren / Sefaria preserve the reading of Rav. Artscroll follows an emendation to Rava and notes an alternate emendation (Shita Meubettzet) to Rabba. The person who gave the daf yomi shiur explained that this was because Rav here doesn't make sense, since Rav was 1st generation and Rav Chisda was 3rd generation.

Indeed, Hachi Garsinan has these variants:

However, I don't think that Rav is impossible here. Indeed, the graph for Mivami shows that Rav Chisda was a student of Rav. Rav was his rebbe muvhak, and after Rav's death, Rav Chisda studied under Rav Huna.

On the other hand, besides chronological feasibility, there is another dimension to this question. This has to do with roles. In some of our disambiguation algorithms (in progress), we look to categorize people (and disambiguate between several people with the same name), on the basis of coocurrence. And one aspect that jumped out was that the same person really has multiple identities.

For instance, Rav Chisda (who is unambiguous) still has three identities:

1) the young Rav Chisda, interacting with his teachers
2) the middle-aged (? maybe same as above) Rav Chisda, interacting with his colleagues
3) the old Rav Chisda, interacting with his students

Here, Rav Chisda (A3, but also earlier) had a position, which was explained by Rav Shimi bar Ashi, who is the generation after Abaye and Rava. So, Rav Chisda is assuming role #3. The anonymous gemara challenges his position based on a brayta. We would expect Rava, who is A4, to resolve this challenge, much more than Rav Chisda's teacher.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Temurah 25b: Rabbi Eleazar protested directly

In Temurah 25b, there is a rather telling exchange. As follows:
מתקיף לה רבא ממאי דטעמא דרבי יוחנן אם שיירו משוייר דלמא היינו טעמא דרבי יוחנן דאדם מתכפר בשבח הקדש

אמר ליה רב המנונא רבי אלעזר תלמידיה דרבי יוחנן ויתיב לקמיה דרבי יוחנן ולא אהדר ליה האי שינויא ואת אמרת טעמא דרבי יוחנן משום דאדם מתכפר בשבח הקדש

That is, on 25a, Rabbi Yochanan (A2) stated a halacha. Rabbi Eleazar ben Pedat (A3) raised an objection, based on an assumed underlying reason for Rabbi Yochanan's halacha. And lots of turbulence happens from there.

Ultimately, Rava (A4) objects that perhaps Rabbi Yochanan's underlying reasoning is different, so that the objection is without basis. Rav Hamnuna II (A3). of the previous generation and contemporary with Rabbi Eleazar ben Pedat, fills in that Rabbi Eleazar ben Pedat (A3) was the student of Rabbi Yochanan (A2), and when he objected, he objected while sitting before Rabbi Yochanan. As such, the underlying reasoning was made manifest, and Rabbi Yochanan's silence in response is evidence that Rabbi Yochanan agreed that this was his reasoning.

This is an excellent example of how knowing who the people are, and how they are related, can make all the difference in understanding the sugya. Luckily, Rav Hamnuna was there to assist.

In terms of the graphs and identities, I am a bit disappointed with the current version in PROD, in this sugya. We guessed wrong as to which Rav Hamnuna this was, and said it was Rav Hamnuna I, who was A2. Based on his interaction with Rava, Rav Hamnuna II, A3, makes a lot more sense. We also should add this explicit teacher / student relation of Rabbi Eleazar ben Pedat - Rabbi Yochanan, which is missing.

But changes are on the horizon!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Arakin 4: Ambiguous antecedent - to whom did Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai speak?

In today's daf yomi, Arakhin 4, we see the following conversation:

דתנן אמר רבי יהודה העיד בן בוכרי ביבנה כל כהן ששוקל אינו חוטא
 As we learned in a mishna ( Shekalim 1: 4) that Rabbi Yehuda said that ben Bukhri testified before the Sages in Yavne: Any priest who contributes the half- shekel for communal offerings is not considered a sinner, despite the fact that he is not obligated to contribute.
אמר לו רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לא כן אלא כל כהן שאינו שוקל חוטא אלא שהכהנים דורשין מקרא זה לעצמן וכל מנחת כהן כליל תהיה לא תאכל
Rabbi Yehuda added that Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to ben Bukhri: That is not the case; rather, any priest who does not contribute his half- shekel is considered a sinner, as they are obligated in this mitzva like all other Jews. But with regard to the priests who do not contribute the half-shekel, in order to excuse themselves from the mitzva they interpret this verse to their ownadvantage:“ And every meal offering of the priest shall be wholly made to smoke; it shall not be eaten” (Leviticus 6:16).

Who is לו in the phrase אמר לו רבן יוחנן בן זכאי? The two possibilities are:

a) Rabbi Yehuda
b) Ben Buchri

Koren, and therefore Sefaria, get this right. The English translation makes it clear that this second statement is a continued speech by Rabbi Yehuda, and that Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai's reaction to is ben Buchri himself.

Artscroll, meanwhile, has it as "Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai said to [Rabbi Yehuda]." This seems unlikely.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Arakhin 2b: Who does Yochanan ben Dahavai cite?

Today, in Daf Yomi, we started Arakhin. In the beginning of Arakhin, the Stam goes through various Mishnayot, asking each time the purpose of the inclusive language of HaKol. On Arakhin 2b, we encounter the following:

לאיתויי סומא באחת מעיניו ודלא כי האי תנא
The Gemara answers: It serves to add one who is blind in one of his eyes, and teaches that he is obligated to appear in the Temple, whereas one who is entirely blind is exempt. The Gemara notes: And this ruling is not in accordance with the opinion of this tanna, Rabbi Yehuda.
דתניא יוחנן בן דהבאי אומר משום רבי יהודה סומא באחת מעיניו פטור מן הראייה שנאמר יראה יראה כדרך שבא לראות כך בא ליראות מה לראות בשתי עיניו אף ליראות בשתי עיניו
As it is taught in a baraita that Yoḥanan ben Dahavai says in the name of Rabbi Yehuda: One who is blind in one of his eyes is exempt from the mitzva of appearance, as it is stated:“ Three times in the year all your males shall appear [yera’eh] before the Lord God” (Exodus 23:17). According to the way in which the verse is written, without vocalization, it can be read as yireh, meaning: Shall see, instead of yera’eh, meaning:Shall appear. This teaches that in the same manner that one comes to see, so he comes to appear, i. e., to be seen: Just as the usual way to see is with both of one’s eyes, so too, the obligation to appear applies only to one who comes with the sight of both his eyes. This is one possible explanation for what is added by the general statement of the mishna in Ḥagiga 2a, according to Ravina.

According to the highlighting, Yochanan ben Dahavai is a 4th generation Tanna. Rabbi Yehuda, who without patronymic refers to Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai, is a 5th generation Tanna. Is seems strange for the former to cite the latter.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Yochanan ben Dahavai, at least according to my biographical data (e.g. Who's Who In The Talmud), is a student of Yehuda ben Tema, a 4th generation Tanna:

If so, the easiest to do would be to add the patronymic "ben Tema", and to assume that the absence is due to scribal error akin to dittography. Repeatedly in the sections above, certain positions were taken to be not that of Rabbi Yehuda, and there, the reference was to Rabbi Yehuda beRabbi Ilai. It is understandable, then, for the "ben Tema" to be accidentally dropped here.

Looking at the parallel text in Sanhedrin 2a, it appears that they do have Ben Tema:

דתניא יוחנן בן דהבאי אומר משום רבי יהודה בן תימא הסומא בא' מעיניו פטור מן הראיה שנא' יראה יראה כדרך שבא לראות כך בא ליראות מה לראות בשתי עיניו אף ליראות בשתי עיניו

It is difficult to say that occurrences in Chagiga, Arakhin, in Yerushalmi, and in the source Tosefta that they are citing all made the same error. Maybe it is just OK to leave out the patronymic, and people would have understood based on context which Rabbi Yehuda was intended; and only Sanhedrin added it.

This, of course, operates under the assumption that my biographical data is correct.

Now, looking at Toledot Tannaim vaAmoraim, volume 2, page 547, I see that he has a discussion:

He mentions that, though in our printed texts in Arakhin we lack it, the patronymic ben Tama does appear in Dikdukei Soferim.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Was Rabbi Yaakov the grandson of Acher?

Yesterday we finished mashechet Chullin in Daf Yomi, and there (Chullin 142a), Rav Yosef asserts that the Tanna Rabbi Yaakov was the grandson of Acher, that is, Elisha ben Avuya,

As background, while the Mishna (Rabbi Meir) implies that Biblical verses discussing reward of long life for fulfilling precepts were meant literally, about life in this world, a brayta has Rabbi Yaakov explaining this as referring to reward in the world-to-come. According to the Munich manuscript and various Vatican manuscripts, as well as Rashi, the gemara ends there. But there is a haavara -- a transferred sugya -- from a gemara in Kiddushin 39b.

There, we see an incident of one who was sent by his father to send away the mother bird and died while descending. Thus, the verse cannot be taken literally. The gemara proceeds to suggest that this was an actual, rather than theoretical incident. After a long discussion, the gemara in Chullin ends:

אמר רב יוסף אלמלא דרשיה אחר להאי קרא כרבי יעקב בר ברתיה לא חטא מאי חזא איכא דאמרי כי האי מעשה חזא ואיכא דאמרי לישנא דרבי חוצפית המתורגמן חזא דהוה מוטלת באשפה אמר פה שהפיק מרגליות ילחוך עפר והוא לא ידע למען ייטב לך בעולם שכלו טוב ולמען יאריכון ימיך בעולם שכולו ארוך:
Rav Yosef said: Had Aḥer, literally Other, the appellation of the former Sage Elisha ben Avuya, interpreted homiletically this aforementioned verse: “That it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:16), as referring to the World-to-Come, as did Rabbi Ya’akov, the son of his daughter, he would not have sinned. The Gemara asks: What did Aḥer see that led him to heresy? Some say that he saw an incident like this one witnessed by Rabbi Ya’akov, and some say that he saw the tongue of Rabbi Ḥutzpit the disseminator, which was cast in a garbage dump after he was executed by the government. Aḥer said: Will a mouth that produced pearls of wisdom lick the dust? But he did not know that the phrase “that it may be well with you” means in the world where all is well, and that the phrase “that your days may be long” is referring to the world that is entirely long.
This is a great illustration of the motivating factor behind Mi Vami. Elisha ben Avuya became an apostate because of a specific incident, either the same (sort of) incident discussed earlier, or a similar one.

If so, perhaps we can understand that this personal history was what drove Rabbi Yaakov to his interpretation. As a grandson of Elisha ben Avuya, yet a religious man, he could not take the verse at its surface sense and yet could not dismiss Divine reward and punishment. He grappled with it and arrived at this interpretation.

However, I would point out that Rav Hyman in Toldot Tannaim veAmoraim dismisses this relationship. He writes:

That is, he asks where Rav Yosef got this biographical information, since there is no other reference to it in the Talmud. He dismisses the idea that this could have been a received tradition. More compellingly, he points out an incident in masechet Chagiga, where Rabbi Yehuda HaNasiwas approached by Acher's daughter, asking to be provided for. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi expresses surprise that there are descendants of Acher out and about. Yet, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was a student of Rabbi Yaakov, so why would he be surprised. Rav Hyman points out that a parallel Yerushalmi omits the words bar bartei, "the son of the daughter of". He concludes that this was a girsological error, and really the text read bar Karshay, which is the patronymic of Rabbi Yaakov.

If so, the familial / scholastic relationship has no bearing on the developed positions in this sugya.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

The aged Rav Avira, and the great Rebbi

A curious incident is related on Chullin 51a, in which Rav Avira appears. This Rav Avira is a scholar from Israel. Rav Safra informs Abaye that this scholar has related an incident and novel teaching from Rabbi (/Rabbi Rabba). Abaye pursues Rav Avira to a rooftop and eventually gets him to relate the novel ruling. Then:
Rav Avira said to him : I am a director of assemblies in the study hall. I was standing above the Great Rabbi Yehuda HaNasiand Rav Huna of Tzippori and Rabbi Yosei of Medea were sitting before him, and a needle came before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi that was found in the thickness of the reticulum protruding from one side, i. e. , the inside, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasiturned the reticulum over and found a drop of blood on the outside, parallel to the wound on the inside, and he deemed the animaltereifa. And he said : If there is no wound on the outside there as well, from where is this drop of blood? Abaye said to Rav Avira : He caused that man trouble needlessly, i. e. , you troubled me for no reason. This is nothing more than the mishna, which states that an animal is a tereifa if the omasum or the reticulum was perforated to the outside.
Artscroll has a nice footnote discussing the identity of  this "Rabbi" that Rav Avina quotes. Was it really Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi? Footnote 11:

This is a reference to R' Yehudah HaNasi (Rashi d.h. le'eila miRabbi Rabbi; see though, note 14 below).

Footnote 14:

[As mentioned above (note 11), Rashi understands this as a reference to R' Yehudah HaNasi, redactor of the Mishnah. It seems strange, though, that Abaye, who lived several generations after Rebbi, should have conversed with a contemporary of Rabbi. Moreover, this contemporary is described here as a tzurba reirabbanan, which is generally understood to mean a young Torah scholar (see Rashi to Taanis 4a, d.h. tzurba reibarabbanan). A contemporary of Rebbi could not have been "young" when conversing with Abaye! Indeed, because of such considerations, the Sefer HaYochasin (cited in Seder HaDoros רב עוירא) disagrees with Rashi, and explains that Rabbi Rabba here does not refer to Rebbi, but rather means "the great one of the generation." Seder HaDorors, however, allows that it might refer to Rebbi, and that Rav Avira lived exceptionally long and was indeed quite old when he spoke with Abaye.]

You can read this in Seder HaDoros, chelek 2, page 299, here:

After citing the relevant gemara and the Rashi, he cites Sefer Yochasin, on the letter Heh, for Rav Huna of Tzippori, noting that
he argues on Rashi who had explained that "Rebbi Rabba" was Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, for how could he before Rabbi as well as before Abaye and Rav Safra. Rather, Rebbi Rabba implies the Gadol HaDor.
Yet, in Chullin (54a) it states that Rav attended to Rabbi Rabba and Rabbi Chiyya, and Rashi does not comment there anything, for there it is utterly clear that Rabbi Rabba is Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi. Yet, at the end of Ketubot (112a), Rav Avira, Rabbi Chelbo, and Rabbi Yose bar Chanina visit that place, and it is known that Rabbi Yose bar Chanina was a student of Rabbi Yochanan, and Rabbi Yochanan was in the time of Rabbi. If so, perhaps he was long-lived, or there were two people by that name.

So ends Seder HaDoros. In Sefer Yuchsin, the discussion is actually a bit more extensive that the quote given above. He writes:

After suggesting that it refers to the Gadol HaDor, he notes that in the last perek of Rosh Hashana, it is apparent that he, meaning Rav Huna Tziporaah, is a student of Rabbi Yochanan.

I did a quick search, and we find this in the Rif citing a Yerushalmi,
רב הונא ציפוראה בשם רבי יוחנן אמר הלכה כר"ג באילין תקיעתא והוא שישבו שם מראש התפלה
It makes a lot more sense that Rabbi Rabba, the great Rabbi, is an appellation for whichever the current great of the generation is. Furthermore, in Eretz Yisrael in particular, the one to see about tereifot was specifically Rabbi Yochanan.

This is further established based on what Seder HaDoros mentioned, that Rabbi Yose ben Chanina accompanied Rav Avira, and the former was a student of Rabbi Yochanan.

If we wanted to establish the Rabbi Rabba as Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, just how old would Rav Avira need to be? It is a tug of war. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was born in 135 CE and died in Tzipori in 217 CE. Abaye was born in 278 CE and died in 338 CE.

If Rav Avira stood before Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, let us say that it is in 217. Abaye might be at least 20 years old at the time of this incident, so 298 CE. A subtraction, 298 - 217 = 81. Not exactly a tzurba meiRabbanan if that means a youth. And we might want the incident with Rebbi to be earlier than his final year, and the incident with Abaye -- who Rav Safra calls Mar, meaning master -- to be older than 20.

Still, 80 to 100 years is not crazily old. It might make a lot of sense for Abaye to pursue a teaching from an elderly Sage about a novel position of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, because this is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And the statement that this is the same as the Mishna has greater resonance if it indeed Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, redactor of the Mishna, who said it.

Yet the Rav Huna Tziporaah seems to be a much better grounding, as a student of Rabbi Yochanan. If we make Rebbi Rabbi into Rabbi Yochanan, who was born 180 CE and died in 279 CE, and have Abaye as a 20 year old, then 298 - 279 = 19 years, in which case calling him a youth ("tzurba meirabbanan") makes good sense, and even if we add a few year at the beginning and end, it makes very good sense.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ulla’s fellows

An interesting Tosafot from last Monday’s daf (Chullin 34). First, the gemara writes:

אמר עולא חבריא אמרין בחולין שנעשו על טהרת הקדש ודלא כרבי יהושע
Ulla said: My colleagues say that the mishna is referring to the case of non-sacred food items that were prepared on the level of purity of sacrificialfood, and the mishna is not in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, who says: Non-sacred food items that were prepared on the level of purity of teruma assume third-degree impurity, but non-sacred food items that were prepared on the level of purity of sacrificial food do not assume third-degree impurity.
ואנא אמינא רבי יהושע היא ולא מיבעיא קאמר לא מיבעיא חולין שנעשו על טהרת קדש דחמירי דאית בהו שלישי אלא אפילו חולין שנעשו על טהרת תרומה נמי אית בהו שלישי
Ulla continues: And I say that the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, and when he said that non-sacred food items that were prepared on the level of purity of teruma assume third-degree impurity, he is speaking utilizing the style of: It is not necessary. It is not necessary to say that in the case of non-sacred food items that were prepared on the level of purity of sacrificial food, which is stringent, that they have the capacity of assuming third-degree impurity. Rather, even non-sacred food items that were prepared on the level of purity of teruma also have the capacity of assuming third-degree impurity.
מאן חבריא רבה בר בר חנה היא דאמר רבה בר בר חנה א"ר יוחנן מאי אהדרי רבי אליעזר ורבי יהושע להדדי
The Gemara asks: Who are the colleagues to whom Ulla referred? It is Rabba bar bar Ḥana, as Rabba bar bar Ḥana says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: What did Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua reply to each other? The differences between their opinions are twofold. First, Rabbi Eliezer holds that one who eats food with first-degree impurity assumes first-degree impurity, while according to Rabbi Yehoshua he assumes second-degree impurity. Second, Rabbi Eliezer holds that one who eats food with third-degree impurity assumes third-degree impurity, while according to Rabbi Yehoshua he assumes second-degree impurity vis-à-vis sacrificial food but not vis-à-vis teruma.

Tosafot wonders why not say that the “colleagues” refers to Rabbi Eleazar ben Pedat, who said this very think on the previous amud. And answers that Rabbi Eleazar is Ulla’s teacher, not a colleague, giving two examples of Ulla citing Rabbi Eleazar.

 מאן חבריא רבה בר בר חנה - לא ר"ל רבי אלעזר דלעיל דלא הוה קרי ליה חבריא דרבו הוה כדאמר בפ"ק דב"ק (דף יא:) וביש נוחלין (ב"ב דף קכח.) דאמר עולא אמר רבי אלעזר הלכה גובין מן העבדים אבל קשיא אמאי לא קאמר עולא רבותי אומרים ונראה דרבי אלעזר לא קאמר לעיל יותר אלא הכא בחולין שנעשו על טהרת קדש עסקינן והש"ס הוא דמסיים ודלא כרבי יהושע: 

While mi vami hasn’t explicitly recorded R’ Eleazar as Ulla’s teacher, we do have the citation relationships when looking globally across the Talmud.

Chavraya implies to me multiple people, rather than just one. And interestingly, in both cases of this position, these are people citing a previous generation. It is Rabbi Eleazar citing Rabbi Oshaya, and Rabba bar bar Chana citing Rabbi Yochanan.

Keritut 28: Can Rav have resolved a question on Rav Chisda?

Yesterday, in Daf Yomi, we finished Krisus. There is an interesting emendation there, on Keritot 28a , from Rav to either Rava or Rabba, wh...