Sunday, August 26, 2018

Introducing Biographies

A first version of the new biographies feature is now up. Each rabbi’s name in the Talmudic text, besides being highlighted in color (by generation), is now also a hyperlink to a rabbinic biography.

In this first stage, the bio consists of a graph showing teachers and students. For instance, here is the graph for Shmuel:

Teacher / Student graph, with Shmuel in the center

Additionally, the bio includes a text version of the same, with hyperlinked students and teachers.

The plan is to add additional relationships and biographical data in a later stage.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Why doesn’t Rabbi speak up?

In yesterday’s Mishna (Menachot 13b) we see a dispute between Rabbi Yose ben Chalafta and the (contemporary) Sages.

שחט שני כבשים לאכול אחת מן החלות למחר הקטיר שני בזיכין לאכול אחד מן הסדרים למחר 
רבי יוסי אומר אותו החלה ואותו הסדר שחישב עליו פיגול וחייבין עליו כרת והשני פסול ואין בו כרת
וחכמים אומרים זה וזה פיגול וחייבין עליו כרת: 

And then, in today’s daf (Menachot 14a) there is a brayta which records Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s opinion:

הא מני רבי היא
דתניא השוחט את הכבש לאכול חצי זית מחלה זו וכן חבירו לאכול חצי זית מחלה זו
רבי אומר אומר אני שזה כשר 

If Rabbi has an opinion, how come he does not speak up in the Mishna he redacted? (Certainly if he differs with both. But also, if he will hold like either the Sages or like Rabbi Meir, shouldn’t he express this.)

One answer might be that he is trying to have a light touch on the Mishna, either as an earlier extant text before him, or because he wants to primarily present the dispute among the Tannaim of the previous generation, rather than the Mishna being an expression of his own views.

Rabbi as a 6th generation student of Rabbi Yose

We see from the graph that Rabbi Yose was a 5th generation Tanna, while Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was of the subsequent generation. The Sages would be of the same generation, meaning fifth generation Tannaim.

Further, maybe this is why Rabbi often uses the expression omer ani, as he does here in the brayta. This would not just be humility. He wants to distinguish between the corpus of recorded previous-generation disputes and his own view of the matter.

(As an aside, it seems possible that Rav Huna, by saying that the brayta brought by Rav Nachman in objection was the opinion of Rabbi, is to say that Rabbi has his own opinion, which is neither that of Rabbi Yose nor of the Sages. But the setama degemara assumes that it must be in accordance with Rabbi Yose or the Sages, and asks this, despite the words omer ani.)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

A few steps forward...

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the refactoring of the mivami process. (This was so that building the graph could happen in about twenty minutes instead of several hours, and so that the building would happen in stages, with the ability to inspect the output at each stage.) That resulted in a few of the nicer features (such as the local and global interaction graphs) temporarily disappearing.

We have further developed the code since then. Now, not only are the two interaction graphs back online, there are two new exciting developments.

Here is a global relationship graph from today’s daf (Menachot 9a) to illustrate:

Global relationship graph, Menachot 9a

#1: We carry over the generational information from the student/teacher graph. Thus, we see Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya (rather than plain Rabbi Yehoshua, which is what appears in the text), together with the generation tag of T3 (third generation Tanna). Because we have these generation tags, nodes are no longer randomly colored, but are colored by generation, as per the legend.

#2: Where there is more that one relationship between rabbi1 and rabbi2, the labels for the edges no longer overlap, as they did in the past. Instead, they appear as a comma-separated list.

More to hopefully come soon!

Focus on an Amora: Resh Lakish

What kind of information would we like on his bio page? In Hebrew & English Wikipedia Page: