Sunday, December 16, 2018

Rav Asi vs. Rabbi Assi

In today’s daf (Chullin 19a) it becomes imperative to know the generational information of Rav Asi.



Rav Huna is a 2nd generation Amora of Bavel, and Rav Asi is a 1st generation Amora from Bavel, the leader of the city of Hutzal and a colleague of Rav. As is shown by the color highlighting above. As Tosafot remark on the page:

 אמר רב הונא אמר רב אסי. היינו רב אסי חברו של רב כהנא שהיו גדולים דלסבריה דרב לא היו צריכין אבל רבי אסי לאו היינו רב אסי דקטן מרב הונא היה כדאמרי' בהניזקין (גיטין נט:) רבי אמי ורבי אסי כהני חשיבי דארעא דישראל מיכף כייפי ליה לרב הונא: 

That is, we must distinguish between Rav Asi and Rabbi Asi. For Rabbi Asi is a third-generation Amora of Eretz Yisrael, and we would not have Rav Huna (2nd generation) citing him. And Rav Asi is not dependent upon Rav.

This is all very relevant because this page of gemara contains three statements from Rav Huna. First, there is a sugya in which Rav Huna cites Rav Asi - the lishna kamma. Then, there is an alternate sugya in which Rav Huna cites Rav Ashi - the lishna acharina. Then, there is a sugya in which Rav Huna, citing Rav, argues with Rav Yehuda, citing Rav.

There is an immediately apparent contradiction between the first Rav Huna (citing Rav Asi) and the third Rav Huna (citing Rav). According to the former, a certain argument between the Sages and Rabbi Yosei son of Rabbi Yehuda concerns where one slaughtered the first two thirds appropriately, in the proper location, and only committed hagrama - slaughter outside of bound in the last third. But hagrama in the first third and then proper slaughter in the last two thirds would be invalid according to everyone. Yet, according to the third Rav Huna (citing Rav), if one committed hagrama in the first third, proper slaughter in the second third, and hagrama in the last third, it would be valid. This is an obvious contradiction.

Tosafot note this and explain that it is not a concern:

 הגרים שליש ושחט שליש כו' רב הונא אמר רב כשרה. והא דפסיל רב הונא לעיל הגרים שליש ושחט שני שליש התם משמיה דרב אסי והכא משמיה דרב: 

By way of explanation, the first statement of Rav Huna, which declares it invalid, is citing Rav Asi, while the third statement of Rav Huna, which declares it valid, it citing Rav. Rav and Rav Asi can argue with one another.

I believe that this apparent contradiction between Rav Huna #1 and Rav Huna #3 explains the introduction of the lishna acharina, the variant version of Rav Huna, that is Rav Huna #2.
What happens in the lishna kamma is that Rav Huna (A2) says X, his colleague-student Rav Chisda (A3) objects and suggests Y. Rav Yosef (A3) objects to Rav Chisda, his student Abaye (A4) objects, and Rav Yosef responds conclusively. What happens in the lishna batra is that the original position and reason of Rav Huna disappears, and he instead says what Rav Chisda suggested. And then every other Amora shifts one over in their role and argument, and Abaye (the last) disappears.

I think someone spotted the contradiction between Rav Huna #1 and Rav Huna #3, and so harmonized it by introducing Rav Huna #2 which is more consistent. I don’t think Rav Huna #2 and #3 are entirely consistent, in that they may differ in their reasoning and therefore application in certain cases. Under the principle of lectio difficilior, the rule of the apparently “difficult” reading being original, it is the lishna kamma which is original.

See the Rosh who cites this sugya and brings down the second version as Rav Huna’s statement, without attributing it explicitly to Rav Huna citing Rav Ashi. Also, in terms of how people rule, most Rishonim apparently rule like Rav Yehuda citing Rav, except for Rashi who holds like Rav Huna citing Rav, except for Rashba who holds like the lishna kamma of Rav Huna citing Rav Ashi. A salient proof of the Rashba’s position is that the gemara on the next daf says that something is in accordance with Rav Huna citing Rav Asi. And that is Rav Huna #1, rather than Rav Huna #2. And that the setama degemara bothers to say this is evidence that one should rule like him.

Whether or not that is actually so, I think that this gemara on Chullin 20a serves as a useful checksum - that the setama had Rav Huna #1, rather than Rav Huna #2. This is additional proof that Rav Huna #1 is the original.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Rav Huna Kamma

In yesterday’s daf (Chullin 13a), there was an interesting interaction between Shmuel and Rav Huna:



This is strange because it is an Inquiry interaction (בעא מיניה), which usually happens as a student inquiring of a teacher. But Shmuel is a first generation Amora while Rav Huna is a second generation Amora. And Rav Huna is Shmuel’s student, rather than the reverse:



Tosafot ask this question.

 בעא מיניה שמואל מרב הונא. משמע שהיה שמואל קטן מרב הונא וכן בריש גיטין (דף ה.) ובפ' יש בערכין (ערכין טז:) הוו יתבי רב הונא וחייא בר רב קמי שמואל משמע כתלמיד היושב לפני רבו ובפרק קמא דגיטין (דף יא:) יתיב רב הונא קמי רבי ירמיה ורבי ירמיה חבירו של רבי זירא הוה כדמוכח בנדה (דף כג.) בעא מיניה רבי ירמיה מרבי זירא כו' עד כאן הביאו רבי ירמיה לרבי זירא לידי גיחוך ולא גחך ורבי זירא תלמידו של רב יהודה דהוה משתמיט מיניה למיסק לארעא דישראל ורב יהודה תלמידו של רב ושמואל והיה קורא רבי ירמיה לרב הונא דרדקי (גיטין דף יא:) ויש לומר דתרי רב הונא הוו ומיהו ההוא דערכין (דף טז:) על כרחך תלמידו של רב הוה כדמוכח התם:

They propose that there were two Rav Hunas, and this Rav Huna is earlier than Shmuel. I need to update the biographical database in Mivami to reflect this, and work on getting the disambiguator online.

We can find out more about this Rav Huna Kamma on Wikipedia (in Hebrew and in English). He was a Resh Geluta contemporary to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi

Monday, December 10, 2018

Introducing Sugyot

I am happy to announce the first introduction of Sugyot into Mi vaMi.

Each individual sugya (short discussion) is recognized, and we produce graphs for just that sugya. In the past, graphs were organized by amud, e.g. Chullin 3a vs. Chullin 3b. But that organization means that, when someone wants to focus only on the relationship between people in a sugya, graphs are sometimes cluttered with irrelevant people. And where a sugya spanned across an amud division, relevant people were being left out of the graph.

At the moment, on page load, we show the graph(s) for the amud. Thus, for today’s daf (looking at Chullin 13b), here is the teacher / student graph:


Amud-based student graph


There is now a button (labelled “Student”) at the start of each sugya (as well as at the beginning of the page, for a sugya spanning amudim). Clicking on that button yields this graph:


Sugya-based student graph

We no longer have Rav Ashi, Rav Pappa, and Rabbi Yehuda ben Beteira. who were not relevant to the top sugya. And we have included Rabbi Ammi, who is part of the sugya but who only appears on the previous amud.

Additional buttons for interaction graphs to hopefully be added soon.



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Moving towards trees

The student / teacher graphs and interaction graphs are often better seen as trees. We should really expect the earlier generations of Tannaim and Amoraim to be higher up on the graph and later generations lower.

In the past, these vertices representing rabbis were randomly placed and the directed edges connecting them pointed in all direction (up, down, left and right). I have a specific tree-like graph structure in mind, and today I announce the first step towards that.

Here is the graph before the changes, from Chullin 7a:

Chullin 7a graph, with edges in all directions

Here is the same graph, after the introduced changes:

New Chullin 7a graph

Note how almost all edges are directed upwards, and generally, higher up in the connected component of a graph are the earlier generation. There is still some work to do, but I think this is a marked improvement.

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 חוט...