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Today's Daf Yomi

August 22, 2020 | ב׳ באלול תש״פ

Masechet Eruvin is sponsored by Adina and Eric Hagege in honor of our parents, Rabbi Dov and Elayne Greenstone and Roger and Ketty Hagege who raised children, grandchildren and great grandchildren committed to Torah learning.

Eruvin 13

Today’s shiur is dedicated by Phil Lorang in honor of his wife Ellen Lorang who learns the daf regularly.

The student who quotes in the name in Rabbi Yishmael to Rabbi Akiva is Rabbi Meir who learned first with Rabbi Yishmael then with Rabbi Meir. Different versions are brought regarding who he learned with first in the context of one of them forbidding him to use kankanton in his ink for writing a sefer Torah. Each version has a different rabbi forbidding and the other permitting. The gemara tries to resolve these contradictory sources. Why would kankanton be forbidden? The issue connects with the section in the Torah regarding a Sotah that gets erased in preparation of the Sotah water. What made Rabbi Meir unique in his learning? Why if he was so great, do we not hold like him when determining halacha. If all opinions are true (eilu v’eilu divrei elohim chayim), why do we rule like Beit Hillel over Beit Shamai? When and how was that determined? How can we rule by a heavenly voice? How wide does a beam need to be? What if it is rounded?

רבי עקיבא אומר על זה ועל זה נחלקו כו׳:

The mishna relates that a student recited a halakha before Rabbi Akiva, and he did not accept the student’s version of the dispute between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, as Rabbi Akiva said: They disagree about this, an alleyway less than four cubits wide, and about that, an alleyway more than four cubits wide.

רבי עקיבא היינו תנא קמא איכא בינייהו דרב אחלי ואיתימא רב יחיאל ולא מסיימי

The Gemara asks: In that case, the opinion of Rabbi Akiva is identical with the opinion first tanna of the mishna, as he too holds that Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree in all cases, irrespective of the width of the alleyway. The Gemara answers: There is a practical difference between them with regard to the halakha stated by Rav Aḥlai, and some say it was Rav Yeḥiel, that an alleyway less than four handbreadths wide requires no corrective action. However, their respective opinions are not defined; which tanna accepts the view of Rav Aḥlai and which tanna rejects it cannot be determined.

תניא אמר רבי עקיבא לא אמר רבי ישמעאל דבר זה אלא אותו תלמיד אמר דבר זה והלכה כאותו תלמיד

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Akiva said: Rabbi Yishmael did not state this matter, as it is unlikely that Rabbi Yishmael would err in this manner; rather, it was that disciple who stated that matter on his own, and the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of that disciple.

הא גופה קשיא אמרת לא אמר רבי ישמעאל דבר זה אלמא לית הלכתא כוותיה והדר אמרת הלכה כאותו תלמיד

With regard to that baraita the Gemara asks: This baraita itself is difficult. You stated initially that Rabbi Yishmael did not state this matter; apparently the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of the disciple. And then you said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of that disciple.

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל לא אמרה רבי עקיבא אלא לחדד בה התלמידים

Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: Rabbi Akiva said that the halakha is in accordance with that disciple only to sharpen the minds of his students with his statement. Seeking to encourage his students to suggest novel opinions, he praised that disciple before them but did not actually rule in accordance with the disciple’s opinion.

ורב נחמן בר יצחק אמר נראין איתמר

And Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said, in another attempt to resolve the contradiction: The statement of the disciple appears to be reasonable was stated. Although Rabbi Yishmael himself did not make that statement, the statement of the disciple is reasonable.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל מקום שאתה מוצא משום רבי ישמעאל אמר תלמיד אחד לפני רבי עקיבא אינו אלא רבי מאיר ששימש את רבי ישמעאל ואת רבי עקיבא

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Anywhere that you find a statement introduced with: A certain disciple said before Rabbi Akiva in the name of Rabbi Yishmael, it is none other than Rabbi Meir, who was the student who served both Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Akiva.

דתניא אמר רבי מאיר כשהייתי אצל רבי ישמעאל הייתי מטיל קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ולא אמר לי דבר כשבאתי אצל רבי עקיבא אסרה עלי

As it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir said: When I was a student with Rabbi Yishmael, I used to put iron sulfate [kankantom] into the ink with which I wrote Torah scrolls, and he did not say anything to me. When I came to study with Rabbi Akiva, he prohibited me from doing so.

איני והאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל משום רבי מאיר כשהייתי לומד אצל רבי עקיבא הייתי מטיל קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ולא אמר לי דבר וכשבאתי אצל רבי ישמעאל אמר לי בני מה מלאכתך אמרתי לו לבלר אני אמר לי בני הוי זהיר במלאכתך שמלאכתך מלאכת שמים היא שמא אתה מחסר אות אחת או מייתר אות אחת נמצאת מחריב את כל העולם כולו

The Gemara challenges this statement: Is that so? Didn’t Rav Yehuda say that Shmuel said in the name of Rabbi Meir: When I studied with Rabbi Akiva as his disciple, I used to put iron sulfate into the ink, and he did not say anything to me. But when I came to study with Rabbi Yishmael, he said to me: My son, what is your vocation? I replied: I am a scribe [lavlar] who writes Torah scrolls. He said to me: My son, be careful in your vocation, as your vocation is heavenly service, and care must be taken lest you omit a single letter or add a single letter out of place, and you will end up destroying the whole world in its entirety. Addition or omission of a single letter can change the meaning from truth [emet] to death [met].

אמרתי לו דבר אחד יש לי ו׳קנקנתום׳ שמו שאני מטיל לתוך הדיו אמר לי וכי מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו והלא אמרה תורה וכתב ומחה כתב שיכול למחות

I said to him: I have one substance called iron sulfate, which I place into the ink, and therefore I am not concerned. He said to me: May one place iron sulfate into the ink? Didn’t the Torah state with regard to sota: “And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness” (Numbers 5:23)? The Torah requires writing that can be blotted out.

מאי קאמר ליה ומאי קא מהדר ליה

The Gemara clarifies elements of the conversation: What is Rabbi Yishmael saying to Rabbi Meir, and what is he answering him? Rabbi Meir’s response with regard to iron sulfate does not seem to address Rabbi Yishmael’s comments with regard to omissions and additions.

הכי קאמר ליה לא מיבעיא בחסירות וביתירות [דלא טעינא] דבקי אנא אלא אפילו מיחש לזבוב נמי דילמא אתי ויתיב אתגיה דדלת ומחיק ליה ומשוי ליה ריש דבר אחד יש לי וקנקנתום שמו שאני מטיל לתוך הדיו

The Gemara explains that this is what Rabbi Meir is saying to Rabbi Yishmael: There is no need to mention defective and plene words, as I am an expert; however, even with regard to the concern that a fly might come and land on the crown of the letter dalet and blot it out and render it a reish, thereby changing the meaning of the word, I am not concerned, as I have a substance called iron sulfate that I place into the ink so that it will not be erased.

קשיא שימוש אשימוש קשיא אסרה אאסרה

Nevertheless, there is a difficulty between service and service, as one source states that Rabbi Meir initially served Rabbi Akiva, whereas the other source states that he served Rabbi Yishmael first. There is a difficulty between the words he prohibited it in the baraita, which is referring to Rabbi Akiva, and he prohibited it in the statement of Rav Yehuda, which is referring to Rabbi Yishmael.

בשלמא שימוש אשימוש לא קשיא מעיקרא אתא לקמיה דרבי עקיבא ומדלא מצי למיקם אליביה אתא לקמיה דרבי ישמעאל וגמר גמרא והדר אתא לקמיה דרבי עקיבא וסבר סברא

The Gemara comments: Granted, there is no difficulty between the accounts in the two sources with regard to service and service, as it can be suggested as follows: Rabbi Meir initially came to study before Rabbi Akiva, and since he was unable to comprehend the teachings in accordance with his opinion, he came before Rabbi Yishmael and studied the tradition, and again came before Rabbi Akiva and studied logical analysis. After studying the basic principles from Rabbi Yishmael, he was able to understand the more complex teachings of Rabbi Akiva.

אלא אסרה אאסרה קשיא קשיא

Having reconciled the first difficulty, the Gemara continues: However, the difficulty with regard to whether Rabbi Akiva prohibited iron sulfate or Rabbi Yishmael prohibited it remains difficult. The Gemara notes: It indeed remains difficult; no answer was found.

תניא רבי יהודה אומר רבי מאיר היה אומר לכל מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו חוץ מפרשת סוטה ורבי יעקב אומר משמו חוץ מפרשת סוטה שבמקדש

The Gemara continues the discussion of iron sulfate. It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda says that Rabbi Meir would say: One may place iron sulfate into the ink that is to be used for all sacred writings, except for the writing of the Torah passage with regard to a sota, as it must be possible to erase that writing. Rabbi Ya’akov says in his name: Except for the writing of the Torah passage with regard to a sota used in the Temple in the ordeal to determine the guilt or innocence of the wife suspected of adultery.

מאי בינייהו אמר רב ירמיה למחוק לה מן התורה איכא בינייהו

The Gemara asks: What is the difference between their opinions, i.e., what is their point of dispute? The Gemara answers: Rav Yirmeya said: The difference between their opinions is whether it is permissible to erase the passage of a sota from a Torah scroll. The tanna’im of the baraita disagree whether or not a section taken from a Torah scroll may be used for this purpose, or whether a special scroll must be written for use in the ordeal of the sota.

והני תנאי כי הני תנאי דתניא אין מגילתה כשירה להשקות בה סוטה אחרת רבי אחי בר יאשיה אמר מגילתה כשירה להשקות בה סוטה אחרת

And those tanna’im disagree in the same dispute as these tanna’im, as it was taught in a baraita: A scroll that was written for one woman suspected of infidelity but was not used, her scroll is not fit to prepare the water to give to another sota to drink. However, Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya said: Her scroll is fit to be used to prepare the water to give another sota to drink. The legal status of a Torah scroll, which is not written for a particular sota, should be the same.

אמר רב פפא דילמא לא היא עד כאן לא קאמר תנא קמא התם אלא כיון דאינתיק לשום רחל תו לא הדרא מינתקא לשום לאה אבל גבי תורה דסתמא מיכתבא הכי נמי דמחקינן

Rav Pappa said: Perhaps that is not the case, as the two circumstances are not comparable. The first tanna of the baraita stated his opinion that one woman’s scroll may not be used for another woman only there; since it had originally been designated in the name of one woman, e.g., Rachel, it cannot then be designated in the name of another woman, e.g., Leah. However, in the case of a Torah scroll, which is written with no particular person in mind, he too may say that we may erase it to be used for another woman, and it is not disqualified because it was not written in her name.

אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק דילמא לא היא עד כאן לא קאמר רבי אחי בר יאשיה התם אלא דאיכתיב מיהת לשום סוטה בעולם אבל גבי תורה דלהתלמד כתיבא הכי נמי דלא מחקינן

Furthermore, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said in another attempt to resolve the matter: Perhaps it is not so, as an additional distinction exists between the two cases: Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya stated his opinion that the first woman’s scroll may be used for another woman only there because at least, in that case, it was written for a particular sota in the world. However, in the case of a Torah scroll, which was written for study, he too would agree that we do not erase it.

ולית ליה לרבי אחי בר יאשיה הא דתנן כתב [גט] לגרש את אשתו

The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya not hold in accordance with that which we learned in a mishna: If one wrote a bill of divorce to divorce his wife,

ונמלך ומצאו בן עירו ואמר שמך כשמי ושם אשתך כשם אשתי פסול לגרש בו

but later reconsidered and did not divorce her, and a resident of his city found him and said: Your name is the same as my name, and your wife’s name is the same as my wife’s name, and we reside in the same town; give me the bill of divorce, and I will use it to divorce my wife, then this document is invalid to divorce with it? Apparently, a man may not divorce his wife with a bill of divorce written for another woman, and the same should apply to the scroll of a sota.

הכי השתא התם וכתב לה כתיב בעינן כתיבה לשמה הכא ועשה לה כתיב בעינן עשייה לשמה עשייה דידה מחיקה היא

The Gemara rejects this argument: How can you compare the two cases? There, with regard to a bill of divorce, it is written: “And he shall write for her” (Deuteronomy 24:1), and therefore we require writing it in her name, specifically for her; whereas here, with regard to a sota, it is written: “And he shall perform with her all this ritual” (Numbers 5:30), and therefore we require performance in her name. In her case, the performance is erasure; however, writing of the scroll need not be performed specifically for her.

אמר רבי אחא בר חנינא גלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שאין בדורו של רבי מאיר כמותו ומפני מה לא קבעו הלכה כמותו שלא יכלו חביריו לעמוד על סוף דעתו שהוא אומר על טמא טהור ומראה לו פנים על טהור טמא ומראה לו פנים

On the topic of Rabbi Meir and his Torah study, the Gemara cites an additional statement. Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina said: It is revealed and known before the One Who spoke and the world came into being that in the generation of Rabbi Meir there was no one of the Sages who is his equal. Why then didn’t the Sages establish the halakha in accordance with his opinion? It is because his colleagues were unable to ascertain the profundity of his opinion. He was so brilliant that he could present a cogent argument for any position, even if it was not consistent with the prevalent halakha. As he would state with regard to a ritually impure item that it is pure, and display justification for that ruling, and likewise he would state with regard to a ritually pure item that it is impure, and display justification for that ruling. The Sages were unable to distinguish between the statements that were halakha and those that were not.

תנא לא רבי מאיר שמו אלא רבי נהוראי שמו ולמה נקרא שמו רבי מאיר שהוא מאיר עיני חכמים בהלכה ולא נהוראי שמו אלא רבי נחמיה שמו ואמרי לה רבי אלעזר בן ערך שמו ולמה נקרא שמו נהוראי שמנהיר עיני חכמים בהלכה

It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir was not his name; rather, Rabbi Nehorai was his name. And why was he called by the name Rabbi Meir? It was because he illuminates [meir] the eyes of the Sages in matters of the halakha. And Rabbi Nehorai was not the name of the tanna known by that name; rather, Rabbi Neḥemya was his name, and some say: Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh was his name. And why was he called by the name Rabbi Nehorai? It is because he enlightens [manhir] the eyes of the Sages in matters of the halakha.

אמר רבי האי דמחדדנא מחבראי דחזיתיה לרבי מאיר מאחוריה ואילו חזיתיה מקמיה הוה מחדדנא טפי דכתיב והיו עיניך רואות את מוריך

The Gemara relates that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: The fact that I am more incisive than my colleagues is due to the fact that I saw Rabbi Meir from behind, i.e., I sat behind him when I was his student. Had I seen him from the front, I would be even more incisive, as it is written: “And your eyes shall see your teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). Seeing the face of one’s teacher increases one’s understanding and sharpens one’s mind.

אמר רבי אבהו אמר רבי יוחנן תלמיד היה לו לרבי מאיר וסומכוס שמו שהיה אומר על כל דבר ודבר של טומאה ארבעים ושמונה טעמי טומאה ועל כל דבר ודבר של טהרה ארבעים ושמונה טעמי טהרה

And the Gemara stated that Rabbi Abbahu said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Rabbi Meir had a disciple, and his name was Sumakhus, who would state with regard to each and every matter of ritual impurity forty-eight reasons in support of the ruling of impurity, and with regard to each and every matter of ritual purity forty-eight reasons in support of the ruling of purity.

תנא תלמיד ותיק היה ביבנה שהיה מטהר את השרץ במאה וחמשים טעמים

It was taught in a baraita: There was a distinguished disciple at Yavne who could with his incisive intellect purify the creeping animal, explicitly deemed ritually impure by the Torah, adducing one hundred and fifty reasons in support of his argument.

אמר רבינא אני אדון ואטהרנו ומה נחש שממית ומרבה טומאה טהור שרץ שאין ממית ומרבה טומאה לא כל שכן

Ravina said: I too will deliberate and purify it employing the following reasoning: And just as a snake that kills people and animals and thereby increases ritual impurity in the world, as a corpse imparts impurity through contact, through being carried, and by means of a tent, is ritually pure and transmits no impurity, a creeping animal that does not kill and does not increase impurity in the world, all the more so should it be pure.

ולא היא מעשה קוץ בעלמא קעביד

The Gemara rejects this: And it is not so; that is not a valid a fortiori argument, as it can be refuted. A snake is performing a mere act of a thorn. A thorn causes injury and even death; nevertheless, it is not ritually impure. The same applies to a snake, and therefore this a fortiori argument is rejected.

אמר רבי אבא אמר שמואל שלש שנים נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל הללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו והללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו יצאה בת קול ואמרה אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים הן והלכה כבית הלל

Rabbi Abba said that Shmuel said: For three years Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed. These said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion, and these said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion. Ultimately, a Divine Voice emerged and proclaimed: Both these and those are the words of the living God. However, the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Hillel.

וכי מאחר שאלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי ולא עוד אלא שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן

The Gemara asks: Since both these and those are the words of the living God, why were Beit Hillel privileged to have the halakha established in accordance with their opinion? The reason is that they were agreeable and forbearing, showing restraint when affronted, and when they taught the halakha they would teach both their own statements and the statements of Beit Shammai. Moreover, when they formulated their teachings and cited a dispute, they prioritized the statements of Beit Shammai to their own statements, in deference to Beit Shammai.

כאותה ששנינו מי שהיה ראשו ורובו בסוכה ושלחנו בתוך הבית בית שמאי פוסלין ובית הלל מכשירין אמרו בית הלל לבית שמאי לא כך היה מעשה שהלכו זקני בית שמאי וזקני בית הלל לבקר את רבי יוחנן בן החורנית ומצאוהו יושב ראשו ורובו בסוכה ושלחנו בתוך הבית אמרו להן בית שמאי אי משם ראיה אף הן אמרו לו אם כך היית נוהג לא קיימת מצות סוכה מימיך

As in the mishna that we learned: In the case of one whose head and most of his body were in the sukka, but his table was in the house, Beit Shammai deem this sukka invalid; and Beit Hillel deem it valid. Beit Hillel said to Beit Shammai: Wasn’t there an incident in which the Elders of Beit Shammai and the Elders of Beit Hillel went to visit Rabbi Yoḥanan ben HaḤoranit, and they found him sitting with his head and most of his body in the sukka, but his table was in the house? Beit Shammai said to them: From there do you seek to adduce a proof? Those visitors, too, said to him: If that was the manner in which you were accustomed to perform the mitzva, you have never fulfilled the mitzva of sukka in all your days. It is apparent from the phrasing of the mishna that when the Sages of Beit Hillel related that the Elders of Beit Shammai and the Elders of Beit Hillel visited Rabbi Yoḥanan ben HaḤoranit, they mentioned the Elders of Beit Shammai before their own Elders.

ללמדך שכל המשפיל עצמו הקדוש ברוך הוא מגביהו וכל המגביה עצמו הקדוש ברוך הוא משפילו כל המחזר על הגדולה גדולה בורחת ממנו וכל הבורח מן הגדולה גדולה מחזרת אחריו וכל הדוחק את השעה שעה דוחקתו וכל הנדחה מפני שעה שעה עומדת לו

This is to teach you that anyone who humbles himself, the Holy One, Blessed be He, exalts him, and anyone who exalts himself, the Holy One, Blessed be He, humbles him. Anyone who seeks greatness, greatness flees from him, and, conversely, anyone who flees from greatness, greatness seeks him. And anyone who attempts to force the moment and expends great effort to achieve an objective precisely when he desires to do so, the moment forces him too, and he is unsuccessful. And conversely, anyone who is patient and yields to the moment, the moment stands by his side, and he will ultimately be successful.

תנו רבנן שתי שנים ומחצה נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל הללו אומרים נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא והללו אומרים נוח לו לאדם שנברא יותר משלא נברא נמנו וגמרו נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא עכשיו שנברא יפשפש במעשיו ואמרי לה ימשמש במעשיו

The Sages taught the following baraita: For two and a half years, Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed. These say: It would have been preferable had man not been created than to have been created. And those said: It is preferable for man to have been created than had he not been created. Ultimately, they were counted and concluded: It would have been preferable had man not been created than to have been created. However, now that he has been created, he should examine his actions that he has performed and seek to correct them. And some say: He should scrutinize his planned actions and evaluate whether or not and in what manner those actions should be performed, so that he will not sin.

מתני׳ הקורה שאמרו רחבה כדי לקבל אריח ואריח חצי לבנה של שלשה טפחים דייה לקורה שתהא רחבה טפח כדי לקבל אריח לרחבו

MISHNA: The cross beam, which the Sages stated may be used to render an alleyway fit for one to carry within it, must be wide enough to receive and hold a small brick. And this small brick is half a large brick, which measures three handbreadths, i.e., a handbreadth and a half. It is sufficient that the cross beam will be a handbreadth in width, not a handbreadth and a half, enough to hold a small brick across its width.

רחבה כדי לקבל אריח ובריאה כדי לקבל אריח רבי יהודה אומר רחבה אף על פי שאין בריאה היתה של קש ושל קנים רואין אותה כאילו היא של מתכת

And the cross beam must be wide enough to hold a small brick and also sturdy enough to hold a small brick and not collapse. Rabbi Yehuda says: If it is wide enough to hold the brick, even though it is not sturdy enough to actually support it, it is sufficient. Therefore, even if the cross beam is made of straw or reeds, one considers it as though it were made of metal.

עקומה רואין אותה כאילו היא פשוטה עגולה רואין אותה כאילו היא מרובעת כל שיש בהיקיפו שלשה טפחים יש בו רוחב טפח:

If the cross beam is curved, so that a small brick cannot rest on it, one considers it as though it were straight; if it is round, one considers it as though it were square. The following principle was stated with regard to a round cross beam: Any beam with a circumference of three handbreadths is a handbreadth in width, i.e., in diameter.

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Eruvin 13

רבי עקיבא אומר על זה ועל זה נחלקו כו׳:

The mishna relates that a student recited a halakha before Rabbi Akiva, and he did not accept the student’s version of the dispute between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, as Rabbi Akiva said: They disagree about this, an alleyway less than four cubits wide, and about that, an alleyway more than four cubits wide.

רבי עקיבא היינו תנא קמא איכא בינייהו דרב אחלי ואיתימא רב יחיאל ולא מסיימי

The Gemara asks: In that case, the opinion of Rabbi Akiva is identical with the opinion first tanna of the mishna, as he too holds that Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree in all cases, irrespective of the width of the alleyway. The Gemara answers: There is a practical difference between them with regard to the halakha stated by Rav Aḥlai, and some say it was Rav Yeḥiel, that an alleyway less than four handbreadths wide requires no corrective action. However, their respective opinions are not defined; which tanna accepts the view of Rav Aḥlai and which tanna rejects it cannot be determined.

תניא אמר רבי עקיבא לא אמר רבי ישמעאל דבר זה אלא אותו תלמיד אמר דבר זה והלכה כאותו תלמיד

It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Akiva said: Rabbi Yishmael did not state this matter, as it is unlikely that Rabbi Yishmael would err in this manner; rather, it was that disciple who stated that matter on his own, and the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of that disciple.

הא גופה קשיא אמרת לא אמר רבי ישמעאל דבר זה אלמא לית הלכתא כוותיה והדר אמרת הלכה כאותו תלמיד

With regard to that baraita the Gemara asks: This baraita itself is difficult. You stated initially that Rabbi Yishmael did not state this matter; apparently the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of the disciple. And then you said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of that disciple.

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל לא אמרה רבי עקיבא אלא לחדד בה התלמידים

Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: Rabbi Akiva said that the halakha is in accordance with that disciple only to sharpen the minds of his students with his statement. Seeking to encourage his students to suggest novel opinions, he praised that disciple before them but did not actually rule in accordance with the disciple’s opinion.

ורב נחמן בר יצחק אמר נראין איתמר

And Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said, in another attempt to resolve the contradiction: The statement of the disciple appears to be reasonable was stated. Although Rabbi Yishmael himself did not make that statement, the statement of the disciple is reasonable.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל מקום שאתה מוצא משום רבי ישמעאל אמר תלמיד אחד לפני רבי עקיבא אינו אלא רבי מאיר ששימש את רבי ישמעאל ואת רבי עקיבא

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Anywhere that you find a statement introduced with: A certain disciple said before Rabbi Akiva in the name of Rabbi Yishmael, it is none other than Rabbi Meir, who was the student who served both Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Akiva.

דתניא אמר רבי מאיר כשהייתי אצל רבי ישמעאל הייתי מטיל קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ולא אמר לי דבר כשבאתי אצל רבי עקיבא אסרה עלי

As it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir said: When I was a student with Rabbi Yishmael, I used to put iron sulfate [kankantom] into the ink with which I wrote Torah scrolls, and he did not say anything to me. When I came to study with Rabbi Akiva, he prohibited me from doing so.

איני והאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל משום רבי מאיר כשהייתי לומד אצל רבי עקיבא הייתי מטיל קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ולא אמר לי דבר וכשבאתי אצל רבי ישמעאל אמר לי בני מה מלאכתך אמרתי לו לבלר אני אמר לי בני הוי זהיר במלאכתך שמלאכתך מלאכת שמים היא שמא אתה מחסר אות אחת או מייתר אות אחת נמצאת מחריב את כל העולם כולו

The Gemara challenges this statement: Is that so? Didn’t Rav Yehuda say that Shmuel said in the name of Rabbi Meir: When I studied with Rabbi Akiva as his disciple, I used to put iron sulfate into the ink, and he did not say anything to me. But when I came to study with Rabbi Yishmael, he said to me: My son, what is your vocation? I replied: I am a scribe [lavlar] who writes Torah scrolls. He said to me: My son, be careful in your vocation, as your vocation is heavenly service, and care must be taken lest you omit a single letter or add a single letter out of place, and you will end up destroying the whole world in its entirety. Addition or omission of a single letter can change the meaning from truth [emet] to death [met].

אמרתי לו דבר אחד יש לי ו׳קנקנתום׳ שמו שאני מטיל לתוך הדיו אמר לי וכי מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו והלא אמרה תורה וכתב ומחה כתב שיכול למחות

I said to him: I have one substance called iron sulfate, which I place into the ink, and therefore I am not concerned. He said to me: May one place iron sulfate into the ink? Didn’t the Torah state with regard to sota: “And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness” (Numbers 5:23)? The Torah requires writing that can be blotted out.

מאי קאמר ליה ומאי קא מהדר ליה

The Gemara clarifies elements of the conversation: What is Rabbi Yishmael saying to Rabbi Meir, and what is he answering him? Rabbi Meir’s response with regard to iron sulfate does not seem to address Rabbi Yishmael’s comments with regard to omissions and additions.

הכי קאמר ליה לא מיבעיא בחסירות וביתירות [דלא טעינא] דבקי אנא אלא אפילו מיחש לזבוב נמי דילמא אתי ויתיב אתגיה דדלת ומחיק ליה ומשוי ליה ריש דבר אחד יש לי וקנקנתום שמו שאני מטיל לתוך הדיו

The Gemara explains that this is what Rabbi Meir is saying to Rabbi Yishmael: There is no need to mention defective and plene words, as I am an expert; however, even with regard to the concern that a fly might come and land on the crown of the letter dalet and blot it out and render it a reish, thereby changing the meaning of the word, I am not concerned, as I have a substance called iron sulfate that I place into the ink so that it will not be erased.

קשיא שימוש אשימוש קשיא אסרה אאסרה

Nevertheless, there is a difficulty between service and service, as one source states that Rabbi Meir initially served Rabbi Akiva, whereas the other source states that he served Rabbi Yishmael first. There is a difficulty between the words he prohibited it in the baraita, which is referring to Rabbi Akiva, and he prohibited it in the statement of Rav Yehuda, which is referring to Rabbi Yishmael.

בשלמא שימוש אשימוש לא קשיא מעיקרא אתא לקמיה דרבי עקיבא ומדלא מצי למיקם אליביה אתא לקמיה דרבי ישמעאל וגמר גמרא והדר אתא לקמיה דרבי עקיבא וסבר סברא

The Gemara comments: Granted, there is no difficulty between the accounts in the two sources with regard to service and service, as it can be suggested as follows: Rabbi Meir initially came to study before Rabbi Akiva, and since he was unable to comprehend the teachings in accordance with his opinion, he came before Rabbi Yishmael and studied the tradition, and again came before Rabbi Akiva and studied logical analysis. After studying the basic principles from Rabbi Yishmael, he was able to understand the more complex teachings of Rabbi Akiva.

אלא אסרה אאסרה קשיא קשיא

Having reconciled the first difficulty, the Gemara continues: However, the difficulty with regard to whether Rabbi Akiva prohibited iron sulfate or Rabbi Yishmael prohibited it remains difficult. The Gemara notes: It indeed remains difficult; no answer was found.

תניא רבי יהודה אומר רבי מאיר היה אומר לכל מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו חוץ מפרשת סוטה ורבי יעקב אומר משמו חוץ מפרשת סוטה שבמקדש

The Gemara continues the discussion of iron sulfate. It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda says that Rabbi Meir would say: One may place iron sulfate into the ink that is to be used for all sacred writings, except for the writing of the Torah passage with regard to a sota, as it must be possible to erase that writing. Rabbi Ya’akov says in his name: Except for the writing of the Torah passage with regard to a sota used in the Temple in the ordeal to determine the guilt or innocence of the wife suspected of adultery.

מאי בינייהו אמר רב ירמיה למחוק לה מן התורה איכא בינייהו

The Gemara asks: What is the difference between their opinions, i.e., what is their point of dispute? The Gemara answers: Rav Yirmeya said: The difference between their opinions is whether it is permissible to erase the passage of a sota from a Torah scroll. The tanna’im of the baraita disagree whether or not a section taken from a Torah scroll may be used for this purpose, or whether a special scroll must be written for use in the ordeal of the sota.

והני תנאי כי הני תנאי דתניא אין מגילתה כשירה להשקות בה סוטה אחרת רבי אחי בר יאשיה אמר מגילתה כשירה להשקות בה סוטה אחרת

And those tanna’im disagree in the same dispute as these tanna’im, as it was taught in a baraita: A scroll that was written for one woman suspected of infidelity but was not used, her scroll is not fit to prepare the water to give to another sota to drink. However, Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya said: Her scroll is fit to be used to prepare the water to give another sota to drink. The legal status of a Torah scroll, which is not written for a particular sota, should be the same.

אמר רב פפא דילמא לא היא עד כאן לא קאמר תנא קמא התם אלא כיון דאינתיק לשום רחל תו לא הדרא מינתקא לשום לאה אבל גבי תורה דסתמא מיכתבא הכי נמי דמחקינן

Rav Pappa said: Perhaps that is not the case, as the two circumstances are not comparable. The first tanna of the baraita stated his opinion that one woman’s scroll may not be used for another woman only there; since it had originally been designated in the name of one woman, e.g., Rachel, it cannot then be designated in the name of another woman, e.g., Leah. However, in the case of a Torah scroll, which is written with no particular person in mind, he too may say that we may erase it to be used for another woman, and it is not disqualified because it was not written in her name.

אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק דילמא לא היא עד כאן לא קאמר רבי אחי בר יאשיה התם אלא דאיכתיב מיהת לשום סוטה בעולם אבל גבי תורה דלהתלמד כתיבא הכי נמי דלא מחקינן

Furthermore, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said in another attempt to resolve the matter: Perhaps it is not so, as an additional distinction exists between the two cases: Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya stated his opinion that the first woman’s scroll may be used for another woman only there because at least, in that case, it was written for a particular sota in the world. However, in the case of a Torah scroll, which was written for study, he too would agree that we do not erase it.

ולית ליה לרבי אחי בר יאשיה הא דתנן כתב [גט] לגרש את אשתו

The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya not hold in accordance with that which we learned in a mishna: If one wrote a bill of divorce to divorce his wife,

ונמלך ומצאו בן עירו ואמר שמך כשמי ושם אשתך כשם אשתי פסול לגרש בו

but later reconsidered and did not divorce her, and a resident of his city found him and said: Your name is the same as my name, and your wife’s name is the same as my wife’s name, and we reside in the same town; give me the bill of divorce, and I will use it to divorce my wife, then this document is invalid to divorce with it? Apparently, a man may not divorce his wife with a bill of divorce written for another woman, and the same should apply to the scroll of a sota.

הכי השתא התם וכתב לה כתיב בעינן כתיבה לשמה הכא ועשה לה כתיב בעינן עשייה לשמה עשייה דידה מחיקה היא

The Gemara rejects this argument: How can you compare the two cases? There, with regard to a bill of divorce, it is written: “And he shall write for her” (Deuteronomy 24:1), and therefore we require writing it in her name, specifically for her; whereas here, with regard to a sota, it is written: “And he shall perform with her all this ritual” (Numbers 5:30), and therefore we require performance in her name. In her case, the performance is erasure; however, writing of the scroll need not be performed specifically for her.

אמר רבי אחא בר חנינא גלוי וידוע לפני מי שאמר והיה העולם שאין בדורו של רבי מאיר כמותו ומפני מה לא קבעו הלכה כמותו שלא יכלו חביריו לעמוד על סוף דעתו שהוא אומר על טמא טהור ומראה לו פנים על טהור טמא ומראה לו פנים

On the topic of Rabbi Meir and his Torah study, the Gemara cites an additional statement. Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina said: It is revealed and known before the One Who spoke and the world came into being that in the generation of Rabbi Meir there was no one of the Sages who is his equal. Why then didn’t the Sages establish the halakha in accordance with his opinion? It is because his colleagues were unable to ascertain the profundity of his opinion. He was so brilliant that he could present a cogent argument for any position, even if it was not consistent with the prevalent halakha. As he would state with regard to a ritually impure item that it is pure, and display justification for that ruling, and likewise he would state with regard to a ritually pure item that it is impure, and display justification for that ruling. The Sages were unable to distinguish between the statements that were halakha and those that were not.

תנא לא רבי מאיר שמו אלא רבי נהוראי שמו ולמה נקרא שמו רבי מאיר שהוא מאיר עיני חכמים בהלכה ולא נהוראי שמו אלא רבי נחמיה שמו ואמרי לה רבי אלעזר בן ערך שמו ולמה נקרא שמו נהוראי שמנהיר עיני חכמים בהלכה

It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Meir was not his name; rather, Rabbi Nehorai was his name. And why was he called by the name Rabbi Meir? It was because he illuminates [meir] the eyes of the Sages in matters of the halakha. And Rabbi Nehorai was not the name of the tanna known by that name; rather, Rabbi Neḥemya was his name, and some say: Rabbi Elazar ben Arakh was his name. And why was he called by the name Rabbi Nehorai? It is because he enlightens [manhir] the eyes of the Sages in matters of the halakha.

אמר רבי האי דמחדדנא מחבראי דחזיתיה לרבי מאיר מאחוריה ואילו חזיתיה מקמיה הוה מחדדנא טפי דכתיב והיו עיניך רואות את מוריך

The Gemara relates that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: The fact that I am more incisive than my colleagues is due to the fact that I saw Rabbi Meir from behind, i.e., I sat behind him when I was his student. Had I seen him from the front, I would be even more incisive, as it is written: “And your eyes shall see your teacher” (Isaiah 30:20). Seeing the face of one’s teacher increases one’s understanding and sharpens one’s mind.

אמר רבי אבהו אמר רבי יוחנן תלמיד היה לו לרבי מאיר וסומכוס שמו שהיה אומר על כל דבר ודבר של טומאה ארבעים ושמונה טעמי טומאה ועל כל דבר ודבר של טהרה ארבעים ושמונה טעמי טהרה

And the Gemara stated that Rabbi Abbahu said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Rabbi Meir had a disciple, and his name was Sumakhus, who would state with regard to each and every matter of ritual impurity forty-eight reasons in support of the ruling of impurity, and with regard to each and every matter of ritual purity forty-eight reasons in support of the ruling of purity.

תנא תלמיד ותיק היה ביבנה שהיה מטהר את השרץ במאה וחמשים טעמים

It was taught in a baraita: There was a distinguished disciple at Yavne who could with his incisive intellect purify the creeping animal, explicitly deemed ritually impure by the Torah, adducing one hundred and fifty reasons in support of his argument.

אמר רבינא אני אדון ואטהרנו ומה נחש שממית ומרבה טומאה טהור שרץ שאין ממית ומרבה טומאה לא כל שכן

Ravina said: I too will deliberate and purify it employing the following reasoning: And just as a snake that kills people and animals and thereby increases ritual impurity in the world, as a corpse imparts impurity through contact, through being carried, and by means of a tent, is ritually pure and transmits no impurity, a creeping animal that does not kill and does not increase impurity in the world, all the more so should it be pure.

ולא היא מעשה קוץ בעלמא קעביד

The Gemara rejects this: And it is not so; that is not a valid a fortiori argument, as it can be refuted. A snake is performing a mere act of a thorn. A thorn causes injury and even death; nevertheless, it is not ritually impure. The same applies to a snake, and therefore this a fortiori argument is rejected.

אמר רבי אבא אמר שמואל שלש שנים נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל הללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו והללו אומרים הלכה כמותנו יצאה בת קול ואמרה אלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים הן והלכה כבית הלל

Rabbi Abba said that Shmuel said: For three years Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed. These said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion, and these said: The halakha is in accordance with our opinion. Ultimately, a Divine Voice emerged and proclaimed: Both these and those are the words of the living God. However, the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Hillel.

וכי מאחר שאלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי ולא עוד אלא שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן

The Gemara asks: Since both these and those are the words of the living God, why were Beit Hillel privileged to have the halakha established in accordance with their opinion? The reason is that they were agreeable and forbearing, showing restraint when affronted, and when they taught the halakha they would teach both their own statements and the statements of Beit Shammai. Moreover, when they formulated their teachings and cited a dispute, they prioritized the statements of Beit Shammai to their own statements, in deference to Beit Shammai.

כאותה ששנינו מי שהיה ראשו ורובו בסוכה ושלחנו בתוך הבית בית שמאי פוסלין ובית הלל מכשירין אמרו בית הלל לבית שמאי לא כך היה מעשה שהלכו זקני בית שמאי וזקני בית הלל לבקר את רבי יוחנן בן החורנית ומצאוהו יושב ראשו ורובו בסוכה ושלחנו בתוך הבית אמרו להן בית שמאי אי משם ראיה אף הן אמרו לו אם כך היית נוהג לא קיימת מצות סוכה מימיך

As in the mishna that we learned: In the case of one whose head and most of his body were in the sukka, but his table was in the house, Beit Shammai deem this sukka invalid; and Beit Hillel deem it valid. Beit Hillel said to Beit Shammai: Wasn’t there an incident in which the Elders of Beit Shammai and the Elders of Beit Hillel went to visit Rabbi Yoḥanan ben HaḤoranit, and they found him sitting with his head and most of his body in the sukka, but his table was in the house? Beit Shammai said to them: From there do you seek to adduce a proof? Those visitors, too, said to him: If that was the manner in which you were accustomed to perform the mitzva, you have never fulfilled the mitzva of sukka in all your days. It is apparent from the phrasing of the mishna that when the Sages of Beit Hillel related that the Elders of Beit Shammai and the Elders of Beit Hillel visited Rabbi Yoḥanan ben HaḤoranit, they mentioned the Elders of Beit Shammai before their own Elders.

ללמדך שכל המשפיל עצמו הקדוש ברוך הוא מגביהו וכל המגביה עצמו הקדוש ברוך הוא משפילו כל המחזר על הגדולה גדולה בורחת ממנו וכל הבורח מן הגדולה גדולה מחזרת אחריו וכל הדוחק את השעה שעה דוחקתו וכל הנדחה מפני שעה שעה עומדת לו

This is to teach you that anyone who humbles himself, the Holy One, Blessed be He, exalts him, and anyone who exalts himself, the Holy One, Blessed be He, humbles him. Anyone who seeks greatness, greatness flees from him, and, conversely, anyone who flees from greatness, greatness seeks him. And anyone who attempts to force the moment and expends great effort to achieve an objective precisely when he desires to do so, the moment forces him too, and he is unsuccessful. And conversely, anyone who is patient and yields to the moment, the moment stands by his side, and he will ultimately be successful.

תנו רבנן שתי שנים ומחצה נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל הללו אומרים נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא והללו אומרים נוח לו לאדם שנברא יותר משלא נברא נמנו וגמרו נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא עכשיו שנברא יפשפש במעשיו ואמרי לה ימשמש במעשיו

The Sages taught the following baraita: For two and a half years, Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed. These say: It would have been preferable had man not been created than to have been created. And those said: It is preferable for man to have been created than had he not been created. Ultimately, they were counted and concluded: It would have been preferable had man not been created than to have been created. However, now that he has been created, he should examine his actions that he has performed and seek to correct them. And some say: He should scrutinize his planned actions and evaluate whether or not and in what manner those actions should be performed, so that he will not sin.

מתני׳ הקורה שאמרו רחבה כדי לקבל אריח ואריח חצי לבנה של שלשה טפחים דייה לקורה שתהא רחבה טפח כדי לקבל אריח לרחבו

MISHNA: The cross beam, which the Sages stated may be used to render an alleyway fit for one to carry within it, must be wide enough to receive and hold a small brick. And this small brick is half a large brick, which measures three handbreadths, i.e., a handbreadth and a half. It is sufficient that the cross beam will be a handbreadth in width, not a handbreadth and a half, enough to hold a small brick across its width.

רחבה כדי לקבל אריח ובריאה כדי לקבל אריח רבי יהודה אומר רחבה אף על פי שאין בריאה היתה של קש ושל קנים רואין אותה כאילו היא של מתכת

And the cross beam must be wide enough to hold a small brick and also sturdy enough to hold a small brick and not collapse. Rabbi Yehuda says: If it is wide enough to hold the brick, even though it is not sturdy enough to actually support it, it is sufficient. Therefore, even if the cross beam is made of straw or reeds, one considers it as though it were made of metal.

עקומה רואין אותה כאילו היא פשוטה עגולה רואין אותה כאילו היא מרובעת כל שיש בהיקיפו שלשה טפחים יש בו רוחב טפח:

If the cross beam is curved, so that a small brick cannot rest on it, one considers it as though it were straight; if it is round, one considers it as though it were square. The following principle was stated with regard to a round cross beam: Any beam with a circumference of three handbreadths is a handbreadth in width, i.e., in diameter.

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