Talmud Tips

For the week ending 16 March 2013 / 4 Nisan 5773

Eruvin 9 - 15

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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“I was sharper in Torah study than my friends because I saw Rabbi Meir from behind, and had I seen him from the front I would have been even sharper, as the verse states ‘And your eyes shall see your teachers’ (Yeshayahu 30:20).”

Rebbe, who sat in a row behind Rabbi Meir while learning Torah from him, made this statement regarding the importance of seeing the Torah teacher when learning. Rebbe emphasizes the particular importance to see the front and face of the Torah teacher if possible, since the student can gain deeper understanding and insight from viewing his facial expressions and their intricacies (Maharsha).

  • Eruvin 13b

Rabbi Abba said in the name of Shmuel, “For three years there were disputes between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, while Beit Shammai claimed ‘The halacha is like us’ and Beit Hillel claimed ‘The halacha is like us’. Then a bat kol (voice from Heaven) declared, ‘Both are the words of the living G-d, but the law is like Beit Hillel’. Since, however, both are the words of the living G-d, why did Beit Hillel merit that the halacha be established like them? Because they were kindly and patient, and they taught their own rulings and those of Beit Shammai, and, moreover, they positioned the teachings of Beit Shammai even before those of their own.”

Tosefot in Bava Metzia (59b) points out that even though the “The Torah is not in Heaven (Deut. 30:12)” — and we would think to ignore the Heavenly voice — the announcement of this bat kol is nevertheless accepted since Beit Hillel constituted the majority view, which the Torah says to follow (Ex 23:2).

  • Eruvin 13b

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