Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Hatarat Nedarim A Sham? pt iii (paskening like Rav Pappa because he is later)

In the first post of this series, a question: how could hatarat nedarim on erev Rosh haShanah work, if it specifically avoided pirut haneder, and halachah requires this even bedieved? And other questions.

In the second post of this series, a proposed answer: that when the gemara and Rishonim say that bedieved it does not work without pirut haneder, they were not speaking of the case where the judges know that the neder is not being specified.

Now, in the third post in this series, I wish to address whether Rif, Rosh, etc., are correct in ruling in accordance with Rav Pappa over Rav Nachman. This is important because only according to Rav Pappa is pirut haneder required as protocol. According to Rav Nachman, it should not be done.

Pictured to the right is a scan of the Rosh. Click on the picture to see it very large. You want the first column, d"h kasavar.

Rosh gives three reasons we should hold like Rav Pappa over Rav Nachman:

1) Rav Pappa is later than Rav Nachman, so he is batrai, and hilcheta kebatrai.

2) Rav Huna holds like him.

3) The Yerushalmi seems to conclude like Rav Pappa that there is such an obligation.

And so, we shall have to address each of these three in turn. Here, we will address the first point, and declare:

1) Rav Pappa is not actually batrai.

We have two ways of accomplishing this.

a) Rav Pappa is batrai when compared with plain Rav Nachman, who is Rav Nachman bar Yaakov. (See here.) But what if the Rav Nachman in this dispute is Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak? (See here.) Rav Nachman bar Yaakov was a disciple of Shmuel and so is of an earlier generation than Rav Pappa, who was a student of both Abaye and Rava. But if it is Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, then he is of the same generation of Rav Pappa, for he was also a student of both Abaye and Rava. Then, neither is batrai. And it makes more sense for there to be a dispute between the two.

I do not make this suggestion idly. In fact, the Rif has a girsa of this gemara in which he explicitly has Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak rather than just plain Rav Nachman. Thus, in Nedarim, on 21b in the pages of Rif:
גרסינן בפרק השולח
צריך לפרט הנדר או לא
רב פפא אמר צריך
רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר אין צריך
דאי אמרת צריך זמנין דגייז וחכם מה דשמע מיפר
ורב פפא אמר צריך דלמא אמילתא דאיסורא משתבע
והלכתא כרב פפא:
We learn in perek haSholeach {=the 4th perek of Gittin, daf 35b}:
Does one need to spell out the vow {when asking absolution} or not?
Rav Pappa said: He needs to.
Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak said: He does not need to.
For if you say that he needs, there are times that he will cut off his words, and the sage will only annul that which he hears.
And Rav Pappa said: He needs to, for perhaps he swore about something which was forbidden.
And the halacha is like Rav Pappa.
Rif still says the halacha is like Rav Pappa, but his reason does not need to be that Rav Pappa is batrai. Indeed, he specifies no reason, though the reason may well be that Rav Huna holds like Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, rather than that Rav Pappa is later. Meanwhile, Rosh has the girsa of just plain Rav Nachman, and so he cites this as a reason.

This is really enough for me. Lectio difficilior dictates that "bar Yitzchak" is more likely to be dropped than added to a text, and so the most likely original is Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak.

Of course, a bit earlier in the gemara, we have Rav Nachman arguing with Rav Huna. This would presumably be the earlier Rav Nachman, namely Rav Nachman bar Yaakov. This could also explain the reason for the dropping of "bar Yitzchak" a bit later in the gemara, when a Rav Nachman argues with Rav Pappa.

b) But I could propose another solution, if I wished. Namely, that Rav Nachman is indeed Rav Nachman bar Yaakov, who is a student of Shmuel, but his disputant is not Rav Pappa, but rather Rav Pappi, who some say was of an earlier generation. Indeed, we have Rav Pappi visit Mar Shmuel's house, and so some then distinguish Shmuel from Mar Shmuel, but I believe others say that Rav Pappi was of an earlier generation. Since he visited Shmuel's house, he would be of the same generation as Shmuel's student, Rav Nachman bar Yaakov.

While I did not look, and thus certainly have no manuscript evidence to support me in this bold assertion, I do have the fact that this is not the only time "Rav Nachman" and "Rav Pappa" disagree. We also have a dispute between Rav Nachman and Rav Pappa elsewhere. (See here for a partial list.) We really need to sit down and see whether we can figure out a rule for this.

Thus, for example, from my transaltion in the Rif:
Rav Nachman said: People do not make a son the agent in the place of his father. And Rav Pappa {our gemara: Rav Pappi} said: People do make a son the agent in the place of his father.
And the halacha is that people to make a son an agent in place of his father.
And in this dispute, we have a girsological variant between Rav Pappa and Rav Pappi. Lectio difficilior would argue in favor of the less well-known Rav Pappi, but then again, if one scribe writes פפ' מ instead of פפא, the shmitchik could be reinterpreted by the next scribe as a yud.

But other gemaras (e.g. this) make me favor the identification of Rav Pappa rather than Rav Pappi. Thus, I would reject option (b) but would promote option (a).

All in all, we have this compelling variant in the words of the Rif that Rav Nachman is Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, and so he is a contemporary of Rav Pappa. Rosh's first argument in favor of ruling like Rav Pappa is thus readily dismissed.

Note: This is all not intended halacha lemaaseh.

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