Thursday, December 16, 2004

yerushalmi class #2

singular vs. plural
מֶלֶךְ – melek - king
מַלְכִין – malkin - kings
מַלְכָּה – malka(h) - queen
ן – malkan - queens

Start yerushalmi ketubot:

מסכת כתובות פרק א
דף א, א פרק א הלכה א משנה
בתולה נישאת ביום הרביעי
ואלמנה ביום החמישי
שפעמים בשבת בתי דינין יושבין בעיירות ביום השני וביום החמישי
שאם היה לו טענת בתולים היה משכים לבית דין

The mishna thus gives a reason, though of course this reason is only applicable to betula, not almana.

The gemara then offers reasons for the din in the mishna:

דף א, א פרק א הלכה א גמרא
בר קפרא אמר מפני שכתוב בם ברכה
רבי לעזר מייתי לה טעם דמתני'
שאם היה לו טענת בתולים היה משכים לבית דין

Two issues. How can Bar Kappara argue on the mishna? And what is the point of Rabbi Laizer, an Amora, agreeing with the mishna? How does an Amora's words add force to the mishna? The meforshim frame this, based on various details in the gemara, as a dispute which reason has primacy.

It might help to know who Bar Kappara and Rabbi Laizer are. Bar Kappara was a student of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi. He did not receive smicha because of personal reasons - he twice insulted Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and his household. His name was Elazar HaKappar, and his father was Rabbi Elazar HaKappar, who was a member of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi's bet midrash. To distinguish the son from the father, we call him Bar Kappara. He overlaps the end of the Tanaaim and the first generation of Amoraim.

While Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi compiled the Mishnayot, others around the same time compiled other collections of Tanaaitic sayings. Bar Kappara compiled a set of brayata. So did two of his contemporaries - Rabbi Chiyya Rubba and Rabbi Hoshaya Rubba.

Thus, there is some likelihood that even though the yerushalmi says "Bar Kappara said," it is really Bar Kappara citing one of his brayata. Indeed, in Bavli, the same saying, but worked over a bit to include Rabbi Yose's insight, is introduced as "Tnai Bar Kappara."

Rabbi Laizer, when occurs in yerushalmi without a patronymic, refers to Rabbi Elazar ben Pedat, a first generation Amora who came from Bavel and settled in Eretz Yisrael. Once there, he studied under Rabbi Hoshaya Rubba, and frequently in yerushalmi will cite a brayta from those of Rabbi Hoshaya Rubba. He will also often cite a brayta from Rabbi Chiyya Rubba.

(The initial aleph of Elazar drops off, BTW, to form Laizer. Elision of aleph is a fairly common occurrence in Galilean Aramaic.)

I would suggest that Rabbi Laizer is not functioning here as an Amora, suggesting his own view that happens to be the same as the mishna, or even arguing with Bar Kappara over which reason has primacy. Rather, he is speaking here as a student of Rabbi Hoshaya Rubba, as one who cites the traditions in the brayata. He is thus telling us the explanation as encoded in the brayata of Rabbi Hoshaya Rubba and possible even Rabbi Chiyya Rubba.

Thus, we have 3 or 4 compilations of Tanaaitic sources. The Mishna gives one reason. Bar Kappara has in his tradition a different reason. Rabbi Laizer pipes up to tell us what the story is in the other contemporary Tanaaitic compilations, and notes that it is is agreement with the Mishna.

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