Sunday, January 29, 2006

Daf Yomi: Pesachim 2a - Naghei vs. Leilei

Why does Rav Huna use naghei while Rav Yehuda use leilei. One might say that Rav Huna chose naghei for the same reason the gemara says the Tanna of the Mishna used Or - it is a more refined language. But the gemara answers that this was the dialect in their respective locations.

Two points:

1) For Rav Yehuda, there is a better reason than this being his dialect. As we read in the gemara,

תא שמע דתני דבי שמואל לילי ארבעה עשר בודקין את החמץ לאור הנר אלמא אור אורתא הוא

Thus, in the academy of Shmuel, rather than teaching the Mishna as we have it, with the word Or, they taught it with the word leilei in its place. (And there is reason to think they taught this explanation as part of the Mishna, rather than as a brayta.) Thus, the next step in the gemara, after concluding that this is merely a dialectal difference, is to question why the Tanna in our Mishna did not say likewise.

Now recall, the gemara begins:

מאי אור רב הונא אמר נגהי ורב יהודה אמר לילי

Thus, it is Rav Yehuda who says leilei. Rav Yehuda (bar Yechezkel) was one of the best students of Rav and Shmuel, and on quite a number of occassions, cites statements in their names. Both Rav Yehuda and Rav Huna come to explain the Mishna, and Rav Yehuda's choice of words to explain the Mishna parallel that of the academy of Shmuel. Most likely, Rav Yehuda was repeating Shmuel's teaching.

This, of course, assumes that our girsa in the printed edition, which attributes this to the academy of Shmuel. Because דבי שמואל is similar to רבי ישמאל, because yuds are small, and because ends of words are often abbreviated with an apostrophe, often the two are confused. The JTS manuscript and Vatican Ebr. 109 have like our girsa. But the London manuscript has תנא דבי ר' ישמעאל.

I would assume that our girsa is correct, and the reasons for confusion listed above, plus the fact that תנא דבי ר' ישמעאל is more common, worked together to produce the wrong girsa in the London manuscript.

Thus, Rav Yehuda is likely using the same terminology as the academy of Shmuel because both heard it from Shmuel.

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