Clues to the Origin of Rabbinic Judaism

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Secret Alias
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Clues to the Origin of Rabbinic Judaism

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:19 pm

There is an incident which shows Judah the Prince as one who 'ignored' separatist notions of the impurity of the Gentiles:
והפת: א"ר כהנא א"ר יוחנן פת לא הותרה בב"ד מכלל דאיכא מאן דשרי

§ The mishna teaches: And bread belonging to gentiles is prohibited for consumption. Rav Kahana says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Unlike oil, bread was not permitted by a court. The Gemara asks: From the fact that Rabbi Yoḥanan states that bread was not permitted in court, can it be inferred that there is a different opinion that claims that a court did permit it?

אין דכי אתא רב דימי אמר פעם אחת יצא רבי לשדה והביא עובד כוכבים לפניו פת פורני מאפה סאה אמר רבי כמה נאה פת זו מה ראו חכמים לאוסרה מה ראו חכמים משום חתנות

The Gemara answers: Yes, as when Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia, he said: Once Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi went out to the field, and a gentile brought before him a se’a of bread baked in a large baker’s oven [purnei]. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: How exquisite is this loaf of bread! What did the Sages see that caused them to prohibit it? The Gemara asks, incredulously: What did the Sages see that caused them to prohibit it? It was prohibited due to the concern that Jews might befriend gentiles while breaking bread with them, which could lead to marriage with gentiles.

אלא מה ראו חכמים לאוסרה בשדה כסבורין העם התיר רבי הפת ולא היא רבי לא התיר את הפת

The Gemara explains that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was not asking why bread was prohibited in general. Rather, he asked: What did the Sages see that caused them to prohibit bread even in the field, where this concern does not apply? The Gemara notes that upon hearing of this incident the people thought that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi permitted the bread of gentiles. But that is not so; Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi did not actually permit such bread. This is why Rabbi Yoḥanan emphasized that the bread of gentiles was never permitted by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi’s court.

רב יוסף ואיתימא רב שמואל בר יהודה אמר לא כך היה מעשה אלא אמרו פעם אחת הלך רבי למקום אחד וראה פת דחוק לתלמידים אמר רבי אין כאן פלטר כסבורין העם לומר פלטר עובד כוכבים והוא לא אמר אלא פלטר ישראל

The Gemara records an alternate version of this episode. Rav Yosef, and some say Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda, says: The incident did not occur in this manner. Rather, they said: Once Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi went to a certain place and saw that bread was scarce for the students in the study hall. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said: Is there no baker [palter] here who can prepare bread? Upon hearing of this incident, the people thought to say that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was referring to a gentile baker, which would indicate that bread baked by a professional baker is permitted, even if he is a gentile. But in reality, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi stated his question only in reference to a Jewish baker.

א"ר חלבו אפילו למ"ד פלטר עובד כוכבים לא אמרן אלא דליכא פלטר ישראל אבל במקום דאיכא פלטר ישראל לא ורבי יוחנן אמר אפי' למ"ד פלטר עובד כוכבים ה"מ בשדה אבל בעיר לא משום חתנות

The Gemara cites two qualifications of the leniency that people inferred from the above incident. Rabbi Ḥelbo said: Even according to the one who thought to say that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was referring to a gentile baker, we said that the bread is permitted only where there is no Jewish baker, but in a place where there is a Jewish baker, the leniency would certainly not apply. And Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Even according to the one who thought to say that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi was referring to a gentile baker, that statement applies only in the field, but in the city it would not apply, and the bread would still be prohibited due to the possibility of marriage with a gentile.

איבו הוה מנכית ואכיל פת אבי מצרי אמר להו רבא ואיתימא רב נחמן בר יצחק לא תשתעו בהדיה דאיבו דקאכיל לחמא דארמאי:

The Gemara relates: Aivu would bite and eat bread of gentiles at the boundaries of the fields. Rava said to the students in the study hall, and some say that it was Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak who said to them: Do not speak with Aivu, as he eats bread of Arameans in deliberate violation of a rabbinic decree.

והשמן שלהן: שמן רב אמר דניאל גזר עליו ושמואל אמר

§ The mishna teaches: And their oil was originally prohibited but later permitted by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and his court. The Gemara cites a dispute with regard to the origin of the prohibition of oil. Rav says: Daniel decreed that oil is prohibited, and Shmuel says:

זליפתן של כלים טמאים אוסרתן אטו כולי עלמא אוכלי טהרות נינהו אלא זליפתן של כלים אסורין אוסרתן

The secretion of ritually impure vessels prohibits the oil that gentiles pour into them. The Gemara asks: Is that to say that all people are consumers of only ritually pure substances? Since it is common practice to eat ritually impure foods, why should the secretion of impure vessels render the oil prohibited? The Gemara emends Shmuel’s statement: Rather, the secretion of prohibited vessels prohibits the oil, as it absorbs the prohibited substances.

א"ל שמואל לרב בשלמא לדידי דאמינא זליפתן של כלים אסורין אוסרתן היינו דכי אתא רב יצחק בר שמואל בר מרתא ואמר דריש רבי שמלאי בנציבין שמן ר' יהודה ובית דינו נמנו עליו והתירוהו

Shmuel said to Rav: Granted, according to my opinion, as I say that the secretion of prohibited vessels prohibits the oil, this is how one can understand that when Rav Yitzḥak bar Shmuel bar Marta came, he said that Rabbi Simlai taught in Netzivin: With regard to oil, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and his court were counted, i.e., voted, on this matter and permitted it.

קסבר נותן טעם לפגם מותר

Shmuel elaborates: It can be explained that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi holds: A prohibited substance that imparts flavor to the detriment of the mixture is permitted. According to Shmuel’s explanation, the prohibition was revoked because the taste absorbed by the oil would have impaired its flavor rather than enhanced it.

אלא לדידך דאמרת דניאל גזר עליו דניאל גזר ואתא רבי יהודה הנשיא ומבטל ליה והתנן אין ב"ד יכול לבטל דברי ב"ד חבירו אלא א"כ גדול הימנו בחכמה ובמנין

But according to you, Rav, who said that Daniel decreed a prohibition upon the oil of gentiles, how can this be understood? Can it be said that Daniel decreed it, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi came and voided the decree? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Eduyyot 1:5): A court cannot void the statements of another court, unless it is greater than it in wisdom and in number? According to Rav, how could Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi void a decree issued by Daniel?

א"ל שמלאי לודאה קא אמרת שאני לודאי דמזלזלו א"ל אשלח ליה איכסיף

Rather than answering Shmuel’s question directly, Rav first rejects his proof: Rav said to him: Was it Rabbi Simlai of Lod of whom you spoke? Residents of Lod are different, as they disparage the Sages’ decrees, and therefore Rabbi Simlai’s testimony is unreliable. Shmuel said to him: Shall I send for him? As a result, Rav became embarrassed.

אמר רב אם הם לא דרשו אנן לא דרשינן והכתיב (דניאל א, ח) וישם דניאל על לבו אשר לא יתגאל בפת בג המלך וביין משתיו בשתי משתאות הכתוב מדבר אחד משתה יין ואחד משתה שמן

Rav claimed that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and his court erred in permitting the oil of gentiles, which Daniel had prohibited. Rav said: If they, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and his court, did not expound the following verse, will we not expound it? We must certainly do so. Isn’t it written: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, nor with the wine which he drank [mishtav]” (Daniel 1:8)? The word mishtav is in the plural, indicating that the verse speaks of two types of drinking: One is the drinking of wine, and one is the drinking of oil. Accordingly, Daniel himself refrained from consuming oil of gentiles, as he instituted this prohibition. Why does Shmuel reject this inference, which indicates that Daniel issued this decree?

רב סבר על לבו שם ולכל ישראל הורה ושמואל סבר על לבו שם ולכל ישראל לא הורה

The Gemara explains that Rav maintained: Daniel placed the prohibition against consuming the oil of gentiles upon his heart, i.e., for himself, and he instructed all Jews to adhere to it as well. And Shmuel held: Daniel placed the prohibition upon his heart, but he did not instruct all Jews to accept it.

ושמן דניאל גזר והאמר באלי אבימי נותאה משמיה דרב פיתן ושמנן יינן ובנותיהן כולן משמנה עשר דבר הן

The Gemara asks: And is it correct that Daniel decreed that oil is prohibited? But doesn’t Balei say that Avimi of Nota [Nota’a] says in the name of Rav: The prohibitions of gentiles’ bread and their oil, their wine and their daughters, are all from the eighteen matters decreed in a single day in the days of the students of Shammai and Hillel. Apparently, Rav himself maintains that the prohibition was not instituted by Daniel.

וכי תימא אתא דניאל גזר ולא קיבל ואתו תלמידי דהלל ושמאי וגזור וקיבל א"כ מאי אסהדותיה דרב אלא דניאל גזר עליו בעיר ואתו אינהו וגזור אפילו בשדה

The Gemara adds: And if you would say that Daniel came and decreed but the people did not accept it, and later the students of Hillel and Shammai came and decreed with regard to gentiles’ oil and the people accepted it, if that is so, what is the significance of Rav’s testimony that Daniel initially instituted the prohibition? The Gemara explains: Rather, Daniel decreed upon the oil of gentiles in the city, and the students of Shammai and Hillel came and decreed that it is prohibited even in the field.

ור' יהודה הנשיא היכי מצי למישרא תקנתא דתלמידי שמאי והלל והתנן אין בית דין יכול לבטל דברי בית דין חבירו אלא אם כן גדול הימנו בחכמה ובמנין ועוד הא אמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר ר' יוחנן בכל יכול לבטל בית דין דברי בית דין חבירו חוץ משמונה עשר דבר שאפילו יבא אליהו ובית דינו אין שומעין לו

The Gemara asks: And how could Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi permit an ordinance issued by the students of Shammai and Hillel? But didn’t we learn in a mishna that a court cannot void the statements of another court, unless it is greater than it in wisdom and in number? And furthermore, doesn’t Rabba bar bar Ḥana say that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: With regard to all issues, a court can void the statements of another court, except the eighteen matters decreed by the students of Beit Shammai, as, even if Elijah and his court were to come and rescind them, one would not listen to him.

אמר רב משרשיא מה טעם הואיל ופשט איסורו ברוב ישראל שמן לא פשט איסורו ברוב ישראל דאמר רבי שמואל בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן ישבו רבותינו ובדקו על שמן שלא פשט איסורו ברוב ישראל וסמכו רבותינו על דברי רשב"ג ועל דברי רבי אלעזר בר צדוק שהיו אומרים אין גוזרין גזירה על הצבור אא"כ רוב צבור יכולין לעמוד בה דאמר רב אדא בר אהבה מאי קרא

Rav Mesharshiyya said: What is the reason that none of the eighteen decrees can be voided? Since the prohibition spread among the majority of the Jewish people, it cannot be voided. But with regard to oil, its prohibition did not spread among the majority of the Jewish people, and therefore it can be voided. As Rabbi Shmuel bar Abba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Our Sages sat and inspected the matter of gentiles’ oil and determined that its prohibition had not spread among the majority of the Jewish people, and our Sages relied upon the statement of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and upon the statement of Rabbi Elazar bar Tzadok, who would say: The Sages issue a decree upon the community only if most of the community is able to abide by it. As Rav Adda bar Ahava said: What is the verse from which it is derived?

(מלאכי ג, ט) במארה אתם נארים ואותי אתם קובעים הגוי כולו אי איכא גוי כולו אין אי לא לא

It is the verse: “You are cursed with the curse, yet you rob Me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:9). This teaches that if there is the acceptance of the whole nation, yes, an ordinance may be instituted, but if not, no, the ordinance may not be instituted.
How is this explained? For me Judah was continuing an understanding that there was nothing inherently impure with Gentile bread. In a subsequent age the rabbinic authorities used Daniel to declare Gentile bread impure. But (a) I am not sure that Daniel was ever considered authoritative and (b) the rules about Gentile impurity originate in the third century.

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