TalmuDigest

For the week ending 2 June 2012 / 11 Sivan 5772

Nidah 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • The source for relying on an established pattern of menstruation
  • The nursing mother and the need for examination
  • What is the sign of a woman reaching old age
  • When examination is not required
  • Who deserves the title of "tzenuah"
  • Avoiding the waste of male seed
  • The grave sin of masturbation
  • What is holding up the arrival of Mashiach
  • Mental incompetents maintaining purity
  • Choosing between teacher and disciple

The Impact of Disciples

When Rebbie (Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi) praised Rabbi Chama bar Basrato Rabbi Yishmael ben Rabba Yossi and described him as a great scholar, the latter asked that he be brought to him. To test him he suggested that he ask him a question in regard to a halachic matter. When he did so Rabbi Yishmael asked him if he wished to hear an answer according to the opinion of his father Rabbi Yossi (who was the teacher of Rebbie), or according to the position of Rebbie.

The response of Rabbi Chama that he favored hearing the position of Rebbie upset Rabbi Yishmael who exclaimed: "This is a great scholar? How can he favor the opinion of a disciple (Rebbie) over that of the master (Rabbi Yossi)?"

What was the rationale of Rabbi Chama?

The gemara's explanation is that since Rebbie was the head of the Sanhedrin and the head of a great yeshiva, he was always interacting with disciples and this sharpened his understanding.

Tosefot raises the problem that we find elsewhere that Rabbi Yossi was a greater scholar than Rebbie. His resolution is that when Rebbie was very young Rabbi Yossi was indeed greater than him, but in his later years the interaction with his disciples made him the superior scholar as indicated in our gemara.

  • Nidah 14b

What the Sages Say

"The scion of David (Mashiach) will not arrive until all of the souls in a place called Guf (the storehouse of souls to be born) are born."

  • Rabbi Yossi - Nidah 13b

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