# Who is greater than whom?

From the fact that Levi was in Bavel, Rav derived that R' Efes passed away.

He derived it like this:

After Rebbi passed away, R' Efes took over Rebbi's position. Rav Chanina was equal (or greater) than R' Efes in Torah learning (but not age, which is why Rav Chanina had R' Efes take over), so he learned outside. He needed someone to learn with, so he learned with Levi. When R' Efes passed away, R' Chanina took over his original position, so Levi (who was equal or greater than R' Chanina) had to go somewhere else to learn.

So we see from hear that Levi ≥ R' Chanina ≥ R' Efes.

However, the Gemara asks how did Rav know that R' Efes passed away? Maybe R' Chanina passed away. The Gemara answers that Levi would go to R' Efes' shiur. In other words R' Efes > Levi.

How does this work out?

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Perhaps greatness is Intransitive. Loops like this are actually very common when ranking people (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_paradox for an example). Basically each person is greater than someone else in a different way. – Ariel Jan 3 '13 at 22:56
I'm not really following what you write BTW. If Levi was greater than both of them, why did he not take over the position? I'm also not sure how you know that Levi was greater than E' Efes. I'm also unclear about why Levi would go to R' Efes' shiur, but not R' Chanina's - especially if they were learning together earlier. – Ariel Jan 3 '13 at 23:02
@Ariel It says that Levi would have attended R' Efes' shiur since R' Efes was more advanced than him – Shmuel Brin Jan 3 '13 at 23:54
@ShmuelBrin More advanced... in age (Rashi). – Fred Jan 4 '13 at 1:03
Daf Yomi Challenge? – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 7:11