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The Mishna frequently mentions different opinions. Some opinions are generally rejected Halachicly (Rabbi Elazar, Beis Shammai). Why doesn't the Mishna mention who the Halacha follows (in general).

The Gemara is much more complex, with many arguments going back and forth, and yet also has very few final rulings.

Why is that?

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What makes you think there were any final rulings to record? – Double AA Feb 18 '14 at 6:54
@DoubleAA First of all, why did the Sanhedrin not vote on it (when it existed, in the time of Rebbi). Second, there were established customs – Shmuel Brin Feb 18 '14 at 21:54
1) you can ask that about why any machloket exist(s/ed). 2) There were probably also established variant customs. – Double AA Feb 18 '14 at 22:12

1 Answer 1

Your question is essentially answered in the Mishna in מסכת עדיות פרק א:

משנה ה:

ולמה מזכירין דברי היחיד בין המרובים, הואיל ואין הלכה אלא כדברי המרובין: שאם יראה בית דין את דברי היחיד, ויסמוך עליו, שאין בית דין יכול לבטל את דברי בית דין חברו, עד שיהא גדול ממנו בחכמה ובמניין. היה גדול ממנו בחכמה, אבל לא במניין, במניין, אבל לא בחכמה--אינו יכול לבטל את דברו: עד שיהא גדול ממנו בחכמה, ובמניין.

All opinions are mentioned, so that nobody can claim that they have a tradition of another opinion that should be taken into consideration.

There are rules how to Pasken from the Mishna and the Gemara. For example, we always follow the "multitude" רבים against an individual.

Many, if not most (all, possibly?) sugyot in the Gemara have a מסקנה - a conclusion - and that מסקנה becomes the Halacha. (Many of us have simply never been trained to conclude each section with its halachic ramification.)

When you find differences of opinions in Halacha, you will always be able to trace their origins back to different ways to learn the Sugya; if the opinion has no basis in the Gemara, how can it be a valid opinion?

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The Mishna discusses why other opinions were mentioned. Their being mentioned doesn't preclude a conclusion being mentioned as well. – Double AA Feb 18 '14 at 14:52
1. What @DoubleAA said. 2. Who said we "always" rule like the majority? There are times we don't, and there are times we don't know who is the majority. 3. Many sugyot don't have a conclusion (Breira, for example). 4. There is a source in the Gemara, but it's difficult to tell the psak (even if you know how the Rishonim learned the arguments) from the Gemara. The Gemara was written for people (at least the smart people of 1000 years ago) to use for Psak. Why didn't they make it easier? – Shmuel Brin Feb 18 '14 at 21:58
There are Machlokes in Tanayim which is nishtalshel into Sefardi-Ashkenazi machlokes. – Shmuel Brin Feb 18 '14 at 22:01

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