Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There are numerous places where the Talmud discusses some very personal facts about certain rabbis. For example, Baba Metziah 84a has a discussion about the size of rabbis' sex organ. How did the rabbis know such personal matters, and why is the discussin of anyone's private affairs important to have been written in the Talmud for all to read?

share|improve this question
Perhaps they aren't literally true? Then you don't need to know how they knew it. – Double AA Apr 25 '14 at 15:31
I believe Ben Ish Chai offers an understanding of the word their, (which literally just means 'limb'), as meaning arm. – Baby Seal Apr 25 '14 at 15:49
Presumably, just as today, Jewish men went to mikveh together. – Tatpurusha Apr 25 '14 at 16:43
Would appreciate broader answers. There are many other places where other personal matters are discussed. – DanF Apr 25 '14 at 16:45
@BabySeal In fact, that word is used in other contexts to specifically refer to an arm. In the context, this interpretation also makes sense, as the gemara is discussing that these rabbis were overweight. – Fred Apr 27 '14 at 5:01

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.