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In Sanhedrin 24a the Gemara goes on to explain the different learning styles of the Yerushalmi Scholars (friendly; gave honor to each other) and the Babylonian Scholars (sharp with each other's viewpoints). The Gemara ends off by saying:

מאי בבל א"ר יוחנן בלולה במקרא בלולה במשנה בלולה בתלמוד (איכה ג, ו) במחשכים הושיבני כמתי עולם אמר ר' ירמיה זה תלמודה של בבל

The Talmud of Bavel is not as clear as Yerushalmi (the Gemara says it in a more explicit manner). Does this Gemara refer to our present Talmud, or does it refer to the Talmud prior to its final editing and format?

  • I don't understand entirely what you are asking – Dr. Shmuel Apr 12 at 2:38
  • When the gemara says that talmud Bavli is considerd dark and unclear is it referring to our gemara after it was sealed ,or is it referring to their times when the Bavli might have been more terse – sam Apr 12 at 2:42
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    I don't think it's using the word Talmud like you are. – robev Apr 12 at 3:57
  • 1. THe word תלמוד in the Talmud does not refer to the book of Talmud, it refers to לימוד. So this passage does not describe the final Talmud as we know it. 2. Do you translate "במחשכים" as "clear "? Where do you take "not clear" and "inferior" from? – Al Berko Apr 12 at 9:13
  • I am referring to the fomrat that they learned. Obviously they said over Braisos and Mishna and then had a discussion. What i am trying to get at is would they consider the present day Talmud bavli as inferior to the Yerushalmi. @AlBerko I say not clear from the lashon of the passuk which is mashma unclear ,inferior I get from the whole discussion in the gemara which says just that – sam Apr 12 at 13:18
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As I addressed those differences in my answer to "why-is-talmud-bavli-studied-more-than-yerushalmi":

  1. Please note that R' Yochanan and R' Yeremiya, the authors of those statements were both Israelis, so they "criticize" the way Babylonians study Torah, calling them חושך.

  2. I personally see it not as rude criticism but as a very keen observation - indeed as the saying goes "רחוק מהעין רחוק מהלב" it appears that the Torah centers in Babylon were not only far from Eretz Israel physically but also "spiritually", feeling a great deal of freedom from the Torah of the Israeli Rabbis and their tradition.

  3. Exile is always called חושך (compare to the Greek exile called חושך in Ber.Rabboh 2,4 "שהחשיכה עיניהם של ישראל), as opposed to the light of the Temple and Zion.

  4. So the Israeli Rabbis call the Babylonian approach to Talmud - as Halacha learning as darkness, the lack of the divine "light" of the Wisdom of the Land of Israel.

This is well put in the WIKI page:

רבי ירמיה העריך רבות את ארץ ישראל ואת תלמודה. בכך דמה לרבו, רבי זירא, שעלה אף הוא מבבל לארץ ישראל, ומתוך חיבת הארץ ותלמודה הִרבָּה בתעניות לשכיחת תלמודה של בבל,
בשל דרך הלימוד השונה והפלפול שהיה נהוג שם.
על תלמודה של בבל אמר את הפסוק "במחשכים הושיבני כמתי עולם",
ובשומעו דבר הלכה שנאמר בבבל והיה מנוגד לדעת החכמים בארץ ישראל, היה דוחה את דבריהם באמירה: בבליים טפשים, משום שיושבים בארץ חשוּכה אומרים דברים חשוּכים.

So to your question - yes, the Israeli Rabbis saw the Babylonian approach as inferior one relatively to theirs, seeing the Babylonian scholars as stupid and rude, criticising their argumentation and reasoning, but indeed the Babylonians didn't see it as such but a different cultural phenomenon embracing the fact that the majority of the nation is scattered abroad and requires a different way of Rabbinical thinking and leadership (see my other deleted answer there).

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