# Asymmetry of R. Meir's times to inspect tzara'at (Nega'im 2:2)

אֵין רוֹאִים הַנְּגָעִים בַּשַּׁחֲרִית וּבֵין הָעַרְבַּיִם, וְלֹא בְתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת, וְלֹא בַיּוֹם הַמְעֻנָּן, לְפִי שֶׁהַכֵּהָה נִרְאֵית עַזָּה. וְלֹא בַצָּהֳרַיִם, לְפִי שֶׁעַזָּה נִרְאֵית כֵּהָה. אֵימָתַי רוֹאִין. בְּשָׁלשׁ, בְּאַרְבַּע, וּבְחָמֵשׁ, וּבְשֶׁבַע, וּבִשְׁמֹנֶה, וּבְתֵשַׁע, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, בְּאַרְבַּע, בְּחָמֵשׁ, בִּשְׁמֹנֶה, וּבְתֵשַׁע:‏

One may not examine Negaim [to check them] in the morning or towards evening, and not inside the house and not on the cloudy day, because the dull [Nega] seems bright [in these circumstances]. And [one may not examine] at noon, because the bright [Nega] seems dull. When does one examine? During the third, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth [hours of the day]. These are the words of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehudah says: During the fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth.

Now, R. Yehuda's opinion seems reasonable. The first three hours of the day are too dark, the next two hours are fine, and the final hour before noon is too bright. This is then reversed in the afternoon: the first hour after noon is too bright, the next two are ok, and the final three again too dark.

But I fail to understand the logic of R. Meir, who seems to have an asymmetry between morning and afternoon. According to him, the first two hours of the day are too dark, the next three are ok, and the final hour before noon is too bright. But in the afternoon, immediately after noon one can start to inspect for three hours, and the final three hours of the day are too dark.

How can we understand R. Meir' opinion?

• Maybe it has to do with the topography of a particular place - if there were mountains in one direction the light could be asymmetric. Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 13:46