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מִי שֶׁהָיָה רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ בַסֻּכָּה, וְשֻׁלְחָנוֹ בְתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת, בֵּית שַׁמַּאי פּוֹסְלִין, וּבֵית הִלֵּל מַכְשִׁירִין.
אָמְרוּ לָהֶן בֵּית הִלֵּל לְבֵית שַׁמַּאי, לֹא כָךְ הָיָה מַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁהָלְכוּ זִקְנֵי בֵית שַׁמַּאי וְזִקְנֵי בֵית הִלֵּל לְבַקֵּר אֶת רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן בֶּן הַחוֹרָנִי, וּמְצָאוּהוּ שֶׁהָיָה יוֹשֵׁב רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ בַסֻּכָּה, וְשֻׁלְחָנוֹ בְתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת, וְלֹא אָמְרוּ לוֹ דָבָר. אָמְרוּ לָהֶן בֵּית שַׁמַּאי, מִשָּׁם רְאָיָה, אַף הֵם אָמְרוּ לוֹ, אִם כֵּן הָיִיתָ נוֹהֵג, לֹא קִיַּמְתָּ מִצְוַת סֻכָּה מִיָּמֶיךָ:

One whose head and the greater part of his body were within the sukkah and his table within the house: Bet Shammai say: it is invalid and Bet Hillel say it valid.
Bet Hillel said to Bet Shammai: Did it not in fact happen that the elders of Bet Shammai and the elders of Bet Hillel went to visit Rabbi Yohanan ben HaHoroni and found him sitting with his head and the greater part of his body within the sukkah and his table within the house, and they didn’t say anything to him? Bet Shammai said to them: From there [you bring] proof? They indeed said to him, “If this is your custom, then you have never in your whole life fulfilled the commandment of the sukkah.

I don't understand the importance of the Maase here: There were two schools, they went to meet another Rabbi to [probably] seek a confirmation. [turned out] He followed B"H. Then B"S told him that he never fulfilled the Mitzvah according to their approach.

What's the point of this long story?

  • Possibly a duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/93923/170 – msh210 Sep 11 at 18:18
  • Imagine it as a bunch of great rabbis in a Beit midrash talking to each other, and rabbi Yehuda Hanasi is the scribe. Now they are debating whether sitting in a sukkah with his table outside is Yotzei or not. Beit Hillel brings a story that they think is proof, and Beit Shammai counters it, while Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi records everything. – Lo ani Sep 11 at 22:08
  • Can you clarify whether your question is why the whole discussion between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai was included if it didn’t give us any new conclusion, or if it’s why Beit Hillel mentioned the story to Beit Shammai if it doesn’t prove anything? – Alex Sep 12 at 0:46
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You seem to have left out the key step in your summary of the story:

ולא אמרו לו דבר

And they didn't say anything to him.

Beit Hillel apparently did not know the end of the story (or disputed it); thus, they had a good proof against Beit Shammai. How can Beit Shammai maintain that this is not a valid form of eating in a Succah, when the very elders of Beit Shammai made no objection to this practice?

Beit Shammai rejects the proof because they disagree with the premise – according to Beit Shammai their elders did indeed object.

  • Why is this useful though? Once a rabbi didn't know something and then they told him and the halakha remained the same as we already thought it was and they all lived happily ever after the end – Double AA Sep 12 at 0:31
  • @DoubleAA That sounds like a more fundamental question - why ever record something that’s not the final law? But I understood (perhaps incorrectly) this question to be asking what was the halachic value of the story in the first place, i.e. why did Beit Hillel bring up the story to Beit Shammai? – Alex Sep 12 at 0:39
  • No, I'm ok with recording minority opinions. This isn't even that. Not why did BH bring it up to BS but why did Rebbi include the exchange that teaches us nothing new. – Double AA Sep 12 at 0:40
  • @DoubleAA I just left a comment on the question to clarify what is being asked. If it’s not what I thought I’ll delete this answer, as indeed it does not address the question as you formulated it. – Alex Sep 12 at 0:48

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