IIRC, the only examples of Elu Ve'elu (אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים) appear in the Talmud in the name of the Heaven (see here):

  1. Machlokes B"H and B"S (see for example Eruvin 13b): ...a Divine Voice emerged and proclaimed: Both these and those are the words of the living God.

  2. Pilegesh Bagiv'ah (see Gittin 6b): G-d (or Eliyahoo) testified that R' Evyatar and R' Yonatan are both "Elu Ve'elu".

As we see in those examples the saying is very specific and focused on an argument between two Rabbis and does not extrapolate on all Rabbis and all Rabbinical arguments.

I'd like to know, who extrapolated/applied the saying on all Rabbis and all Machlokos, that in all arguments both sides are right?

(Thanks DoubleAa for accentuating this point).

  • If you search for אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים on Sefaria, you’ll find Rishonim applying it left right and center. None of them provide any explicit justification for doing so; it seems that they feel the existence of this concept is enough to justify extending it.
    – DonielF
    Oct 23, 2019 at 16:44
  • @DonielF Thank you, you're my rescuer! I had this understanding for years, but nobody would agree that this myth wasn't Talmudic, it was created much later in the times of the Rishonim. The Rabbis of the Talmud didn't support this position and allowed for much stronger polarization of opinions, frequently holding others as simply being wrong.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:15
  • Unless there's an earlier source for the understanding of Chagigah 3a contained in the Rashi you cited, that's the best I can come up with.
    – DonielF
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


THe closest I could find is Rashi on Kohelet 12.11:

דִּבְרֵי חֲכָמִים כַּדָּרְבֹנוֹת וּכְמַשְׂמְרוֹת נְטוּעִים בַּעֲלֵי אֲסֻפּוֹת נִתְּנוּ מֵרֹעֶה אֶחָד׃
The sayings of the wise are like goads, like nails fixed in prodding sticks. They were given by one Shepherd.


נִתְּנוּ מֵרֹעֶה אֶחָד. כָּל דִּבְרֵיהֶם דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים.
All were given from one Shepherd. All their words are the words of the living God,

Of course, implying that Chachamim now applies to every Rabbi.

  • 1
    This is a gemara in Chagiga which uses this passuk,maybe on daf 5 around there.
    – sam
    Oct 23, 2019 at 15:07
  • @sam It’s 3b. Extensively darshens this passuk, and it’s similar to how Rashi expounds it but there are differences.
    – DonielF
    Oct 23, 2019 at 16:47

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