Many times while discussing a possible interpretation of a Mishnah, the Gemmorah tries to offer "dead-end solutions" - possible ways of explanations that are knowingly false.

NOTE: I don't ask WHY the Talmud does it, I don't judge it. I also don't ask about valid alternative Halachic solutions (Machlokes).

I'm trying to imagine Moses teaching Yehoshua: "Guess the minimum Succah height? You might say three Tefahim just like Channukah candles? No, it's wrong. You might say one Amah is sufficient for a person? You're wrong again. You might say 3 Amos, like a Mikve - you're wrong" etc. It doesn't make sense to me. I assume the passing of the oral law was pretty much straightforward - a Rabbi tells his students what he knows, so Moses told Yehoshua - "the minimum height is exactly 10 Tefochim, no less and no more."

It appears that this method is specific for the Babylonian Talmud, I don't see it being used in Midrashic literature for example. I presume here that the methods of learning are also traditional just as its content.

Question: what's the source for learning by intentionally misleading a learner offering him dead-end solutions?

  • 2
    See Rambam, Hilchos Talmud Torah 4:6. Also consider the number of times where we find ורבה לחדודי לאביי הוא דבעי. It's a pretty good pedagogical method; אין אדם עומד על דברי תורה אלא אם כן נכשל בהם.
    – Meir
    Dec 5 '19 at 0:08
  • See this
    – robev
    Dec 5 '19 at 0:31
  • 1
    Sifra does it all the time
    – Heshy
    Dec 5 '19 at 0:42

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