If one has taken a 'swim' in the Talmud, it would become apparent that Rebbi Meir is often cited as "he used to say". I cannot express with certainty that it is a completely unusual phenomenon in relation to other Talmudic personalities, but it is something that has caught my eye.

What might be the reasoning behind this frequency as regards Rebbi Meir; and whether or not it is indeed unique to Rebbi Meir, what would be the general significance to such a terminology? (I haven't searched for every Talmudic name along with these key-words, so I cannot confirm any reality other than my impressions while 'swimming'.)

  • Its a punishment for him for something he did. Maybe gemara in kreisos brings down
    – Shlomy
    Mar 18, 2021 at 21:15
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/89573/13438
    – Alex
    Mar 18, 2021 at 22:47
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    @Turk Hill But is he the only figure in Jewish history who used to say things during the editing of the Talmud?
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 18, 2021 at 23:37
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    I think that is why my username is "Dr"--But I'm not expert
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 19, 2021 at 1:49
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    Can you clarify what phrase you're referring to? Are you asking about הוא היה אומר? As someone who 'barely wades in the kiddie pool', I don't claim to be an expert, but that phrase does seem to be used quite a bit, particularly in the Mishnah (specifically, Avos). A Sefaria search of that phrase shows that it appears quite a few times, and it doesn't seem particularly exclusive to Rabbi Meir: sefaria.org/… Mar 19, 2021 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


The Talmud (Gittin 4a) says that all anonymous Mishnas are attributed to Rabbi Meir. Possibly because he was a devoted student of Elisha ben Abuyah, the apostate rabbi usually mentioned only as Acher (the Other One) in the Talmud. It is said of R. Meir that he knew how to separate good from bad teachings.

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    I'm not sure this can be fully unpacked to bring about a conclusion in the dialogue I opened above. This is partially due to the feeling I have that some of those instances in the Talmud in which Rebbi Meir used to say things may not be anonymous Mishnas at all. This requires more research and understanding for me. I hope to get there; together!
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 19, 2021 at 4:34

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