Regarding Moshe's response to Aharon at the end of the fifth reading of Shmini, Rashi writes that Moshe's response to Aharon (who said if we heard the leniency of eating the one time only sacrifices in mourning we shouldn't be lenient with the sacrifices of the later generations) that Moshe "wasn't embarrassed" to say "I have not heard" the law.

However, in Rashi's source, it says explicitly that Moshe "wasn't embarrassed" to say "I've heard it, but I forgot"

It would seem according to Rashi, Moshe never forgot any law, while according to the source, it says Moshe did forget

Why is there a difference between Rashi and his source?

Source: https://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/torahreading.asp?tdate=4/8/2021

20Moses heard [this], and it pleased him. כוַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע משֶׁ֔ה וַיִּיטַ֖ב בְּעֵינָֽיו: and it pleased him: [Moses] admitted [that Aaron was correct,] and was not ashamed, [for he could have covered up by] saying, “I have not heard [of this law.” Rather, Moses frankly said to Aaron, “You are right! I did hear that an אוֹנֵן must not eat from sacrifices that will be offered in future generations, but I forgot!”]. — [Torath Kohanim 10:60; Zev. 101a]

וייטב בעיניו: הודה ולא בוש לומר לא שמעתי:

{In the English here, as well as several other chumashim, they add Rashi's source of "I have heard but I forgot" after the actual words of Rashi, to try to resolve the contradiction, but it would still seem that according to Rashi's actual words, he holds differently}


1 Answer 1


The two citations are not in the original (ie. the publisher added them in). If we look at the two sources we see that they differ in exactly the spot you're noticing:

  • Zevachim 101a: ‮וישמע משה וייטב בעיניו הודה ולא בוש משה לומר לא שמעתי אלא אמר שמעתי ושכחתי.
  • Torat Kohanim Shemini 2:12 (the numbering varies by edition): ‮"וישמע משה וייטב בעיניו" – הודה מיד ולא בוש לומר "לא שמעתי".

It is clear that Rashi chose the Torat Kohanim source and not the Zevachim source. The two sources probably just represent different traditions of this story.

A good question to ask now is why Rashi chose one version over the other (all extant textual witnesses to that passage in Zevachim have שמעתי ושכחתי, so we must presume that Rashi also had that version). That's a deeper question of how Rashi chooses his sources and decides between different possible sources.

  • Generally Rashi tends to quote the Torat Kohanim or Sifre/Sifra over Gemara because they are the halachic midrashim directly on the pesukim.
    – N.T.
    Apr 12, 2021 at 2:54
  • Interesting, it would seem the translation there messed it up a bit though "12) (Vayikra 10:20): "And Moses heard, and it was good in his eyes": He admitted immediately that he had heard the halachah and had forgotten it, and was shamed into saying: I did not hear it. " Apr 12, 2021 at 17:47
  • Also why doesn't Rashi add the word מיד? Meaning, the gemara doesn't have the word, so it would seem like he starts quoting the gemara, only the fact that he doesn't finish the phrase implies quoting the TK, so why is he combining the two sources into one, which has different implications than both? Apr 12, 2021 at 17:48
  • @JohnGoshen I'm not convinced the מיד makes a huge difference, unless the reader knows its missing (which I'd assume the average reader of Rashi does not).
    – magicker72
    Apr 12, 2021 at 21:09
  • The average reader also doesn't necessarily know that Rashi is different than the gemara, but it's still a question Apr 13, 2021 at 2:25

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