I always understood a major difference between a mishna/baraisa and the text of the gemarra is the former is in Rabbinic Hebrew and the latter is in Aramaic.

The other day I chanced upon a gemarra in Avodah Zara 23b:

ועוד תניא בהדיא מאי אותיבו ליה חברוהי לר' אליעזר (ישעיהו ס, ז) כל צאן קדר יקבצו לך יעלו (לרצון על) מזבחי

And furthermore, it is explicitly taught in a baraita: What did Rabbi Eliezer’s colleagues respond to him? They quoted a verse: “All flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto you...they shall come up with acceptance upon My altar” (Isaiah 60:7).

מאי אותיבו ליה חברוהי would seem evident that this baraisa is in Aramaic (it then quotes a verse in Hebrew).

Does anyone note/explain this curiosity? Are there other such cases in the gemarra (I guess besides the famous mishna Avos 2:6)?

  • 2
    Also Avot 1:13.
    – Joel K
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 7:47
  • 5
    You could also read it as "And furthermore, it is explicitly taught in a baraita what Rabbi Eliezer's colleagues responded to him: 'All flocks of Kedar...'" But since apparently it's a quote from another place in the Talmud (Harel's answer), your reading seems possible too. (Also, there's a lot more Aramaic in the Mishnah. Avot 5, Sotah 9, Ketubbot. But not the kind of Aramaic in Talmud-like discussion of opinions like here)
    – b a
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 9:57
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    Tangent: Now you have me wondering if there is enough Aramaic in beraisos to see if it's Israeli or Babylonian Judeo-Aramaic -- the language of the Yerushalmi or the Bavli. Particularly when the beraisa appears in the Bavli -- it would tell us whether the tanna spoke Aramaic, or the gemara translated from the original Hebrew. Commented May 11, 2021 at 20:18

1 Answer 1


According to Dr. Michael Higger in Otzar Habaraitot, vol. 8 (my translation):

"And so we should also note that in a few places we find that the Talmud, when writing "and it was taught in a baraita [v'tanya]" was not referring to teachings of the Tannaim, but to teachings of the Amoraim. And sometimes we find baraitot that in one place bring teachings of the Tannaim mixed with teachings of the Amoraim, and in another place in the Talmud we find these baraitot where the teachings of the Amoraim are [clearly] separated from the teachings of the Tannaim and stand by themselves..."

And one of the examples he brings is the baraita you're quoting. He notes that this teaching of Rabbi Eliezer is not found in the mishna of Parah, nor in the Tosefta, nor, apparently, was it before the eyes of the sages of the Yerushalmi. However, this can be found in the Bavli:

"יתיב ר' אמי ורבי יצחק נפחא אקלעא דר' יצחק נפחא פתח חד מינייהו ואמר וכן היה ר"א פוסל בכל הקרבנות כולן פתח אידך מינייהו ואמר מאי אותיבו ליה חברוהי לר"א (ישעיהו ס, ז) כל צאן קדר יקבצו לך וגו' אמר להן ר"א כולם גרים גרורים הם לעתיד לבא" (Avodah Zara 24a)

Therefore, it seems that the v'tanya here is referring to this story about Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Yitzchak Napacha.

See the rest of his note for other examples.

  • I like this answer, although I think I disagree with this professor's analysis. "פתח חד מינייהו ואמר וכן היה ר"א פוסל בכל הקרבנות כולן " is a baraisa on 23a (see the rishonim there regarding the girsa). Seemingly then the gemarra is sharing a story of two amoraim recounting baraisos. I don't see proof that either if them are an amoraic teaching. Also I didn't look it up but the Yafeh Einayim on the "baraisa" I quoted says כעין זה בירושלמי, seemingly against this professor's conclusion...
    – robev
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 20:28
  • I think the biggest support for this suggestion is other examples of such occurences. Maybe directly include them in your answer?
    – robev
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 20:29
  • @robev If I'm understanding your first comment correctly, your problem is that the "baraita" is mentioned before the story of Rav Ami and Rav Yitzchak? If so, I don't think that's enough to disprove the idea. After all, we find many cases in which the gemara is written "anachronistically", so to speak, with later sugiyot quoted earlier. Would have to see the proper source in the Yerushalmi to know what the Yafeh Einayim is talking about.
    – Harel13
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 21:31
  • @robev I found this section in the Yerushalmi, but I don't understand the language well enough - is this a baraita? sefaria.org.il/…
    – Harel13
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 21:36
  • My point isn't that it's earlier; it's that both statements of the amoraim can simply be understood to be quoting baraisos. I don't see the proof that they're amoraic teachings
    – robev
    Commented May 13, 2021 at 5:30

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