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Can anyone help me to find out where the custom of using the names 'Reuben and Shimon' as placeholders – eg in responsa – originated, or any other discussion on the custom?

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    It is used in several places in the Gemara? E.g. Bava Basra 43b - sefaria.org/… or Bava Kamma 21a - sefaria.org/…
    – Dov
    Oct 31 at 12:01
  • They just seem like the obvious choices.
    – N.T.
    Oct 31 at 21:32
  • @N.T. Nope. Avraham and Yitzhak? Ploni and Almoni? Shem and Ham? Gad and Asher? Moshe and Aharon?
    – Zarka
    Nov 1 at 14:55
  • They also have the advantage that they can be expanded out to Levi and Yehuda and more if necessary.
    – N.T.
    Nov 1 at 16:08

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