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Do any mefarshim make the following observation?

The gemara in Kiddushin 29a famously says:

תְּנֵינָא לְהָא דְּתָנוּ רַבָּנַן הָאָב חַיָּיב בִּבְנוֹ לְמוּלוֹ וְלִפְדוֹתוֹ וּלְלַמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה וּלְהַשִּׂיאוֹ אִשָּׁה וּלְלַמְּדוֹ אוּמָּנוּת וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים אַף לַהֲשִׁיטוֹ בַּמַּיִם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר כֹּל שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְלַמֵּד אֶת בְּנוֹ אוּמָּנוּת מְלַמְּדוֹ לִיסְטוּת לִיסְטוּת סָלְקָא דַּעְתָּךְ אֶלָּא כְּאִילּוּ מְלַמְּדוֹ לִיסְטוּת

The Gemara comments: According to this interpretation, we learn in this mishna that which the Sages taught in a baraita: A father is obligated with regard to his son to circumcise him, and to redeem him if he is a firstborn son who must be redeemed by payment to a priest, and to teach him Torah, and to marry him to a woman, and to teach him a trade. And some say: A father is also obligated to teach his son to swim. Rabbi Yehuda says: Any father who does not teach his son a trade teaches him banditry [listut]. The Gemara expresses surprise at this statement: Can it enter your mind that he actually teaches him banditry? Rather, the baraita means that it is as though he teaches him banditry. Since the son has no profession with which to support himself, he is likely to turn to theft for a livelihood. This baraita accords with Rav Yehuda’s interpretation of the mishna. (Sefaria translation & notation)

However, there is an apparent contradiction to this later on in the masechta daf 82b

רַבִּי נְהוֹרַאי אוֹמֵר מַנִּיחַ אֲנִי כׇּל אוּמָּנוּת וְכוּ' תַּנְיָא רַבִּי נְהוֹרַאי אוֹמֵר מַנִּיחַ אֲנִי כׇּל אוּמָּנוּת שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם וְאֵינִי מְלַמֵּד אֶת בְּנִי אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה שֶׁכׇּל אוּמָּנוּת שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם אֵין עוֹמֶדֶת לוֹ אֶלָּא בִּימֵי יַלְדוּתוֹ אֲבָל בִּימֵי זִקְנוּתוֹ הֲרֵי הוּא מוּטָּל בָּרָעָב אֲבָל תּוֹרָה אֵינָהּ כֵּן עוֹמֶדֶת לוֹ לָאָדָם בְּעֵת יַלְדוּתוֹ וְנוֹתֶנֶת לוֹ אַחֲרִית וְתִקְוָה בְּעֵת זִקְנוּתוֹ בְּעֵת יַלְדוּתוֹ מַהוּ אוֹמֵר וְקוֹיֵ ה' יַחֲלִיפוּ כֹחַ יַעֲלוּ אֵבֶר כַּנְּשָׁרִים בְּזִקְנוּתוֹ מַהוּ אוֹמֵר עוֹד יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה דְּשֵׁנִים וְרַעֲנַנִּים יִהְיוּ

The mishna taught that Rabbi Nehorai says: I set aside all the trades and I teach my son only Torah. It is taught in the Tosefta (5:14): Rabbi Nehorai says: I set aside all the trades in the world, and I teach my son only Torah, as all other trades serve one only in the days of his youth, when he has enough strength to work, but in the days of his old age, behold, he is left to lie in hunger. But Torah is not like this: It serves a person in the time of his youth and provides him with a future and hope in the time of his old age. With regard to the time of his youth, what does it say about a Torah scholar? “But they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). With regard to the time of his old age, what does it say? “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age, they shall be full of sap and richness” (Psalms 92:15). (Sefaria translation & notation).

I imagine the answer would be something that if the son is inclined to a Torah-lifestyle and that is very much his calling he should be encouraged to follow that path in line with חֲנֹ֣ךְ לַ֭נַּעַר עַל־פִּ֣י דַרְכּ֑וֹ, but I would be interested to know if any sources mention this apparent (at least I think?) contradiction and how they answer it?

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    Im not sure I follow. By contradiction, you mean dispute? Or you're asking how does rabbi nehorai avoid teaching his son banditry by not teaching him a trade?
    – robev
    Apr 5, 2022 at 10:59
  • The gemara said earlier that one should teach his son a trade, Rav Nehorai seems to completely reject this by saying the opposite - "I set aside all the trades in the world, and I teach my son only Torah" - i.e. he doesn't recognise the need?
    – Dov
    Apr 5, 2022 at 11:22
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    Like I said, it's a dispute. The first thing you quote is a baraisa with Rabbi Yehuda, the second a Mishnah with Rabbi Nehorai (who I believe is Rabbi Meir). So what's your question? How to understand Rabbi Nehorai? That's nothing to do with a contradiction
    – robev
    Apr 5, 2022 at 11:30
  • So in my searching around online I saw on the Daf Yomi digest archives here - dafdigest.org/masechtos/Kiddushin%20029.pdf (on p.2) they mention the question as brought in another context by the Shevet HaLevi hebrewbooks.org/… (2nd par left column) and he brings the sefer hamikneh as per @mvs answer below but also calls it a contradiction?
    – Dov
    Apr 5, 2022 at 12:00
  • Maybe theres an implied מַנִּיחַ אֲנִי כׇּל [שאר] אוּמָּנוּת
    – Double AA
    Apr 5, 2022 at 12:09

2 Answers 2

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Rabbi Mordechai Kornfeld from Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Yerushalayim explains:

The Me'iri explains that the reason why a father must teach his son a trade is so that when his son grows up he will be drawn to do what he has become trained and accustomed to do. If he was never trained to do anything he will be drawn to robbery. The Me'iri adds, however, that "nevertheless, one who teaches his son Torah does not need to teach his son any other trade, because once he has Torah, he has 'flour,' and [when the Beraisa lists the obligations of] teaching Torah to one's son and teaching a trade to one's son, it means that one may teach either one [but not that one must teach both, for either one will save one's son from becoming a robber]." According to the Me'iri's explanation, the Beraisa earlier (29a) means that one must teach his son a trade only if he does not teach him Torah. The Divrei Shalom points out that Rebbi Meir argues with that Beraisa when he says that "one should always teach his son" a trade. Rebbi Meir apparently maintains that one must be concerned for the possibility that one's son will not be drawn towards Torah learning, and therefore one must always teach his son a trade to ensure that his son will not become a robber.

Similary, Rabbi Kornfeld quotes Avot 2:2 "Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi Judah Hanasi said: excellent is the study of the Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for toil in them both keeps sin out of one’s mind; But [study of the] Torah which is not combined with a worldly occupation, in the end comes to be neglected and becomes the cause of sin" and explains:

The SEFER HA'MIKNAH explains that both statements apply, but they depend on a person's level of Bitachon. If a person has a high level of trust in Hash-m, he may depend on Hash-m to supply him with all of his needs while he immerses himself totally in the study of Torah. Not everyone, though, is on that level of Bitachon. One who is not on that level must put forth the necessary efforts to earn a living as well.

In משנה הלכות חלק יו (Mishneh Halachos, by Rabbi Menashe Klein), it is explained that if a person (child) wants to learn in a Yeshiva, and thus that will be his occupation, he is encouraged to do so. See here, footnote 11 (could not find Mishneh Halachos, volume 16).

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 156:1) states that, as Avot 2:2 teaches us, work in combination with Torah is great, but a person should not make his work primary:

Afterwards he should go to his work because any Torah that does not have work with it will end up becoming null and will cause sin because the poverty will remove from him knowledge of his Creator. Nevertheless, he should not make his work primary, but rather temporary, and his Torah permanent

Similary, on the concept of working, Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits explains (Setting Aside Time for Daily Torah Study; HALACHICALLY SPEAKING, vol. 16, Isue 8, p. 5):

It is well known that the concept of learning all day and not attending school didn’t exist in America until Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, came to Lakewood, N.J. In other American yeshivos, such as Torah Vodaas and Chaim Berlin, boys learned Torah and went to college. The concept of kollel did not exist either until Harav Aharon Kotler enacted it. Chassidim throughout the ages worked and only stayed in kollel for a few years, unless they wished to become a Rav or posek.

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  • I'm not sure I understand the relevance of the sefer HaMiknah. Very nice the father has bitachon but who says the son has it? If the father doesn't need to earn a living, how does he know his son won't need to? Shouldn't he teach him a trade just in case?
    – robev
    Apr 5, 2022 at 11:35
  • @mvs - thank so much for taking the time to answer this. The latter sources you bring more focus on the learning vs working debate and not the issue with the two gemaras.
    – Dov
    Apr 5, 2022 at 14:11
  • 1) Maybe this is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe (and Rogatchover Rebbe) always taught: when there is a difference of opinion in the Gemara, both approaches posses theoretical validity (Selections from Likkutei Sichos, Shemos, Tetzaveh, p. 483).
    – Shmuel
    Apr 5, 2022 at 14:34
  • 2) Maybe it's not a "issue" but rather two teachings . The first gemara says to teach your son a trade, second says to teach Torah. The Divrei Shalom points out that Rebbi Meir argues with that Beraisa when he says that "one should always teach his son" a trade. Rebbi Meir apparently maintains that one must be concerned for the possibility that one's son will not be drawn towards Torah learning, and therefore one must always teach his son a trade to ensure that his son will not become a robber.
    – Shmuel
    Apr 5, 2022 at 14:34
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This contradiction is asked by the Brisker Rov (on Torah Chayei Sarah). He makes the contradiction stronger by qouting the gemara Eruvin 13 that says Rav Meir is Rav Nihorai. In short he explains the Minhag of most people is to work and earn living. Like rabbi Yishmael ( brachos 35b). However a person can choose to live differently like Rashbi and learn Torah and rely on hashem to support him. He brings the Rambam Shmita yovel 13 13 as a support to what he's saying...

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  • Great find! Thanks @Shlomy!
    – Dov
    Apr 5, 2022 at 18:34
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    I feel like too much is missing from your summary. What's the question if rabbi nehorai is Rabbi Meir? What relevance is there if people want to learn or work when we're discussing raising children? Who says they want the same?
    – robev
    Apr 5, 2022 at 18:39
  • I don't see it
    – robev
    Apr 5, 2022 at 19:33
  • @robev thats not the griz on torah... that's the chiddushei hagriz..
    – Shlomy
    Apr 5, 2022 at 23:39
  • ...Al hatorah :-)
    – robev
    Apr 6, 2022 at 4:58

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