In a kuntress that the Rebbe gave out towards mid 5752 about the "house of our Rebbe in Bavel", it starts out with a chidush in Megillah 29a that Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Elazar are not in fact arguing.

I had some questions on the sicha, and the sugya in the Gemara in general (which are all related to each other and thus I think constitute one multipart question) that I haven't been able to find an answer to anywhere, hopefully you guys can help.

First quick summary of the sugya (Megillah 29a):

תניא ר"ש בן יוחי אומר בוא וראה כמה חביבין ישראל לפני הקב"ה שבכל מקום שגלו שכינה עמהן גלו למצרים שכינה עמהן שנאמר (שמואל א ב, כז) הנגלה נגליתי לבית אביך בהיותם במצרים וגו': Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai says: Come and see how beloved the people of Israel are to God - wherever they were exiled, the Divine Presence was with them, including in Egypt.

גלו לבבל שכינה עמהן שנאמר (ישעיהו מג, יד) למענכם שלחתי בבלה: They were exiled to Babylon, and the Divine Presence was with them there too, as mentioned in Isaiah.

ואף כשהן עתידין ליגאל שכינה עמהן שנאמר (דברים ל, ג) ושב ה' אלהיך את שבותך והשיב: In the future redemption, the Divine Presence will also be with them, as stated in Deuteronomy.

לא נאמר אלא ושב מלמד שהקב"ה שב עמהן מבין הגליות בבבל היכא אמר אביי בבי כנישתא דהוצל ובבי כנישתא דשף ויתיב בנהרדעא: Abaye explains that the Divine Presence is found among the exiles in Babylon, in the synagogues of Huzal, and that of "Shaf viyasev in Nehardea".

אמר אביי תיתי לי דכי מרחיקנא פרסה עיילנא ומצלינא התם אבוה דשמואל [ולוי] הוו יתבי בכנישתא דשף ויתיב בנהרדעא אתיא שכינה: Abaye wishes that when he is far away, he could enter and pray with Samuel's father and Levi in the synagogue of Shaf in Nehardea, where the Divine Presence is.

ולא נפק אתו מלאכי השרת וקא מבעתו ליה אמר לפניו רבש"ע עלוב ושאינו עלוב מי נדחה מפני מי אמר להו שבקוהו (יחזקאל יא, טז) ואהי להם למקדש מעט: The angels protested, asking God who should give way to whom. God told them to leave the people alone, as He would be a small sanctuary for them (Ezekiel 11:16).

אמר רבי יצחק אלו בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות שבבבל ור"א אמר זה בית רבינו שבבבל: Rabbi Yitzchak says this refers to the synagogues and study houses in Babylon, while Rabbi Eliezer says it refers to the house of our teacher in Babylon.


דרש רבא מאי דכתיב (תהלים צ, א) ה' מעון אתה היית לנו אלו בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות אמר אביי מריש הואי גריסנא בביתא ומצלינא בבי כנשתא כיון דשמעית להא דקאמר דוד (תהלים כו, ח) ה' אהבתי מעון ביתך הואי גריסנא בבי כנישתא תניא ר"א הקפר אומר עתידין בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות שבבבל שיקבעו בא"י שנאמר (ירמיהו מו, יח) כי כתבור בהרים וככרמל בים יבא

Rava taught and asked about the verse "You, O Lord, have been our dwelling place" (Psalm 90:1), and Abaye said that he used to study in his house and pray in the synagogue. When he heard David's words "I love the house where you live" (Psalm 26:8), he realized that the synagogue was his true dwelling place. Rabbi Elazar HaKappar predicted that the synagogues and study halls in Babylon would eventually be established in Israel, as it says in Jeremiah 50:18.

So the Shechina is with them in Babylon, even during the time of the Gemara which is in the Roman exile.

Anyways on the surface level Rabbi Yitzchak seems to say that it only refers to all of the synagogues and Torah study houses in Babylon, while Rabbi Elazar seems to say that it only refers to the house of "our teacher {Rav - Rashi} in Babylon".

Seemingly Abaye only goes according to Rabbi Elazar.

It's difficult to say how Rabbi Elazar fits with Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai's statement, that the Shechina depends on the preciousness of the Jewish people (and seemingly not just the "house of our teacher")

It's also difficult to understand the reasoning of Rabbi Elazar (however that of RY is explained next, based on that drasha of "mishkanos Yackov", and seemingly Abaye changed his mind from RE to RY when hearing it. Its not clear if RE would have retracted his opinion if he would have heard it as well).

In the beginning of the Sicha the Rebbe explains actually that RY and RE are not in fact arguing, since Beis Rabeinu is also a synagogue.

I'm having trouble understanding this novelty, essentially how its different from the initial understanding, and what is the proof that it is so.

Here's the text of the beginning of the Sicha in question (with brief paraphrasing of each section):

א. על הפסוקי "ואהי להם למקדש מעט בארצות אשר באו שם" - שגם בחוץ לארץ ("בארצות אשר באו שם"), במקום ובזמן הגלות, ישנו "מקדש מעט", מעין ודוגמת "המקדש הגדול אשר בירושלים"ג, "תניין (שני) לבית מקדשא"י - איתא בגמרא* "אמר רבי יצחק אלו בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות שבבבל, ור"א אמר זה בית רבינוף שבבבל".

ויש לומר, שר"י ור"א לא פליגי, היינו, שגם לדעת ר"א נקראים כל בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות שבבבל "מקדש מעט", וגם לדעת ר"י עיקר ושלימות הענין ד"מקדש מעט" הוא ב"בית רבינו":

התואר "רבינו" - הוא ע"ש שמלמד תורה לתלמידים, ו"בית רבינו" (הבית שבו מלמד רבינו תורה לתלמידיו) - הוא בית מדרש, ובמילא ה"ה גם בית כנסת (הבית שבו מתכנסים הרב והתלמידים לתפלה), כיון שהלימוד והתפלה צ"ל בבית אחד, כהמשך הסוגיא* "הואי גריסנא בבי כנישתא"".

The verse "And I will be for them a sanctuary in the lands where they have come" (Ezekiel 11:16) refers to the existence of a "miniature sanctuary" even in exile outside of Israel, where synagogues and study halls are established. Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Elazar do not disagree about this concept, but rather about which specific institution is referred to as "miniature sanctuary." According to Rabbi Yitzchak, the term refers to synagogues and study halls in Babylon, while Rabbi Elazar believes it refers to the "house of our master" - the study hall where a rabbi teaches Torah to his disciples. This term also applies to a synagogue where both study and prayer take place, reflecting the idea that they are one and the same in terms of their spiritual function.

ומעלה יתירה ב(בית הכנסת ובית המדרש שב)"בית רבינו" לגבי שאר בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות - כדרשת חז"ל* "מאי דכתיב? אוהב ה' שערי ציון מכל משכנות יעקב, אוהב ‏ ה' שערים המצויינים בהלכה יותר מבתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות .. מיום שחרב בית המקדש אין לו להקב"ה בעולמו אלא ארבע אמות של הלכה", "דבזמן שביהמ"ק קיים הי" שם לשכת הגזית שמשם יוצאת הלכה פסוקה ע"פ סנהדרין ועמהם ודאי השכינה שרוי", ועכשיו שחרב ביהמ"ק אותן ד' אמות של הלכה .. מקום קבוע שממנו יוצאת הוראה לאנשי העיר'"יו (ולכן גם התפלה היא במקום זה דוקא*') - שזהו ענינו של "בית רבינו'יגו.

ומצד העילוי המיוחד ד(בית הכנסת ובית המדרש שב)"בית רבעו" לגבי שאר בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות שבבבל, ה"ה "מקדש מעט" העיקרי שנותן הקב"ה לישראל בזמן הגלות תמורת המקדש הגדול שבירושלים.

The "house of our master" has a higher status than other synagogues and study halls, as it is considered a place where Torah is taught at the highest level. This is based on the idea expressed by the sages that God loves the gates of Zion more than any other dwelling place, including synagogues and study halls. Since the destruction of the Temple, the only place where God's presence is directly felt is within the four cubits of halacha. During the time of the Temple, the Sanhedrin chamber was located in the Temple complex, which was the source of authoritative halachic rulings. Today, the four cubits of halacha serve as a permanent place from which Torah instruction is disseminated, and as such, it is the primary function of the "house of our master." The special elevation and status of the "house of our master" is due to its being the primary source of authoritative halachic rulings during the exile. This is in exchange for the absence of the great Temple in Jerusalem. In Babylon, the synagogues and study halls are considered "miniature sanctuaries," as they serve as a substitute for the Temple.

so that's the beginning of what it says but I'm still having some questions understanding it:

  1. what exactly the chidush of sif aleph is, since the simple meaning is that ry and re are in fact arguing. If they are arguing then what's the basis of each of their opinions, and what specifically is the chidush that they're not arguing?

Seemingly the reasoning of ry is from note 4 about "maon atah", referring to specifically synagogues (and I guess lesser levels of beis midrashim?) And by note 5 by re it just brings that beis rabeinu is the house of rav, wasn't sure if that was also meant to imply a reasoning of some kind, but in general the question is just what's the reasoning of each one and how do we know they're not arguing, and if they're not arguing then went are they still two different statements.

  1. Also seemingly it would appear that part of the proof is when abaye said "don't say here AND here, rather here OR there", even though he should also agree that the Shechinah is also in other places, but why can't we say that abaye is just following the opinion of re (until he heard the drasha of "maon atah"). And is it significant that neither Rashi or metsudos to Yechezkiel mention beis rabeinu?

  2. also if they are not plug, then what is the proof that even rabbi blazer would agree that even the other synagogues are mikdash miat? we explained acc. to ry the special advantage of Beis rabeinu, but still im not sure how we proved re agrees with ry. this also goes back to the essential question which is what's the initial understanding of each of their reasoning's both before and after we thought they're arguing.

  3. what's the difference between the "Beis hakinesses and Beis hamidrash" of rabeinu, and "Beis" rabeinu? is that difference part of the chiddush?

Follow up thoughts:

I realized later that [from] note 39 [and on for that section, it] talks about a deeper reason for why it's called "Beis Rabeinu", "the house of our Rebbe", and not "the synagogue and house of Torah study of our Rebbe" ( ועפ"ז יומתק הלשון􏰂 "בית רבינו", ולא "בית הכנסת ובית המדרש של רבינו". ), since, as it says there that the "Rebbe" includes all of the sparks of the Yechida in all of the other Yidden, and the statement of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was "how precious are the people of Yisroel, for all places they go, the Shechina goes with them", as more of a proof for why "Beis Rabeinu" is the main revelation of the Shechina (since the Rebbe in that house has all of the sparks of the Yechida found in other souls) etc..

I think that was trying to explain what the novelty of the first part was, that seemingly the entire novelty of the first section is that "Beis Rabeinu" in the Gemara is also a Beis Hamidrash, and since learning and Davening has to be in the same place, its also a Beis haknesses, and that's seemingly the proof for why Rabbi Yitzchak

(who says Mikdash Miat is all synagogues (in Bavel)) would agree that even Beis Rabeinu in Bavel is a Mikdash Mi-at (and then in that continuation it gives why Rabbi Yitzchak would agree that b"r has a higher level, because it's the place where "Hora" --- peak din, comes from, like the Sanhedrin) {although this still doesn't (seemingly) explain why even Rabbi Elazar would agree that other synagogues besides for Beis Rabeinu are Mikdash Mi'at}

That seemingly the whole point of that was just to say that Beis Rabeinu is also a Beis haknesses, so therefore they're not arguing. That would imply that if not for that, there would be reason to think they are arguing.

I guess that means that in the initial understanding, since the name of the place is simply "the house of the Rebbe", that would imply that it's just the place where the Rebbe lives, and (possibly?) also the place he gives psak din / lessons to the people of the city / country etc. (in this case it's Rav who was essentially the Reish Galusa),

so I guess maybe at first we thought that the Gemara thought that Beis Rabeinu is not a synagogue, but rather, just the personal house (because of the name it uses), but (part?) of the novelty might be that Beis Rabeinu is just called that in order to stress some deeper meaning

(that the Rebbe includes the sparks of the yechida of all other places, and the house of the rebbe is the house where the general yechida / manifestation of the Shechina is found), and that's maybe (part of?) the reason they're not arguing

But I've been trying to think this through and I'm not sure it's consistent, since Abaye said that he would go a full parsa out of his way to daven at the Beis Haknesses of Rav (Hutzul), and it even calls it explicitly "The Beis Haknesses of Hutzul" in the beginning of that sugya, so the question returns:

What is the reasoning of both Rabbi Yitzchak and Rabbi Elazar when we think they are not arguing [and the understanding of the sugya in general according to that], and what is the chiddush (and hechrech) in this Sicha that they are in fact not arguing?

  • hey Welcome. If I might ask, what does your user name mean? are you developing a chat gpt specifically trained on chasidus? Mar 31 at 5:29
  • 1
    @NaftaliTzvi hi nice to meet u. we're trying to develop a website at chassidus.ai which may incorporate that but currently is just used to write books on chassidus using AI [website currently under heavy development] Mar 31 at 5:37
  • @ChassidusAI welcome to MY, looking forward to your contributions! This question sounds very interesting already and I hope I get a chance to look at it in depth. Shabbat Shalom!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 31 at 15:30
  • @RabbiKaii thanks, looking forward for it to be looked into :) I may have some new insights I was learning / thinking about it over Shabbos I may add... Apr 2 at 4:02


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