I once heard a story that there was a certain (talmudic) rabbi who held that the halacha is a certain way with regard to produce from the field (when you can harvest it or something like that) but that the majority of the rabbis decided a different halacha with regard to this produce.

Then the rabbi was once walking in the field with his students and they plucked the produce (or something like that) in accordance with the teaching of this rabbi. But the rabbi critized the student that he should not follow his halacha, as the halacha goes according to the majority of the rabbis. And even though he disagrees with the decided halacha, we have to follow it for the sake of its authority.

What is the source of this story? (I think it is from the Talmud)

1 Answer 1


The source for the story is in Talmud Yerushalmi Berachos 1:1:36 where it brings a few instances of such stories that the majority rules even if he himself disagreed. The one specifically about produce from the field is about R' Shimon Bar Yochai;

וְהֵן אַשְׁכְּחָן דְּרִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן פַּלִּיג עַל רַבָּנִין וְלָא עָבַד עוּבְדָּא כְּוָתֵיהּ. כְּיַי דְּתַנִּינָן תַּמָּן רִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר כָּל־הַסְּפִיחִין מוּתָּרִין חוּץ מִסְּפִיחֵי כְּרוּב שֶׁאֵין כְּיוֹצֵא בָּהֶן בִּירָקוֹת שָׂדֶה. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים כָּל־הַסְּפִיחִין אֲסוּרִין. ר׳ שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָי עָבַד עוּבְדָא בִשְׁמִיטְתָא חָמָא חַד מְלַקֵּט סְפִיחֵי שְׁבִיעִית. אָמַר לֵיהּ וְלֵית אָסוּר. וְלָאו סְפִיחַ אִינּוּן. אָמַר לֵיהּ וְלַאו אַתְּ הוּא שֶׁאַתְּ מַתִּיר. אָמַר לֵיהּ וְאֵין חֲבֵרַי חוֹלְקִין עָלָי. וְקָרֵי עַלוֹי וּפֹרֶץ גָּדֵר יִשְּׁכֶנּוּ נָחָשׁ. וְכֵן הֲוָת לֵיהּ

So we find that Rebbi Simeon disagreed with the Sages and did not act upon his opinion. As we have stated there (Mishnah Ševiït 9:1) “Rebbi Simeon says: all aftergrowth is allowed except the aftergrowth of cabbage because nothing similar grows wild. But the Sages say that all aftergrowth is forbidden.” Rebbi Simeon bar Yoḥai acted on this in a Sabbatical year. He saw a man harvesting aftergrowth. He said to him: Is that not forbidden, is that not aftergrowth? The man answered him back: Are you not the one who allows it? He retorted: Do not my colleagues disagree with me? He recited over him (Eccl. 10:6): “He who breaches a fence may be bitten by a snake”, and this is what happened to that man. (Sefaria)

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