If the tosefta contradicts the Gemara/Talmud (either Jerusalem or Babylonian), which is more authoritative in Halacha?

  • Do you mean relative to Mishna?
    – shmosel
    Oct 21, 2023 at 0:55
  • No I mean if the tosefta brings an opinion contradictory to the ruling of the Gemara, do we follow the tosefta or Gemara @shmosel
    – Kirk
    Oct 21, 2023 at 2:09
  • I believe we usually follow the gemara whatever the contradictory earlier source is.
    – Harel13
    Oct 21, 2023 at 17:32
  • 1
    Tosefta was taught by the tannaim, like the mishna. The gemara wouldn't contradict a tanna unless it was siding with another tanna or correcting an error.
    – shmosel
    Oct 22, 2023 at 3:20
  • 2
    The question doesn't make sense. It's like asking who we follow if a pasuk contradicts a mishna. The latter is the definitive interpretation of the former; if you see a contradiction you're misunderstanding one or the other.
    – shmosel
    Oct 31, 2023 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


Refer to Yad Malachi, כללי הרמב"ם אות ט, where this topic is discussed. His conclusion is that not only is the Gemara granted precedence over the Tosefta, but we also do not accord authority to a Tosefta that lacks mention in the Gemara. His possible explanation is that before they made the Talmud they determined which Breisos were reliable.

כלל גדול בידינו, שכל תוספתא או ברייתא שלא הוזכרה בגמרא משבשתא היא, דמסתמא כיון שרצו חכמי ישראל לחבר התלמוד, חקרו ודרשו בכל הספרים, וביררו אותם שהם בני סמכא דווקא

See the Yad Malchi כללי שני התלמודים אות ג regarding Tosefta vs Yerushalmi.

  • 1
    It's a little hard to read. Any chance you could quote the relevant parts?
    – shmosel
    Nov 1, 2023 at 0:20
  • whats כללי שני התלמודים אות ג
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Nov 1, 2023 at 9:22
  • So it's not that the tosefta lacks authority or that the gemara has precedence, it's that we don't consider it authoritative if wasn't referenced by the gemara.
    – shmosel
    Nov 1, 2023 at 20:35

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