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Occasionally when learning gemara one comes across an incredibly long and daunting Tosfot like s.v. Parah on Bava Kama 76a or an "iceberg"[1] such as s.v. Mah on Yoma 82a-b. (These are just examples.)

So, what is the longest Tosfot in Shas?


[1] You can't see the majority of an iceberg, as it's underwater.


Edit: if people post serious suggestions in the comments here, I can analyze word counts for individual tosfots. But please make it your best guess after considering the suggestions already made. And please link to the daf on hebrewbooks.

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  • Longest in word count?
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 17:14
  • 1
    @msh210 Or letters. I don't really care. Lines are not practical because of shape changes on the daf and I doubt there will be a difference in ranking between words and letters. That's why I didn't specify.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 17:16
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    There's a pretty funny juxtaposition on Bava Kamma 107a, too, where one of the longest Tosafos is followed by one with a grand total of four words ("הכל מפורש בכמה מקומות"). Although by the looks of it, that one is still shorter than your example from Yoma.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 20:38
  • Of all the suggestions here, the longest so far is Yoma 82 with 1367 words and 7088 characters. Also is Menachot 22b with 1379 words and 6996 characters. May depend exactly what you count as a word or not. But those two are pretty close. Zevachim 71 is 1317 words and 6938 characters.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 21:23
  • @DoubleAA you got the exact same figures as my computer for the tosafos that you quoted! How long did you spend counting all of them up to get them all so precisely?
    – fartgeek
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 1:43

2 Answers 2

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חגיגה כא ע''א, מנחות כב ע''ב זבחים עא ע''א, יומא נו ע''א,נזיר לו ע''ב all have enormous תוספות.

EDIT:

The longest Tosafos that I have encountered is Yoma 34b/35a, ד׳׳ה הני מילי. This is not an "iceberg" pre se, as there is a literally huge amount of Tosafos both on 34b and 35a. Word count is 1653 words, though that includes the printers references to דפים in other masechtos.

As an aside, though it's not relevant to the question, the tosafos in Yoma is in essence a collection of all other Tosafos in shas about דבר שאינו מתכוין and פסיק רישיה, so it's an excellent resource to have in your back pocket.

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  • Is one of them the longest?
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 23:29
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    Another one is on Zevachim 60b-61a.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 23:32
  • It seems my computer has confirmed your answer to be correct...
    – fartgeek
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 1:41
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EDIT: Below is my original posting of this answer. I have since written a computer program to search the whole Sha"s and find the longest Tosafos. Due to the fact that my code is terrible (I am embarrassed to post it here lol. Maybe if enough people are interested I will clean it up and make it legible and then post it here.)

The list of the top ten (word count) is this: [['1655', 'יומא 35a'], ['1419', 'זבחים 61a'], ['1379', 'מנחות 22b'], ['1367', 'יומא 82b'], ['1317', 'זבחים 71a'], ['1275', 'מכות 18a'], ['1267', 'בבא מציעא 50b'], ['1266', 'כתובות 92b'], ['1194', 'חגיגה 21a']]

For an annoying reason, the code outputted the amud on which the tosafot ended, not on the amud where they started, so you will have to go back an amud or two.

Also the formatting is terrible due to the mixing of language directions...


The longest ones I have seen are

Makkot 17b ד"ה איסורא https://hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=25&daf=17b&format=pdf

and Nazir 49a ד"ה ומשני https://hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=17&daf=49&format=pdf

The one in Nazir is a "reverse iceberg", if you will...

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