# What do I do when I run into a gemara that is contrary to common sense

What do I do when an answer in the Gemara seems so illogical or contrary to common sense, even after reading all the commentaries? Do I just ignore my own logic? Just saying it may make sense in the future is not sufficient.

• Do you mean halakhic material or aggadic? Can you give an example? Commented Jul 18 at 22:41
• Need examples... Commented Jul 19 at 1:21
• Welcome to MiYodeya Lev and thanks for this first question. Would be great to get more gemara questions here so please bring them on! Great to have you learn with us! Commented Jul 19 at 3:03
• Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, with a degree in Mathematical Logic (was professor at John Hopkins) has a shiur on gemara and logic, well worth a listen. Here are all his website's audio lectures, it's worth listening to the other ones that are about logic too. Commented Jul 19 at 14:17

Traditional commentaries generally don't deal with trying to make an argument sound logical, but rather with settling contradictions (of statements or of logic). If you are new to Gemara then the logic can be at odds with your way of thinking. But it is taken for granted that it is indeed logical. If your efforts are spent on making sense of it, rather than judging it, you will eventually be able to neatly wrap your brain around the Gemara's logic.

There are a few types of answers that might require a general introduction. For example, reading words into a Braysa or splitting statements into multiple opinions. But I doubt that you have come across this problem very often, and this wouldn't be a bad place to bring them up when you do.

• I never understood the logic in the principle that we don't say dayo when it would nullify a kal vachomer. Commented Jul 18 at 22:43
• @shmosel, While you wouldn't have made such a rule on your own, it isn't illogical or counter-intuitive. Commented Jul 18 at 23:07
• It's completely counterintuitive to me. You can't quantify the difference between `a` and `b` merely on the basis of `a < b`. Commented Jul 18 at 23:14
• @shmosel, there are few things to take into consideration that would shed light on that. First of all, the Kal Vachomer is not really logic, since we don't actually know the reasoning of each Mitzvah, but it is a form of deduction that we are told is a reliable method to glean laws from one another. The concept of Dayo is in itself reasonable, although we can also understand why it shouldn't usually be employed. Taking both of these into consideration should make it more palpable to accept that when you can only utilize the Kal Vachomer by violating 'Dayo' we do that nonetheless. Commented Jul 18 at 23:16

Understand the Gemara the way the Rambam said to understand it:

Astrology is a disease, not a science... It is a tree under whose shadow all sorts of superstitions thrive. ... Only fools and charlatans lend value to it. [Rambam, Responsa 2:25b]

I know that you may… find sayings of… sages in the Talmud and Midrashim whose words appear to maintain that at the moment of a man's birth, the stars will cause such and such to happen to him. Do not regard this as a difficulty… Possibly the matter was hidden from them. Or there may be an allusion in those words. Or they may have been said with a view to the times and the business before them. (You surely know how many of the verses of the Torah are not to be taken literally…) [Rambam, Letter on Astrology]

• You're making unfounded assumptions about the nature of OP's difficulties. Commented Jul 18 at 22:02