In Berachoth (3a) a Beraitha states that there are 3 reasons not to enter ruins - that it is unseemly, that walls might collapse, and that unsavory characters might lie in wait and harm the person. The Gemara goes on to discuss whether three reasons are really needed, and it justifies each reason.

For some reason, the objections raised against the third reason are so great that the Gemara has to limit the scope of the Beraitha. The Gemara finally adds, "I Ba'ith Eimah" (if you want, you could say, ie., an alternative explanation is) there's one person all alone, in restored ruins in a remote field, so there's no concern about it collapsing, and there's no suspicion that he will do anything unseemly because it's so remote the odds of finding a prostitute are zero, but unsavory characters do lie in wait and might attack.

Why? Why does the Gemara feel compelled to scrutinize and justify each reason, and why does it object so strongly to the last justification that it has to come up with this isolated scenario? Why can't it just accept that these are all valid reasons not to enter ruins? In fact, I'm actually surprised it didn't go into a round of different Amoraim each adding a new reason.

EDIT It has been suggested in the comments that perhaps the Gemara sees a practical difference (Nafka Minah) in the reasons. Is that so?

  • @BA, I (or you) can remove my idle musings if you like, (and thanks for taking the time to try to improve my question), but I don't think your edit reflected what I was asking, at least not any more clearly than my original wording.
    – Seth J
    Aug 5, 2012 at 5:10
  • I assumed your question was why it assumed the reasons were for a nafka minah and not for just reasons. Was that not it? I tried to save your original language as much as was relevant to that question
    – b a
    Aug 5, 2012 at 5:12
  • I hear what your saying, and I guess it kind of leads in that direction, but I'm not sure that makes it clearer. Shall we leave it till tomorrow and see if anyone else has any other ideas?
    – Seth J
    Aug 5, 2012 at 5:19
  • @BA you're right, though, that it's not about praying, but about entering ruins. My bad.
    – Seth J
    Aug 5, 2012 at 5:22
  • I understand that you are saying that what I edited isn't your question. However, if it isn't, what is the question? You apparently are agreeing with the gemara's assumption that the baraysa is coming to give three reasons because there is a practical difference (which I thought you were questioning), but if so, it makes sense
    – b a
    Aug 5, 2012 at 5:24

1 Answer 1


In Halachic discussions it is taken as axiomatic that the authors of the mishnayos and baraysos did not generally embellish and say things that were not pertinent. Therefore, if a tanna gives three reasons for something, it is assumed that each of the three reasons has independent application; that each reason has some application that could not have been derived from the others.

The Gemara here is not limiting the Halacha to specific cases. It is simply finding specific cases where only one reason is present and not the other, in line with the premise that the tanna was not simply embellishing. Of course the Halacha is relevant in normal cases as well though, where more than one reason is present.

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