Why do we say תיקו Teiku when there is no answer in the Gemara?


5 Answers 5


It is important (and extra-important when teaching Gemara to beginners) to understand the basics first. The word "teiku" simply means let it stand.

Sometimes there may be questions that we just acknowledge as good questions, and we live with them for now and move on. (As some good, believing, God-fearing Jews do with this one or this one.) We are human and may not have all the answers all the time.

(Based on something I heard from R' Rakefet, quoting his mentor.)

  • I think there needs to be a clear definition of what a comment is and what an answer is.Shalom and Yahu are clearly commenting on the answer disagreeing but commenting non the less.
    – YRU
    Jul 2, 2010 at 22:21
  • 1
    I disagree. The answer I gave is an answer in and of itself and Shalom's is as well. His is the level of P'shat and mine is on the level of sod.
    – Yahu
    Jul 5, 2010 at 5:09
  • 2
    I agree with Yahu that his and Shalom's answers are answers in their own right. They each contain a component which is a comment on YS' answer, and which could maybe be left also/instead as such, but whatever; once they're writing answers anyway, it's not such a big deal to include a word about their answer's contrast with another one en passant.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jul 8, 2010 at 3:07

The Aruch (Hasholeim) Aruch tof koof, says that the word teiku means a pouch. Meaning the answer is hidden as something that is in a pouch. He then quotes Rav Yakov Saspordas that the word TEIKU could reference a contraction of תשבי יתרץ קושיות ובעיות. A similar thought is mentioned in the Tosfos Yom tov in the last mishna in Edios.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Sender! Thanks for the answer. Hopefully you will choose to stick around and continue enriching the site.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 23, 2016 at 6:09

The Zohar, Ra'aya M'hemnah, in Parshas Tzav says that Teiku means it will always stand as a question, as it stands for Tikun minus the nun sha'arei Binah (the 50 [=Nun] gates of understanding). This is used as a signal that this question comes from the klipos (shells) and could not have an answer because the halacha it is addressing has an element of gezeirah (divine decree) to it and not fully understandable by Man.

It continues on to say that Eliyahu will answer other questions that do not end up as "Teiku". This contradicts the tradition that YS quotes. As is usually the case with sod (the hidden parts of Torah), this Zohar needs a Rebbi to explain it.

רעיא מהימנא ספר ויקרא פרשת צו דף כז/ב and the Biur HaGra on it.


It is said to stand for תשבי יתרץ קושיות ובעיות that is תשבי who is Eliyahu Hanavi will answer the questions. This was established in Parshas Pinchas as when Zimri brought Kozbi to Moshe in front of Beis din and a large portion of Klal Yisroel and asked him is she Muttar to me? Moshe said no.He answered back how is your wife also a daughter of Yisro also a gentile allowed to you (The Ibn Ezra says this is actually the reason Moshe's children never became Kohanim?!)? Moshe had nothing to answer neither did the Beis Din or any of Klal Yisroel it was the first תיקו. One person had the answer it was Pinchas who is Eliyahu therfore we say תיקו which is an acronym for תשבי יתרץ קושיות ובעיות cause Pinchas who is Eliyahu the תשבי is the one who had the answer.'Ha'Bo'el es Ha'Kutis, Kana'in Pog'in Bo'

  • 2
    Nice Derush. Is it your own? "Tishbi Yitaretz etc." is an oral tradition that could be a misunderstanding of the Ra'yah Mehemna my answer is from. It could be the point of Tishbi Yitaretz Kusheyos ViIbayos means that Eliyahu will Davka answer questions that are left as questions ending with "Kashya" but one ending with Teiku will not be answered. That is the only way I could imagine the RM and the Rashei Teivos tradition not contradicting each other.
    – Yahu
    Jul 8, 2010 at 1:34

Teku 1.This term inidicates that the Talmud has doubt about what the halacha is and they are unable to paskin.

2.If the matter is Mamonot (i.e. money matters) then they will be lenient. If the matter is Isur then they will be stringent.

  • I believe the questioner knows the facts of your answer, but is concerned with the nature of the word Teiku and its relationship to the doubt.
    – YDK
    Nov 3, 2011 at 18:26
  • 1
    Re "If the matter is Mamonot (i.e. money matters) then they will be lenient": there are no leniencies in monetary matters: whatever is lenient w.r.t. one party is strict w.r.t. his adversary. Re "If the matter is Isur then they will be stringent": is that true even by a d'rabanan?
    – msh210
    Nov 3, 2011 at 18:29
  • The mevo hatalmud doesn't seem to qualify it. Neither does Darchei Noam nor Klalei Hashas by Machazor Vitri.Halichos Olam also brings the same rule down. The Yavin Shemua on the bottom of the halichos olam states that the Rambam held teku are D'orraitta lechumara. The Rosh holds that all isur lechumra even regarding D'rabanan. Look there in the Yavin Shemua ,he brings down many permutations regarding this chiluk Nov 6, 2011 at 1:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .