What are the teachings labeled "Tana Dvei Rabbi Ishmael"?

Are they Braisos or Amoraic teachings?

On one hand, on Shabbos 26b we find it arguing on Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar (a Tana).

On the other hand, we see Rava (an Amora) arguing on it there (do not-wool/linen garments require Tzitzis).

  • @Efraim In that source that you've cited, Rava isn't arguing on anyone. He is offering an understanding of a potential argument amongst tanaaim, (correct me if I'm wrong). Its also no clear that R shimon and TDR"Y are arguing. See Zevachim 4b, where tana dvei R Yishmael is quoted for the Braisa that we say every day about the 13 approaches to expounding upon verses. the question seems to be based on a misunderstanding.
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 7, 2014 at 3:34
  • @BabySeal hmmmm? Jan 7, 2014 at 3:54
  • @Efraim I thought I'd ping you since you bountied, but my comment was directed at the asker mostly. The question is based on Rava arguing with Tana dvei R Yishmael, but that's not what is happening in the gemara.
    – Baby Seal
    Jan 7, 2014 at 3:56

2 Answers 2


The sefer תולדות תנאים ואמורים here writes that every Rosh Yeshiva had one or more "Tannaim", even in the latter period of the Amoraim, whose job it was to be the resident expert in all the Baraissos (Tannaic teachings) by heart, so that whenever a Baraissa (which were generally learned by heart) was needed he was like a living book and would be able to immediately recite the required teaching. Thus the teachings of these "Tannaim" are referred to as the "Tanna D'vei Rebbi...".

The gemara in Shabbos 26a-b is a disagreement between Abayei and Rava with regards to the quoted teaching of R. Shimon ben Elazar and the teaching of the Tanna D'vei R. Yishmael:

Abayei holds that that they are in complete agreement, and that only a piece of cloth made from flax (or wool) is susceptible to tumah (as long as it is at least 3x3 fingerbreadths).

But Rava holds that they agree about a piece of cloth which is 3x3 fingerbreadths, but disagree about a piece of cloth which is 3x3 handbreadths or more. The Tanna D'vei R. Yishmael holds that even then only if it is made from flax or wool is it susceptible to tumah, whereas R. Shimon ben Elazar holds that in that case even if the piece of cloth is made from other materials, e.g. cotton, it is susceptible to tumah.

This gemara is explained in many online shiurim, for example here from 10:45 minutes onward.


Tosfos pesachim 5a:

דברי ר' ישמעאל - תימה לר"י דתנא דבי רבי ישמעאל נפקא ליה מקרא אחרינא ובכמה דוכתין פריך מר' ישמעאל אתנא דבי רבי ישמעאל

The Maharam explains Tosfos's question:

ד"ה דברי ר' ישמעאל וכו' ובכמה דוכתי פריך מרבי ישמעאל אתנא דבי רבי ישמעאל ר"ל א"כ משמע דחד תנא הוא

This could be a proof that he was the tanna - r' yishmael

  • Many users on this site won’t soon understand this.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Aug 29, 2019 at 2:39
  • 2
    Please note this site is meant for English readers. It would be wonderful if you would translate your quotes. Also see how I edited your question to show the quotes in different background - this makes it easier to differentiate quotes from your comments. You seem to have lots of deep and relevant knowledge, I hope it is OK if some of the comments help you direct it in a way that is most useful to the site. Thanks
    – mbloch
    Aug 29, 2019 at 4:45
  • +1 because this does correctly answer the question and is a valuable contribution. Still, as said, most users of this site will find the answer over their head, and it needs explanation.
    – Mordechai
    Aug 29, 2019 at 8:58

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