I read that R. Zera fasted one hundred days to forget the Babylonian Talmud before he left Babylon to live in the Land of Israel. Why would he do this when I've understood that the Babylonian Talmud is generally considered "better" than the Jerusalem Talmud? Indeed, the Talmud Yerushalmi seems to be pretty much ignored by the vast majority of people. When people say Talmud it's assumed they are talking about the Bavli, as if the Yerushalmi didn't even exist. This is simply the impression I get from frum Jewish society.

ר' זירא כי סליק לארעא דישראל יתיב מאה תעניתא דלשתכח גמרא בבלאה מיניה כי היכי דלא נטרדיה

and before starting he spent a hundred days in fasting, in order to forget the dialectic method of instruction of the Babylonian schools, that this might not handicap him in the Land of Israel (Bava Metzia 85a).

Just so it's clear, the main question is why would he want to forget what he learned in Babylon?

  • 3
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/33744 – Fred Jul 13 '14 at 19:24
  • @Fred You sure it's not duplicate? – MTL Jul 13 '14 at 19:31
  • 4
    @Shokhet I don't think so, one is asking how it's allowed, this one's asking what's his motivation in the first place – הנער הזה Jul 13 '14 at 19:38

ספר שי לתורה quotes an interesting פשט from R’ Simcha Ziskind Broide from Chevron:

R' Zera recognised that he wouldn't be able to learn properly with the new approach and svaros of Eretz Yisrael if he was preoccupied with that of Bavel. He uses that as a lesson that we need to leave the past behind us at times in order to move on to the next level.

(Sorry I don't have the source, and am quoting from memory..)

| improve this answer | |
  • "ספר שי לתורה" or "ספר שי למורה"? – MTL Jul 13 '14 at 21:38
  • 1
    שי לתורה if my memory serves me correctly. – Zvi Jul 13 '14 at 21:46

You must log in to answer this question.

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