There are many places in the Gemara where Tanayim and Amoraim were offended (such as when one wouldn't come to the shiur of the other, when one wouldn't start class over to let him catch up, when one tried to remove his father from position of Nassi).

Doesn't it seem petty to fight over these things?

  • 9
    Imagine what they would have done if people could have downvoted them!
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 17:54
  • 1
    how do you know they were offended personally? (see desert star's answer)
    – ray
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 18:21
  • @ray He never claims they were (whatever that means)
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


The offense they took was not personal, but in their capacity as leaders and representatives of Torah Scholars in general. If they allowed themselves to be insulted without protest, they feared there would be loss of honor for the Torah.

  • 1
    But those "insulting" them were the same Torah scholars as them!! Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 20:01
  • Each Tanna and Ammora had their own group of "followers", somewhat like today's chassidic rebbes. When their "rebbe" is insulted, the followers could lose respect for the Torah itself, even though another Torah Scholar is insulting them. Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 14:16
  • Editing in a source for your answer would improve it vastly.
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 5:30

One of the most well-known "offenses" is mentioned in Talmud Bavli Rosh Hashannah 25a. Summary:

Rav Gamliel, who was the Nassi ("chief") at the time and Rav Yehoshua had a disput regarding the validity of accepting a certain type of witness claiming the citing of the 1st crescent moon. Such citing affected the day of the Molad (in this case, it was Molad Tishrei), which, in turn, affects the day of Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. Rav Gamliele challenged Rav Yehoshua to appear before him carrying his stick on the day that was Yom Kippur according to his (Rav Yehoshu'as) calculation (i.e. - Rav Gamliel challenged him to violate Yom Kippur based on R. Yehoshu'as calculation.) At the end, Rav Yehoshua did visit Rav Gamliel, and Rav Gamliel praised him. He acknowledged and even praised his scholarship (thus showing that he was not PERSONALLY offended by what he did) and also praised him for accepting his (Rav Gamliel's) ruling.

Briefly, Rav Gamliel did not take any personal offense. But he was concerned that there should not be different opinions regarding the molad and thus this would divide B'nai Yisra'el, and you would have different people celebrating Yom Kippur on different days! Yom Kippur, esp., is a day that demonstrates unity among Klal Yisra'el. Rav Gamliel wanted to be sure that everyone follows his opinion being Nassi. What makes his opinion "right" is a worthwhile discussion that you can find in the Mishnah / Gemarra pages, there.

Personal note: After reading this story, I understand a bit better our great loss in not having the Bet Hamikdash. Then, even with personal disagreements, they deferred to the opinion of the Nassi. Halevai, we could have a SINGLE world-wide "Va'ad Harabanim" whose opinion EVERYONE would follow automatically, even if we have our personal disagreements. To relate it to your question, the tanna'im and amoraim were concerned far more about communal unity than personal offense. If anything, I think that we have a bigger problem NOW than then.

  • It doesn't explain the other two cases (where there wasn't an official vote before ending the dispute) Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 19:51
  • @ShmuelBrin A vote for what?
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 2:27

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