Eruvin 6 amud 2 says someone who follows the stringencies of Bes Shamay and of Bes Hilel is a fool walking in darkness: rather, it says, one should follow the one or the other, both when it is lenient and when it is stringent.

Shabas 40 amud 1 says Raba would follow the stringencies of Rav but not his leniencies.

How do we understand Raba's actions in light of the Bavli Eruvin?

  • Wouldn't the basis of your question preclude any single rabbi from ruling with any two different rabbis in any circumstance? Every one should pick one rabbi from a previous generation and rule with him exclusively. Is there something in particular with Rabbah choosing to be stringent like Rav that made you ask this question? – user6591 Oct 29 '14 at 1:01
  • @user6591 it seems he followed the stringencies of Rav as a rule, not just once or twice, but not his leniencies. That seems like a violation of the principle I cited. I know of no one else who did so; if there is someone, my question would apply to him also. – msh210 Oct 29 '14 at 2:24
  • But you have no problem with rabbi x ruling haphazardly with rabbi y and rabbi z in any capacity as long as he doesn't choose to follow any one of them specifically to always be stringent. That it's already not like the gemara with B.H. and B.Sh. – user6591 Oct 29 '14 at 4:19
  • @user6591, correct. Note also that Raba's doing so is more of a problem for me than some acharon's doing so would be. – msh210 Oct 29 '14 at 4:43

Following that statement in Eruvin is an attempt to understand what it might mean. One possibility, which appears at the top of Eruvin 7 amud 1, is that only when one finds two tannas or two amoras that argue in an argument about which Bes Shamay and Bes Hilel argued does one have to follow one fully, and not partially one and partially the other. In your case in Shabas, perhaps the argument does not line up with any argument of Bes Shamay and Bes Hilel, thus allowing Raba more leeway in his actions.

  • 2
    I don't see that explanation there. Are you referring to "תרי תנאי ותרי אמוראי דפליגי אהדדי כעין מחלוקת ב״ש וב״ה"? That means (at least according to Rashi) any two tanaim or amoraim who argue, the way BS and BH do. – msh210 Oct 28 '14 at 23:09
  • I read from Rashi "כי היכי דפליגי בית שמאי ובית הלל בדברי מחלוקתן", and understand that as meaning that BS and BH are arguing on their particular machlokes, but I see how you could read that "ן" as meaning "just like BS and BH argue about their own makhloykesn". – magicker72 Oct 29 '14 at 2:22

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