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The gemara Yoma on page 55a quotes a mishna which has R' Yehuda saying that there were no boxes of money for people to donate for kinei chova offerings because the kohanim could confuse that box with donations for nedava offerings. Abaye suggests writing on the boxes which box is for which kind of offering, but the gemara retorts that R' Yehuda does not hold such inscriptions are useful. The gemara then seems to try to prove this assertion by quoting our mishna and going through basically the same reasoning: R' Yehuda says there is only one stand and the gemara asks why. Evidently because the stands could be mixed up. So why not write which stand is which? Because R' Yehuda doesn't hold this works.

But how is this a proof? The reasoning seems exactly the same as the original point we are tying to prove. If this is a sufficient proof, why did the equivalently structured statement need to be proven at all?

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  • רבי יהודה היה נותן בהם סמנים דצ״ך עד״ש באח״ב. Perhaps he was into oral-aural memorization as opposed to writing. (Not that that answers your question -- and I haven't seen the g'mara.)
    – msh210
    Mar 24, 2015 at 4:46

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The Taz in his commentary Divrei David on Rashi asks a similar question on Rashi: Sometimes Rashi will quote another verse as proof to his interpretation of the verse under discussion, but when you look at Rashi to that verse, he quotes this verse as a proof to his interpretation there. The Taz explains that the fact that there are two verses that can be read the same way strengthens the interpretation for each verse simultaneously.

Similarly, the fact that there are two Mishnayos which indicate R' Yehuda did not think writing works for avoiding confusion makes it more likely that was his opinion. If it is just one Mishnah, maybe there is another explanation. Two Mishnayos makes it much more likely this is the real explanation. (So theoretically, the Gemara could have had the exact same discussion with the Mishnayos reversed.)

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