Bava Kamma 82a (excerpts):

עשרה תקנות תיקן עזרא שקורין במנחה בשבת

Ezra made 10 enactments (1) Reading the Torah at Min'ha on Shabbat

שיהו קוראין במנחה בשבת משום יושבי קרנות:

Rash"i explains the term יושבי קרנות

משום יושבי קרנות - יושבי חניות כל ימות החול עוסקין בסחורה ואין קורין בשני ובחמישי תקון בגינייהו קריאה יתירה:

My translation:

Store owners during the weekdays involved in trade and don't (attend) Torah reading on Monday or Thursday, (therefore, for them) an extra reading (on Shabbat mincha) was instituted for them.

But, we see that somewhere else, Rash"i explains the term יושבי קרנות differently:

Berakhot 28b (excerpt from Sefaria):

ביציאתו מהו אומר מודה אני לפניך ה' אלהי ששמת חלקי מיושבי בית המדרש ולא שמת חלקי מיושבי קרנות

What used he to say on leaving (the Bet Midrash after studying)? "I give thanks before Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou hast set my portion with those who sit in the House of Study and not with those who sit at street-corners;

Rashi on Berakhot 28b:

מיושבי קרנות - חנוונים או עמי הארץ שעוסקים בדבר שיחה.

My translation:

Shopkeepers or ignormauses that spend their time chattering. (rather than studying Torah)

My questions:

Why is Rash"i giving an alternate definition referring to ignoramuses as a possible definition. What's a bit more puzzling regarding the Bet Hamidrash prayer, is if it does mean "shopkeepers", it seems that they have a good valid reason as to why they are not studying Torah. They are not "chattering". They are helping the community by selling necessary goods to them. Why would we be degrading shopkeepers?

Lastly, if the Gemarah really meant "shopkeepers" regarding the Shabbat mincha Torah reading, why didn't it use the term חנוונים and this could avoid the ambiguity?

  • Seems there are various types of Y.K.: See Rashi in Bava Kama 82a, Sanhedrin 3a, Kiddushin 25a and Berachot 28b and Tosafot in Ketubot 98a – Danny Schoemann Nov 3 '15 at 14:28

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