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Sometimes the gemara (or a braysa) will say something and then give a mashal (parable) to explain the true intent of what was previously said. Why does the gemara do this? Why not simply make the original point clear so it does not have to end up adding to, or modifying the original point?

[Note: We could divide mashalim into two categories. 1- those brought by the original speaker and 2- those brought by a different person. I'm really asking about mashalim brought by the original speaker.]

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    It would help if you can edit or link an example to a type of mashal you refer to. – DanF Dec 21 '15 at 22:12
  • Since the lesson was taught orally, the mashal is often needed to be remembered and drive home the point. If it could have been said clearer without the mashal, it would have been. The mashal drives home the point in a short way that would otherwise take pages to explain. – sabbahillel Dec 22 '15 at 0:17
  • I think @DanF's comment is right on target. Oftentimes, the Gemara's statement can be best explained with an analogy, a story, a parable. Notice that Sefer Bereishis has exactly one mitzvah not repeated in the other four Chumashim. As the Torah's not a history book, what's the point of Bereishis? I've often heard it was to teach moral ethics and the like. Well, I once asked a Rebbe of mine, why not tell us those lessons outright? He used this point as an example (note) to answer that sometimes, lessons can be driven home best through a story. Let me give you an example... – DonielF Jul 26 '17 at 4:07
  • Adding on to @DonielF's comment, my own mashal on the benefit of a mashal, or call this a "meta-mashal": If you wanted to learn proper ethical behavior from your father, you would be more likely to learn and follow what he did rather than what he told you, but didn't do, himself. I took many courses in "adult learning theory", and I train adults. Research has proven that people remember things best when they relate knowledge to their own life experiences. Examples or "meshalim" serve that purpose. – DanF Jul 26 '17 at 13:34

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