When learning Gemara I sometimes run into a phrase that says:

"On this answer they asked all the questions that were asked earlier on the page and they were answered the same way they were answered there"

(Beitzah 18a, 9 lines from the bottom)

Am I supposed to go back and and read/learn those questions & answers again at this point in order to actually learn the sugya properly?
If I don't review the questions/answers at this point in the Gemara, can I make a siyum on the Mesechta or is it considered as if I skipped something?

  • 1
    I think this is a good question on Talmudic methodology: where the gemara refers back to itself, should we reread the section to which it is referring in light of where the reference to it lies? In other words, is it akin to Rashi or Tosfos, etc, referring to something in another masekhta? If we want to properly learn that Rashi or that Tosfos, obviously we need to look up the reference. Or is it like places in which the gemara alludes to something that is coming up later in the same text? In those instances, surely we are not supposed to look ahead, but to read up until that point.
    – Shimon bM
    Feb 1, 2017 at 1:52
  • 1
    @ShimonbM "Not supposed to look ahead" might be accurate for the way the Talmud is conventionally studied with Rashi, but what you are really "supposed" to do is to have been present while the discussions on the mishnayot were happening, so looking ahead shouldn't be out of the question either
    – b a
    Jun 16, 2019 at 9:42
  • I think you should at least review them mentally to see that they fit.
    – N.T.
    Aug 10, 2020 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure a question like this has a black and white "legal" answer. But my experience and advice would be that you should make sure you are understanding how those previous challenges and answers would apply to the new issue, but you don't necessarily need to reread the text in order to make a siyum on the tractate.

When I have been in shiurim (including that very pasage in beitzah), I have never seen anyone literally reread the previous back and forth verbatim. And I have never heard of a source saying you must do so in order to make a siyum. You are not "skipping" if you just read what's on the page and don't re-read the text above. The same way that you aren't "skipping" when the Gemara only cites part of a verse or part of a mishnah or makes a passing reference to a story recounted elsewhere or says "etc." None of these are a coded way of saying "you must stop and look up the text there as if it were written here if you want to consider yourself as having learned this page."

In concrete terms, as applied to your gemara, you hopefully understand how Rabbah understood the mishnah (that it was a rabbinic decree for a specific reason), Abayei's challenges showing why he thinks there is no such rabbinic decree, and the gemara's answers. What the gemara is saying here (and I assume you understand) is that Rav Yosef has given a different reason for a basically identical decree, so you should be able to understand why those challenges and answers apply just as well to Rav Yosef's theory (because Rav Yosef and Rabbah are proposing basically the same decree just for different reasons).

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