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In Ketubot 49a, the mishna presents the opinion that a man is not legally obligated to support his daughters. The gemara then goes on to determine whose opinion this is: first it excludes Rabbis Meir, Yehuda and Yohanan ben Beroqa, and then it demonstrates that the mishna could actually be in accordance with any of those three.

But if you look at the mishna in question, it explicitly says that it's the opinion of Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah! So why all this discussion about whose opinion it is?

  • This is similar to the general Talmudic practice of discussing an anonymous Mishna and asking who does it follow "A" or "B", rather than suggesting it might be a third view. Similarly, the Talmud frequently will attempt to reconcile a B'raita and a Mishna although they could be arguing. This case is not identical to those, but similar. – mevaqesh Nov 13 '17 at 1:19
  • Perhaps R Elazar ben Azariah is just providing a mnemonic for the rule but doesn't himself hold of it? – Double AA Nov 13 '17 at 1:26
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    Where does the Mishnah say this is the opinion of R’ Elazar Ben Azariah? זה מדרש דרש ר׳ אלעזר בן עזריה is referring to the following teaching. – DonielF Nov 13 '17 at 1:27
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R' Elazar Ben Azariah only says his din that the girls are fed after the father dies. He's the seifa; the statement before was made by a nameless tanna. When it says 'זה מדרש דרש', It's just saying that to introduce the following text, it's not connecting to the statement before. (We use the lashan of 'זה מדרש דרש' as a background for a halacha that was taught when R' Elazar Ben Azariah was appointed nasi; the halacha is always like him.)

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The Gemara is screening the known opinions on the topic. This is a technical custom, you can find very frequently, not necessarily a request for the name of the Tana. Often Gemara asked KEMAN, as who.

Rabbi Eleazar Ben Azaria treats an other topic, the rule when father deceased, The Tana Kama treats the rule when father is alive.

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