Our Talmud uses different methods to teach Halachot, one of them is telling stories about Rabbis and concluding the Halachot from their behavior.

One of the famous is R' Akiva in Brochos 62 (check the full sugya "That's the true way to learn Torah" there):

"תניא: 'אמר רבי עקיבא: פעם אחת נכנסתי אחר רבי יהושע לבית הכסא, ולמדתי ממנו שלשה דברים:..."

(R' Akivah said: one day I followed R' Yehoshua to a public bathroom and thus learned 3 Halochos)

This way is very prone to misunderstandings. The stories are transmitted with big changes (see the differences between Yerushalmi and Bavli in stories) from generation to generation still increasing the possibility of misreading. The fact that many times the Amoraim or the Rishoynim fail to agree on what the story mean at all.

Why would the Sages use the stories to prove Halachah instead of asking the Halachah explicitly from the source and publishing it?

Does it hint that the story indicates that there was no Halachah Psukah on that topic at that time?

  • excellent question! Jul 9, 2018 at 20:11
  • 3
    And there are no misunderstandings when teaching halachot directly?
    – user9643
    Jul 9, 2018 at 20:12
  • 1
    I’m not sure what you mean. Could you give an example where this is borne out? :)
    – DonielF
    Jul 9, 2018 at 20:13
  • It could be because it's easier to remember. A similar case is Brachot 31a שמתוך כך זוכרהו (in a different context)
    – b a
    Jul 9, 2018 at 21:28
  • Yerushalmi often relies on מעשה רב way more than Bavli.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Jul 9, 2018 at 23:12


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