This is a serious question about our understanding of the development of the current Halachah.

When I started my Teshuvah some 30 years ago, I was told that the Sages knew the Whole Torah and their disputes represent different approaches. After studying the Gemmorah every day for 20 years I arrive at a different conclusion - there was no הלכה פסוקה that obligated all the Jews at least from the times of Hillel and Shammai, but the opposite is true - every Rabbi had his own community that he managed Halachicly with little dependence on others.

The sources are too numerous to bring, in general, all the Machlokot show that there was no clear Halachah before that Machloket and in most cases ever after for long long time (until RiFF or Rambam's conclusion etc).

The Machlokot in Rosh Hashanah about Kiddush Hachodesh, for example, clearly show that such a serious Halachah that all the festivals depended on, was not unanimously accepted for generations of Tanaim and Amoraim.

Therefore I conclude, that despite the fact that thousands of "single-phrased" Mishnayot existed in the times of the Tanayim, their interpretations varied so much from Beis Midrash to Beis Midrash that there was no הלכה פסוקה in almost all areas.

Are there Halachic sources that conform to this conclusion?

NB: As @Alex noted, I can not overlook the fact that there were some הלכות פסוקות as listed in Brochos, but still the vast majority of the Talmud is dedicated to the disputes and not such הלכות.

  • The question is not clear to me. There are many "Stam" mishnayos, which have no controversy surrounding them. The Gemara also lays down rules for navigating practical halacha, regarding a machlokes between Rabbi X and Rabbi Y etc. – IsraelReader Jul 15 '18 at 12:07
  • @IsraelReader 1. G. lays no rules, the rules of G. are derived long after post factum. 2. Most of the Mishnayot are debatable, which gives me an impression that there was not much clear Halachah at their times. – Al Berko Jul 15 '18 at 12:24
  • I’d take a look at chapters 9,11,12 in Rabbi Kaplan’s handbook of Jewish though for proper sources clarification. – Dr. Shmuel Jul 15 '18 at 20:16
  • 1
    Some of this is actually selection bias. There isn't much discussion of halakhos that were settled. The book will naturally spend more space on open questions. For example, the mishnah already assumes Shema is said twice daily and doesn't discuss it at all. Barely mentions start times, and leaps into the debate about end time. You could leave the discussion forgetting that all the big questions were settled. ... – Micha Berger Jul 16 '18 at 13:35
  • 1
    ... The end times aren't as easy to measure. And the nighttime end time isn't even a common problem; people would say Shema before going to sleep, which was rarely more than a little oil after all light left the sky. They were therefore littler questions -- how much is mandatory, how much avoidance was simply people playing safe. – Micha Berger Jul 16 '18 at 13:37

The Talmud gives several example of a "halacha pesukah".

Berachot 31a

ת"ר אין עומדין להתפלל לא מתוך דין ולא מתוך דבר הלכה אלא מתוך הלכה פסוקה והיכי דמי הלכה פסוקה אמר אביי כי הא דר' זירא דאמר ר' זירא בנות ישראל החמירו על עצמן שאפילו רואות טיפת דם כחרדל יושבת עליה שבעה נקיים רבא אמר כי הא דרב הושעיא דאמר רב הושעיא מערים אדם על תבואתו ומכניסה במוץ שלה כדי שתהא בהמתו אוכלת ופטורה מן המעשר ואב"א כי הא דרב הונא דא"ר הונא א"ר זעירא המקיז דם בבהמת קדשים אסור בהנאה ומועלין בו רבנן עבדי כמתניתין רב אשי עביד כברייתא

Our Rabbis taught: A man should not stand up to say Tefillah either immediately after trying a case or immediately after a [discussion on a point of] halachah; but he may do so after a halachic decision which admits of no discussion. What is an example of a halachic decision which admits of no discussion? — Abaye said: Such a one as the following of R. Zera; for R. Zera said: The daughters of Israel have undertaken to be so strict with themselves that if they see a drop of blood no bigger than a mustard seed they wait seven [clean] days after it. Raba said: A man may resort to a device with his produce and bring it into the house while still in its chaff so that his animal may eat of it without its being liable to tithe. Or, if you like, I can say, such as the following of R. Huna. For R. Huna said in the name of R. Zeiri: If a man lets blood in a consecrated animal, no benefit may he derived from it [the blood] and such benefit constitutes a trespass. The Rabbis followed the rule laid down in the Mishnah, R. Ashi that of the Baraitha. (Soncino translation)

While this does not mean that every (or even most) halacha was a halacha pesukah, it does indicate that some were.

  • Yes, I agree, but still, the vast majority of the Talmud is the disputes and not those הלכות. I think you should put your answer in comments as it does not deal with the question, only brings some counterexamples I didn't deny. I added your comment in my question. Thanks – Al Berko Jul 15 '18 at 9:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .