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Rav Yaakov ibn Habib collected aggadeta from the shas bavli and yerushalmi. He called this collection Ein Yaakov. He also wrote a commentary on a bunch of it which is called HaKoseiv.

The very first mishna/gemara of the Ein Yaakov is the first mishna of mesechet brachos along with the gemara which discusses why the mishna included a law about cohanim. There is no apparent reason to include either the mishna or this piece of gemara in his collection of aggadeta. Additionally, Rav Yaakov does not write any commentary on this.

The question is: why would he include it then? why not just start with the second piece which he does comment on?

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It seems that the first mishna and gemara were not part of the original Ein Yaakov.

Rav Yaakov ibn Habib never intended to collect all of the aggados in shas. He collected what he thought fit into one of the 12 pillars which he writes about in his introduction. Others who came after him, collected and wrote their own commentaries on aggados that were not included in the Ein Yaakov collection (or as it was called at a certain point in history Ein Yisroel due to the church's censoring of the Talmud). One such example is Yehudah Aryeh of Modena. As he states in his introduction to his work Beis Yehudah, he collected additional statements of Chazal and wrote a commentary on some of them called HaBoneh. Rav Yehudah Aryeh published his collection and commentary in 1635 and can be seen here.

As you can see from the links above, as of 1625, the Ein Yaakov (really the Ein Yisroel version), included the gemara from what is now the middle of os beis in the modern Ein Yaakov. (In Rav Yaakov's commentary, HaKoseiv, the dibur hamaschil could be on the braysa brought in the middle of our os beis or can be from the beginning of our os beis). However, in the Beis Yehudah, he included what is now the end of os alef.

In 1684 Rav Yitzchak Meir Frankle, the son of Rav Yonah Teumim (author of the Kikayon deYonah), printed the original Ein Yaakov and inserted the Beis Yehudah with the commentary HaBoneh. He also inserted the chiddushei aggados of the Maharsha and the Rif (Me'or Einayim) and his fathers chiddushim.

This was not the last addition to be made to the Ein Yaakov, but it's enough to show that Rav Yaakov ibn Habib did not include the first mishna and gemara in the original Ein Yaakov.

  • You can find all this background in the introduction to the Vilna version of the ein yaakov. However, in their intro, they explain that they put the beit yehudah's additions in brackets, and only the middle part of the first ot is in brackets, the beginning and end are not. This seems to indicate that the beginning and end of the first ot are from the original. – Menachem Sep 23 '18 at 2:57
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The apparent reason to include the mishna would be the incident that's mentioned regarding the son's of Rabban Gamliel returning late from a wedding, which the mishna relates to show how he acted consistent with his after mentioned ruling.

  • Even though it is a story, I don't see how that qualifies as aggadeta? It seems halachic. – Gavriel Sep 20 '18 at 10:33
  • Many stories are brought down in a halachic context. E.g rabbah shechting Rav zeira comes in the context of the obligation to be "ad Delo Yoda" on Purim. (in fact, according to some, that's how one can differentiate between a story that's not meant to be taken literally and a story that's absolute in all its details-for if it's coming to proof a Halacha than it must be true). – Prof. Purim Sep 20 '18 at 13:02
  • So, in theory, we should see all the stories in the Gemara written in the Ein Yaakov? – Gavriel Sep 20 '18 at 16:05

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