In the Gemmorah we can see three types of the Halachic resolution of a dispute:

  1. the issue is settled and the Halachah is clearly ruled
  2. multiple approaches mentioned but there's no clear resolution
  3. two approaches are mentioned and the Gemmorah announces Tekku (no way of resolution)

The following Poskim (Geonim, Rishonim inc. Rambam, Abchronim) had to choose either side in those disputes (#2 and #3) to Pasken the Halachah.

Why didn't the editors of the Gemmorah Pasken all the disputes themselves, and left so many disputes unresolved?

  • 1
    Re #2 - what sort of cases did you have in mind? Any machlokes Abaye and Rava is already resolved - we pasken Rava except יע״ל קג״ם. Any machlokes Rav and Shmuel is already resolved - רב באיסורי ושמואל בדיני. Etc. What machlokos does the Gemara leave unresolved without a תיקו? – DonielF Jan 22 '19 at 18:40
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    I read a very good analogy once. Imagine a child is disturbing class and the teachers are meeting to decide whether to expel him. Half the teachers say he should be expelled because he disturbs the other students. The other half say to keep him in because he would go off the derech otherwise. What is the right answer? It depends.... of the child, context, specifics, etc. The gemara leaves both options possible, and the rav facing the specific shaila will rule based on the specifics. Not saying it applies everywhere but it makes eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim hayim tangible – mbloch Jan 22 '19 at 18:59
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    How are the editors supposed to Pasken the disputes if the Gemarah couldn't? – Salmononius2 Jan 22 '19 at 20:17
  • @DonielF I thought about this and I think you misunderstand those rules. They were issued by the Geonim, generations AFTER the Gemmorah was written. In the times of the Gemmorah, it was left unresolved, as I stated. You might use this argument about just any Machlokes - didn't B'Shammay know that the Halachah is according to B'Hilel? No, in their times there was no resolution, it came generations later. – Al Berko Jan 23 '19 at 0:22
  • @AlBerko Where do you get that from? As far as I’m aware, things like יע״ל קג״ם were included by Ravina and Rav Ashi - later than Rava and Abaye, sure, but they were the editors of the Gemara, not the Geonim. To me it seems that, at least regarding #2, the editors of the Gemara did pasken all the disputes themselves. – DonielF Jan 23 '19 at 0:25

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