I am not sure how to pose my question, so I will describe my complexity. On daf 11a, Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak says, " One who follows the ruling of Beit Shmmai is liable to death. Now this statement is based on the example from the Mishnah on 10b that according to Beit Shmmai you have to say shma in particular positions at night and during the day, while Beit Hillel poskins that a person can say it in any positions he pleases.
Now I am perplexed because if a person can say it lying down or standing erect what difference does the opinion of Beit Hillel have to do with anything? Also what does Rebbe Tarfron almost getting robbed have to do with anything? It could be that he was at the wrong place and it could have happened EVEN if he was siting up erect. Can you please help me understand the Mishnah and the reasoning behind Rebbe Nachman bar Yitzchaks statement.
Nechemyah D, Baltimore, MD
Based on the principle that when Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue, the Halachah is like Beis Hillel, Rebbi Tarfon, who was standing or sitting at the time, should have recited the Sh'ma in that position to demonstrate that the Halachah is like Beis Hillel. By being strict and leaning (not lying down, which is forbidden even according to Beis Shamai), he conveyed the impression that the Halachah is like Beis Shamai (even though that was not his intention).
For doing that, Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak explained, it would have served him right had he come to grief. Rebbi Tarfon realized himself that he had done wrong, and attributed the robbers (who generally murdered their victims) to his 'sin' - not to chance, as you suggested. Note, what Rebbi Tarfon did would not have earned the death -sentence had anybody else done it, but Hash-m is particularly strict with great Tzadikim of his caliber, who are expected to be more careful in their actions.
Wishing you all the best
But the Mishnah states that Beit Hillel states "Kol Adam Korei k'Darko" that the Pasuk says, "u'v'Lechticha va'Derech". If you can say Shma an any prefeered manner how was Rebbi Tarfon wrong?
True, according to Beis Hillel, one may recite the Sh'ma however one pleases. Nevertheless, since Beis Shamai requires that one leans for Ma'ariv, someone who is standing should not lean, conveying the impression that the Halachah is like them.
Be'Virchas Kol Tuv