More Discussions for this daf
1. Changing Ma'aser Sheni copper to silver 2. The Rosh on the Mishnah

Isaac asks:

How can the Rosh say that a Mishnah doesn't exist?

Isaac, Toronto, Canada

The Kollel replies:

The Rosh does not say that a Mishnah does not exist. The Rosh says that the opinion in the Mishnah cited above (44b) -- that a person should not convert his Sela'im into gold Dinarim according to Beis Shamai -- was taught by Rebbi in his youth, but later Rebbi changed his opinion and said that there was no dispute between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel on this point.

Gmar Chasimah Tovah,

Dovid Bloom

Isaac asks:

Thanks so much for your kind response but I am still very confused. Let me briefly lay out what's troubling me as best I can:

a) The Mishna B.M. 4:1 has Rebbi's final opinion in Mishna itself and in Bavli. (Only Yerushalmi has the old version) So if the Rosh if correct then the Mishna M.S. 2:7 should really have been taken out. Why would some parts of Mishna reflect Rebbi's final position while other parts (of the same text) do not?

b) The Gemara obviously thinks the machlokes B.Hillel and B.Shammai did happen because it references it in B. Metzia and has a huge discussion

c) Obviously R. Yohanan and Resh Lakish believe the machlokes really happened because they argue about it

d) The Gemara concludes that most likely the machlokes is about a gezeirah and not a d'oraisa about gold and silver or anything else. (According to Rashi this is the position of both R. Yohanan and Resh Lakish)

e) We discover during the machlokes that according to R. Yohanan even those who treat gold as a commodity allow it to be used for Ma'aser Sheni

f) And besides all that, where did Rebbi get this Mishna from in the first place? Obviously he must have been convinced that this machlokes existed!

If the Rosh is correct the Gemara could have saved a lot of effort by just saying that when Rebbi changed his position on this Mishna he also revised his understanding of the other one!

Instead Rebbi reports that Rebbi Akiva did something that according to the Rosh is forbidden!

I must confess that I really don't understand this

G'mar Chasima Tova

The Kollel replies:

I will suggest some answers based on some of my own sources before looking into the Mefarshim here.

1) There is an important Sugya for us in Chulin 32a. There, the Mishnah (near the bottom of 32a) cites a dispute between Rebbi Yeshevav and Rebbi Akiva. The Mishnah states that Rebbi Akiva retracted his opinion. The Gemara (32b) then cites contradictions between different Mishnayos, and Rebbi Yochanan concludes that one need not be concerned about these contradictions because "these were taught before he retracted, and these were taught after he retracted, but the Mishnah did not move from its place."

2) Rashi explains that the Mishnah that Rebbi Akiva said before he retracted does not move, because the other Tana'im did not forget that this was Rebbi Akiva's original opinion. Even after his retraction, the other Tana'im did not uproot the original Mishnah from their texts.

3) We can understand this if we realize that the original opinion of Rebbi Akiva is also one of considerable weight. What he said at the beginning was not simply a mistake, but rather we say that later on Rebbi Akiva was inclined to a dissenting opinion for various reasons. However, his first opinion was also that of a great Tana.

4) In a similar vein we say that Rebbi Yehudah ha'Nasi was a great Tana also in his youth. His original opinion was not a mistake, even though he later retracted it. This is why the Mishnah did not omit the opinion of Rebbi in his younger years even though in later years he changed his mind.

I hope to return to this subject soon.

All the best,

Dovid Bloom

The Kollel adds:

1) I just want to prove from our Sugya itself that one sees clearly that Rebbi's original position did not become forgotten simply because Rebbi retracted from it. We learn this from the Gemara (beginning of 44b) where Rav Ashi said that the opinion of Rebbi in his youth is more logical.

Now, Rav Ashi lived at the end of the period of the Gemara, about 200 years after Rebbi, who lived at the end of the period of the Mishnah. Rebbi wrote the Mishnah but Rav Ashi wrote the Gemara. So throughout the entire period of the Gemara, the original position of Rebbi was still considered feasible by the other great Sages.

2) One can appreciate this more when one notes that the whole question here is based on Sevara. In his youth, Rebbi maintained that gold is considered "money" because it possesses a greater importance than silver. Later in life he decided that silver is "money" because it is more readily usable for purchases, even though it is less important than gold. This is a question of judgement and there are different ways of looking at the question, but it is difficult to say decisively which Sevara is more powerful.

3) Now to the question about why, according to the Rosh, was the Mishnah in Ma'aser Sheni (2:7) not taken out? According to what I wrote in my first reply, one could answer this question by applying the rule that "the Mishnah did not move from its place." However, there is a simpler answer, which you, Isaac, in fact hinted at when you pointed out that the Gemara concludes that the Machlokes is about a Gezeirah and not about a Din d'Oraisa about gold and silver. When the Rosh writes that later in life Rebbi decided that Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel did not argue about this matter, he does not mean that there was no dispute at all between them in the Mishnah. Rather, he means that the dispute between them does not concern the d'Oraisa issue of which of gold and silver is money and which is fruit, but rather their dispute concerns whether or not one makes a Gezeirah d'Rabanan. (See Pilpula Charifta on the Rosh, #2.)

Dovid Bloom