(a)The Tana Kama of our Mishnah writes that Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue even by a Mavoy whose entrance is less than four Amos wide. Rebbi Akiva, commenting on a Talmid quoting Rebbi Yishmael (who differentiates between an entrance which is four Amos wide, and one which is less), says that they argue in both cases. Is Rebbi Akiva not repeating the opinion of the Tana Kama?

(b)Since Rebbi Akiva disagrees with that Talmid, why then, does he rule like him?

(c)What was the name of that Talmid?


(a)Either Rebbi Akiva or the Tana Kama holds like Rav Achli, in whose opinion a Mavoy less than four Tefachim wide does not require any Tikun at all; the other holds that it does - though we do not know which is which.

(b)Although Rebbi Akiva disagreed with that Talmid - he nevertheless added that the Halachah was like him, praising him in front of the other Talmidim, (in spite of his mistake), in order to encourage them to continue to analyze Torah thoroughly

(c)Whenever the expression 'Mishum Rebbi Yishmael Amar Talmid Echad' - it is referring to Rebbi Meir, who studied under both Rebbi Yishmael and Rebbi Akiva.


(a)How do we reconcile Rav Yehudah Amar Rav, who quotes Rebbi Meir as having first learned by Rebbi Akiva and then by Rebbi Yishmael, with the Beraisa, which reverses the order?

(b)There is also a discrepancy as to which of his two Rebbes permitted adding vitriol to the ink that Rebbi Meir (who was a Sofer) used to use to write a Sefer-Torah, and which one forbade it. Does the Gemara solve this problem?


(a)Rebbi Meir first attempted to study under Rebbi Akiva (like Rav Yehudah Amar Rav). However, finding him too profound - he went first to study the texts by Rebbi Yishmael, before returning to study the power of reasoning by Rebbi Akiva (like the Beraisa).

(b)The Gemara has no way of resolving the discrepancy as to which of his Rebbes permitted adding vitriol to the ink, and which one forbade it.


(a)What did Rebbi Yishmael mean, when he instructed Rebbi Meir to be careful ...

1. ... not to (inadvertently) omit one single letter?

2. ... not to add one?

(b)What did Rebbi Akiva mean when he replied that he added vitriol to his ink? What has that to do with Rebbi Yishmael's instructions?

(c)Why did Rebbi Yishmael nevertheless forbid it?


(a)When Rebbi Yishmael instructed Rebbi Meir to be careful ...

1. ...not to (inadvertently) omit one single letter - he was referring to the Pasuk in Yirmiyah "va'Hashem Elokim Emes" where omitting the Alef in Emes (to read 'Mes') would be blasphemous .

2. ... not to add one - he was referring to the Pasuk "Vayedaber Hash-m" etc., where it would be blasphemy if one were to add a 'Vav' to the word "Vayedaber" (to read "va'Yedabru"). (See also Agados Maharsha).

(b)When Rebbi Akiva replied that he added vitriol to his ink - he meant to say that not only was he an expert in letters (and was not prone to adding or subtracting letters, but he even went so far as to eliminate the possibility that a fly may rest on the crown of the 'Daled' and drag the ink, to turn it into a Resh - by adding vitriol, which the flies found abhorrent.

(c)Rebbi Yishmael nevertheless forbade adding ink - because of the Pasuk in Naso "ve'Kasav ... u'Machah", which implies that the writing must be erasable. (see Tosfos DH 'Chutz' who discusses how Rebbi Yishmael applies this to the writing of a Sefer-Torah.)


(a)Rebbi Yehudah quotes Rebbi Meir as permitting vitriol in ink, with the exception of Parshas Sotah - even in a Sefer-Torah. How does Rebbi Ya'akov quote Rebbi Meir?

(b)What is the basis of their Machlokes?

(c)Why might the Tana Kama of the Beraisa, who forbids using a Megilas Sotah written on behalf of Rachel, for Leah, concede that one may use a Megilah cut from a Sefer-Torah?

(d)And why might Rebbi Acha bar Yashiyah, who forbids the use of a Megilah cut from a Sefer-Torah for a Sotah, concede that one may use a Megilas Sotah written on behalf of Rachel, for Leah?


(a)According to Rebbi Ya'akov, Rebbi Meir confines the prohibition of adding vitriol to ink - to Parshas Sotah in the Beis-Hamikdash, but not to Parshas Sotah in a Sefer-Torah.

(b)According to Rebbi Yehudah, one may cut Parshas Sotah from a Sefer-Torah to use for a Sotah (consequently, any prohibition that applies to Parshas Sotah in the Mikdash, will also apply to Parshas Sotah in a Sefer-Torah); whereas according to Rebbi Ya'akov, Parshas Sotah in the Mikdash must be written specifically for that Sotah, and cannot be taken from a Sefer-Torah. Consequently, the prohibition of adding vitriol to the ink of Parshas Sotah will not apply to Parshas Sotah in the Sefer-Torah.

(c)The Tana Kama of the Beraisa forbids using a Megilas Sotah written on behalf of Rachel, for Leah - because it was written specifically for Rachel, and not for Leah; consequently, it cannot be used for her; he may well concede however, that using a Megilah cut from a Sefer-Torah is permitted - because a Sefer-Torah is written for everybody - the Sotah too.

(d)Rebbi Acha bar Yashiyah, on the other hand, who forbids the use of a Megilah cut from a Sefer-Torah for a Sotah, may well concede that using a Megilas Sotah written on behalf of Rachel, for Leah is permitted. Why is that? Because whereas a Sefer-Torah was not written on behalf of a Sotah at all, a Megilas Sotah was, even if it was written for somebody else.


(a)What is the difference, according to Rebbi Acha bar Yashiyah, between using a Megilas Sotah written on behalf of Rachel, for Leah, and using a Get written for someone with the same name - seeing as the Torah uses the same Lashon by the former ("ve'Asa Lah" - in Naso) as it does by the latter ("ve'Kasav Lah" - in Ki Setzei")


(a)With regard to Get, the Torah writes "ve'*Kasav* Lah" - implying that the writing must be done for the sake of the woman being divorced (in which case, a Get written for another woman may not be used) ; whereas by Sotah, it writes, "ve'Asa Lah" (and not "ve'Kasav) - there, it is the Asiyah (i.e. the erasing, which needs to be performed for the sake of that woman, and no other, not the writing (see Tosfos DH 'Asiyah', who discusses from where Rebbi Acha bar Yashiyah learns to disqualify the Megilas Sotah from a Sefer-Torah).



(a)Since there was no-one in Rebbi Meir's generation as great as he, why is the Halachah not generally like him?

(b)If Rebbi Meir's real name was Rebbi Nehora'i, why was he known as Rebbi Meir?

(c)What were his other two names?

(d)What gave Rebbi the edge over his contemporaries? Which Pasuk in Yeshayah is the source for this?


(a)The Halachah is generally not like Rebbi Meir (except when he appears in the form of a S'tam Mishnah), despite his greatness - because he would bring convincing arguments for everything, even when it was not Halachah. Consequently, they were unable to decide what he finally meant.

(b)He was called Rebbi Meir - because he would enlighten the Chachamim in Halachah (even though they were unable to rule like him, nevertheless, both sides of every argument became clear - Agados Maharsha).

(c)He was also known as Rebbi Nahara'i and Rebbi Nechemyah.

(d)Rebbi had the edge over his contemporaries - because he saw Rebbi Meir from behind (had he seen him from the front, he would have been even sharper). The source for this is the Pasuk "Vehayu Einecha Ro'os es Morecha". (Others say that it was about Rav that this was said, not Rebbi.


(a)Who was Sumchus, and what was he able to do?

(b)What was that veteran Talmid in Yavneh able to do?

(c)Ravina tried to prove that a Sheretz is Tahor. What Kal va'Chomer did he make?

(d)On what grounds was his Kal va'Chomer refuted?


(a)Sumchus - was a disciple of Rebbi Meir. He was able to give forty-eight reasons to prove that something was Tamei, and forty-eight reasons to prove that something was Tahor.

(b)That veteran Talmid could give a hundred and fifty reasons to prove that a Sheretz was Tahor (see Tosfos DH ' she'Yodei'a').

(c)If a snake, which kills and brings Tum'ah to the world, is not Tamei when it dies, argued Ravina - then a Sheretz which does not, should certainly be Tahor.

(d)The Gemara rejects this Kal va'Chomer however - on the grounds that the snake may well cause the person's death, but that has nothing to do with the ensuing Tum'ah. Perhaps we can go still further, to say that the snake does not even kill either, as the Mishnah writes in Rosh Hashanah 'Ein ha'Nachash Memis, Ela ha'Chet Memis' - the snake may bite, but it cannot kill. The ensuing death and after-effects are the result of the sins of the man himself (See also Berachos 31a, where the snake bit Rebbi Chanina ben Dosa and - the snake died, but not Rebbi ben Dosa).


(a)How long did the dispute like who to fix the Halachah, like Beis Hillel or Beis Shamai, last?

(b)Seeing as Beis Shamai were equal to Beis Hillel in knowledge, and their arguments equally convincing, why was the Halachah fixed like Beis Hillel?

(c)What does the Gemara prove from their Machlokes concerning the minimum size of a Succah?

(d)What aspect of Beis Hillel's greatness can we derive from their Machlokes with regard to how one recites the Shema?


(a)The argument between Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai like whom to fix the Halachah - lasted three years.

(b)The Halachah was fixed like Beis Hillel (in spite of Beis Shamai's equal standing) - because they were well-disposed towards Beis Shamai and patient, and because they would always revise the words of Beis Shamai during their disputes and demonstrated extreme humility by always mentioning Beis Shamai before themselves.

(c)In connection with their Machlokes regarding the minimum size Succah - the Tana writes 'Halchu Ziknei Beis Shamai u'Veis Hillel ... ', placing Beis Shamai before Beis Hillel - We learn from here that Beis Hillel were careful to always mention Beis Shamai first. (Perhaps Rebbi took his cue from there, to put Beis Shamai first throughout Shas.)

(d)After learning from "u've'Lechtecha va'Derech", that Shema may be recited even whilst walking - Beis Hillel continue 'Im Ken, Lamah Ne'emar "be'Shochbecha u've'Kumecha", concerning themselves with Beis Shamai's source, rather than just dismissing it out of hand, as Beis Shamai evidently did with Beis Hillel's sources.


(a)Which three things does the Gemara learn from the ultimate decision to rule like Beis Hillel?

(b)For two and a half years Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argued over whether it is better for a person to have been born or not. What was the outcome of this dispute?

(c)What is the difference between 'Yefashfesh be'Ma'asav' and 'Yemashmesh be'Ma'asav'?


(a)We learn from here 1. that when someone makes himself small (before Hash-m), Hash-m will elevate him, and vice-versa; 2. that when someone runs after greatness (to rule over others), greatness will run away from him - and vice-versa); 3. that anyone who tries to change his destiny by force (self-pride), will fail - and vice-versa (see Agados Maharsha).

(b)The Gemara decides that it would have been better for a person not to have been born. However, now that he has, he should scrutinize his deeds.

(c)'Yefashfesh be'Ma'asav'- means to examine one's past deeds, and do Teshuvah on his sins. 'Yemashmesh be'Ma'asav'- means to examine the deeds that come to hand: ,when faced with a Mitzvah, he should weigh up the advantages against the disadvantages - to realize that they are worthwhile fulfilling; and by Aveiros, he should weigh-up the disadvantages against the advantages - to realize how worthless they really are.


(a)The Korah with which one rectifies a Mavoy must be wide enough to hold an 'Ari'ach'. What is an 'Ari'ach'?

(b)What does Rebbi Yehudah say about the strength of the Korah?

(c)Does it matter if the Korah is made of straw, or is bent or round?

(d)How does one gauge the width of a round Korah?


(a)An Ari'ach - is half of a three by three Tefach brick.

(b)Rebbi Yehudah says that the Korah must be wide enough to hold an Ari'ach, but does not actually need the strength to hold it.

(c)According to Rebbi Yehudah - it does not matter if the Korah is made of straw, or if it is bent or round, because we consider it as if it was made of metal, and was straight and square.

(d)One would gauge a round Korah - by measuring its circumference; if it measured three Tefachim, then one would know that its diameter was the required one Tefach. Note: A Tefach in diameter is really the equivalent of three and a seventh Tefachim (pi). However, the Navi indicates that, for these purposes, we reckon an arbitrary three Tefachim - in which case, the Tefach diameter will also be arbitrary (a little less than a real Tefach) - Tosfos ha'Rosh. See insights.