1) THE HATED BABYLONIANS
QUESTION: According to the Gemara's conclusion (9b-10a), Rebbi Yochanan told Reish Lakish that the Shechinah was absent in the second Beis ha'Mikdash not because of the unworthiness of the Bavli'im (the Babylonian Jews), but because the Shechinah dwells only in a sanctuary built under the auspices of the descendants of Shem, and not in one built under the auspices of the descendants of Yefes.
However, the Gemara later in Yoma (66a and 66b) says that the Bavli'im were despised, and thus they were accused of the dishonorable act of pulling the Kohen's hair as he took the goat of Azazel to the cliff, as well as eating raw meat of Kodshim. TOSFOS in Menachos (100a, DH she'Son'in) explains that the source for this hatred of the Bavli'im is Reish Lakish's teaching (which he derives from Shir ha'Shirim 8:9) that it was the reluctance of the Jews of Bavel to ascend to Eretz Yisrael that caused the absence of the Shechinah in the second Beis ha'Mikdash.
Why, though, is this a valid reason to despise the Bavli'im? The Gemara concludes that they were not the cause of the Shechinah's absence!
ANSWER: Rebbi Yochanan indeed maintains that there is no reason to despise the Bavli'im. They were not the cause of the absence of the Shechinah in the second Beis ha'Mikdash. Reish Lakish, however, argues with Rebbi Yochanan and maintains that they were the cause of the Shechinah's absence. Even if Reish Lakish's silence to Rebbi Yochanan's statement indicates that he agrees with him, nevertheless the rest of the people of Eretz Yisrael (who referred to anyone they hated as "Bavli'im") upheld the original view of Reish Lakish and blamed the Bavli'im.
It is interesting to note that Rebbi Yochanan follows his opinion as expressed elsewhere. The Gemara in Shabbos (145b) relates that the Amora'im questioned why birds in Bavel are fatter, the people of Bavel happier on the festivals, and their Talmidei Chachamim adorned so prominently. Rebbi Asi answered each question, and all of his answers were based on the same theme: all of these characteristics of Bavel are results of the inferior quality of the people there. Rebbi Yochanan disagreed and gave different reasons for those characteristics of Bavel (see there). His answers defended the reputation of the people of Bavel. Similarly, the Gemara in Yevamos (63b) relates that Rebbi Yochanan empathized with the suffering of the people of Bavel when he was informed that a wicked nation had arrived in Bavel.
Perhaps the reason for Rebbi Yochanan's affability towards the Bavli'im stems from his awareness of the importance of the Babylonian Jews to the continuity of Torah learning. Rebbi Yochanan, who lived in Eretz Yisrael and redacted the Talmid Yerushalmi, saw the increasing severity of the Roman persecution of the Jews. He understood that the continuity of the Oral tradition and Halachic process would come from the Torah scholars in Bavel and from the Talmid Bavli (see Sanhedrin 24a and Insights there, as well as Chagigah 10a, where Rebbi Yochanan praised the Talmud Bavli; see also see RIF, end of Eruvin, "v'Anan Lo Sevira Lan..."). Therefore, he endeavored to build up the reputation of the Jews of Bavel in the eyes of those of Eretz Yisrael.
2) DOES A SUKAH NEED A MEZUZAH?
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses whether the Lishkas Parhedrin, the chamber in which the Kohen Gadol is secluded for seven days prior to Yom Kippur, requires a Mezuzah. The Chachamim rule that it is the type of dwelling place that requires a Mezuzah. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that it is not the type of dwelling place that requires a Mezuzah, but nevertheless the Rabanan enacted that a Mezuzah be affixed to it so that people not say that the Kohen Gadol is incarcerated in a prison.
The Gemara asks that both the Chachamim and Rebbi Yehudah contradict their opinions as expressed elsewhere. In the Mishnah in Ma'aseros (3:7, according to the explanation of the Beraisa), the Chachamim state that a Sukah does not require a Mezuzah, while Rebbi Yehudah rules that a Sukah does require a Mezuzah. The Chachamim argue that a Sukah is not a permanent dwelling place because one lives there for only seven days of the year, and therefore it does not require a Mezuzah. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that even a temporary dwelling is considered a dwelling that requires a Mezuzah.
They clearly contradict their opinions with regard to the Lishkas Parhedrin. The Chachamim say that the Lishkas Parhedrin is considered a dwelling place that requires a Mezuzah, even though the Kohen Gadol lives there for only seven days of the year, and Rebbi Yehudah says that it is not considered a dwelling place that requires a Mezuzah.
Abaye answers that everyone agrees that a Mezuzah is required during the seven days of Sukos when one lives in the Sukah, and during the seven days before Yom Kippur when the Kohen Gadol lives in the Lishkas Parhedrin, because one actually lives there. When Rebbi Yehudah says that the Lishkas Parhedrin does not need a Mezuzah, he refers to the rest of the year when no one lives in the Sukah and the Kohen Gadol does not live in the Lishkas Parhedrin.
Rava challenges Abaye's answer from the Mishnah in Ma'aseros which says "Sukas ha'Chag ba'Chag." These words imply that the Chachamim and Rebbi Yehudah argue even with regard to the seven days during which one lives in the Sukah, in contrast to Abaye's explanation.
Why does Rava quote the Mishnah's words, "Sukas ha'Chag ba'Chag"? Even without those words, there is an obvious question on Abaye's explanation that Rava should have asked. The Chachamim do not require that a Sukah have a Mezuzah throughout the year, but they do require that the Lishkas Parhedrin have a Mezuzah throughout the year. Rava should have asked simply that the Mishnah says that the Chachamim exempt a Sukah from a Mezuzah, and thus they still contradict their opinion with regard to the Lishkas Parhedrin. (TOSFOS DH Rabanan #2)
(a) The RITVA explains that Rava questions merely the wording of Abaye. Abaye says that "everyone" agrees that the Sukah and Lishkas Parhedrin require a Mezuzah during the time one lives there. Rava asks why Abaye says "everyone" agrees, when one opinion -- that of the Chachamim in the Mishnah in Ma'aseros -- maintains that the Sukah does not need a Mezuzah even when one lives there.
Rava does not ask how Abaye reconciles the contradiction between the Chachamim here, who exempt the Lishkah from a Mezuzah, and the Chachamim in Ma'aseros, who require a Sukah to have a Mezuzah during the festival, because perhaps they are two different Chachamim. Abaye's answer successfully resolves the contradiction between Rebbi Yehudah's opinion here and his opinion in Ma'aseros.
When Rava asks that the Mishnah says "Sukas ha'Chag ba'Chag," he intends to show Abaye that it is incorrect to say that everyone requires a Sukah to have a Mezuzah when one lives there, for the Chachamim in Ma'aseros maintain that it does not need a Mezuzah.
This seems to be the intention of Rashi (DH v'Ha Sukah) as well.
(b) The RITVA suggests further that perhaps Abaye is bothered by the contradiction in the opinion of the Chachamim. However, he does not address that contradiction in his answer because he understands that the Chachamim in Ma'aseros maintain that a Sukah is exempt from a Mezuzah only mid'Oraisa. They agree that it needs a Mezuzah mid'Rabanan. When the Chachamim here say that the Lishkas Parhedrin requires a Mezuzah, they mean that it requires a Mezuzah mid'Rabanan.
Rava asks that when the Mishnah says that the Chachamim exempt a Sukah from a Mezuzah, it refers to the practical Halachah and not merely to whether or not a Mezuzah is required mid'Oraisa. Accordingly, the Mishnah there means that a Sukah does not need a Mezuzah even mid'Rabanan, and thus the contradiction in the opinion of the Chachamim remains unanswered.
(c) TOSFOS (DH Rabanan #2) and the TOSFOS HA'ROSH explain that the Girsa of our text of the Gemara is incorrect. Some of the words in Abaye's answer should be reversed. Instead of, "Rabanan Savri Gazrinan... v'Rebbi Yehudah Savar Lo Gazrinan," the words should read, "Rabanan Savri Lo Gazrinan... v'Rebbi Yehudah Savar Gazrinan."
Abaye understands the argument with regard to the Lishkas Parhedrin as follows. Rebbi Yehudah maintains that the Rabanan decreed that a Mezuzah be affixed to the Lishkah when the Kohen Gadol lives there so that people not say that he is incarcerated there. That Gezeirah requires that the Lishkah have a Mezuzah throughout the entire year so that when Yom Kippur arrives people not think that the Lishkah is a prison. The Chachamim, on the other hand, maintain that "Lo Gazrinan" -- the Lishkas Parhedrin requires a Mezuzah not because of a Gezeirah, but because it is considered a dwelling place that requires a Mezuzah. Since they maintain that there is no Gezeirah, they do not require that the Lishkah have a Mezuzah during the rest of the year (when no one lives there).
Abaye says that according to the Chachamim, a Sukah does not require a Mezuzah during the rest of the year, just as the Lishkas Parhedrin does not require one. According to Rebbi Yehudah, a Sukah does require a Mezuzah during the rest of the year because of the Gezeirah that people not say that the Sukah is a prison (which is a disgrace to the Mitzvah), just as he says with regard to the Lishkas Parhedrin. According to Abaye, the Mishnah in Ma'aseros indeed refers to a Sukah during the rest of the year. Rebbi Yehudah's opinion is both a leniency and a stringency: he is lenient and maintains that a Sukah is exempt mid'Oraisa from a Mezuzah even during the festival (when people live there), but he is stringent in that he requires a Sukah to have a Mezuzah during the rest of the year (mid'Rabanan). Rava questions Abaye's statement and asks that the Mishnah says "Sukas ha'Chag ba'Chag."
(d) The NETZIV (in MEROMEI SADEH) explains as follows. When Abaye says that the Chachamim and Rebbi Yehudah agree that the Sukah needs a Mezuzah during the seven days one lives in the Sukah, he means that each Tana refers to a Sukah built according to his own specifications. That is, Rebbi Yehudah maintains that a Sukah may be built in the manner of a permanent structure ("Diras Keva"; Sukah 2a and 7b). Consequently, he maintains that such a Sukah requires a Mezuzah because it is an ordinary dwelling place. The Chachamim maintain that a Sukah must be built in the manner of a temporary structure ("Diras Arai"), and thus such a Sukah is exempt from a Mezuzah even during Sukos itself because it is not an ordinary dwelling place. The Lishkas Parhedrin, in contrast, is a permanent structure and therefore requires a Mezuzah according to everyone (at least while the Kohen Gadol resides there). The Chachamim and Rebbi Yehudah disagree only with regard to whether a Mezuzah is required there during the rest of the year.
Rava asks that according to Abaye's assertion, Rebbi Yehudah should require a Sukah to have a Mezuzah during the rest of the year if one decides to live there. The Mishnah in Ma'aseros, however, says "Sukas ha'Chag ba'Chag" and implies that a Sukah needs a Mezuzah only when a person lives in it during Sukos, but during the rest of the year it is exempt even if one lives in it.
Therefore, Rava explains that a Sukah does not need a Mezuzah because it is not a real dwelling place. The only reason Rebbi Yehudah says that it needs a Mezuzah is because of the principle of "Achshevei" -- the Torah considers a Sukah during Sukos a "dwelling place" (since, as Rebbi Yehudah maintains, a Sukah may be a "Diras Keva"). The Torah thereby requires that a Sukah have a Mezuzah during Sukos.