Sunday, November 19, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 24 - Posek Changing his Mind

The Mishna states that there was an incident where a gentile brought a fish to Rabban Gamliel on Yom Tov and Rabban Gamliel ruled that the fish are permitted for use but Rabban Gamliel did not wish to accept the gift from the gentile. The Gemara discusses the reason why Rabban Gamliel permitted the fish for use.

Rav maintains that it was permitted to accept the fish and to handle the fish but the fish were not permitted for consumption. Levi disagrees and maintains that the fish were permitted for consumption.

Rav stated further that a person should not leave the Beis Medrash, even for a moment. Rav related that both he and Levi were in the Beis Medrash when Rebbi ruled on this matter. In the evening Rebbi ruled that it was permitted to eat the fish according to Rabban Gamliel. In the morning, however, Rebbi retracted his ruling and he ruled that one could handle the fish but they could not be eaten. Levi was only in the Beis Medrash in the evening but not in the morning and therefore he did not hear Rebbe's retraction.

Shearim Mitzuyanim B’Halacha cites a similar Gemora in Shabbos (136b) where Ravina quotes Rava retracting his ruling the next morning.

The Noda BiYehudah writes that if a posek rules on a halachic inquiry and his ruling is accepted, the ruling has the effect of two witnesses in court. If one were to claim that the posek retracted his decision, he would not be believed as it is akin to the word of one witness against two witnesses.

Based on his premise, one must wonder how Rav was believed to state that Rebbi retracted his decision in the morning.


joshwaxman said...

often, when someone realized they made an error in psak, they appointed an "Amora" on it to proclaim that the psak was made in error. Thus, אוקים רב נחמן אמורא עליה ודרש דברים שאמרתי לפניכם טעות הן בידי.

Perhaps certain talmidim had this status that they were to be looked to authoritatively over whether retractions had been made.

However, in the specific case of Rav vs. Levi, it appears that this was just discussion and ruling within the Bet Hamidrash, when discussing the Mishna. Is this really the same as the Nodeh Biyhuda? That is, I haven't seen it inside, but based on your description, it seems that the Nodeh Biyhuda is talking about an actual case which comes before a posek and he rules, as opposed to theoretical "rulings" in the Bet haMidrash. Thus the idea of it having been accepted. Which could make sense since the posek realizes that a person is going to act immediately on his ruling, and thus will make sure he deliberates well and comes to a final conclusion, whereas in the Bet haMidrash, theories can be proposed and rejected all the time.

Avromi said...

I asked a posek in regards to what you said to be mechalek and he wasn't sure - do we know that their Beis Medrash was only theoretic ruling - perhaps the shaila came to them.

joshwaxman said...

perhaps we can resolve this question of whether it was an actual halachic question in one of two ways. first, it calls it a שמעתא - that is, the gemara says כי אמרה להאי שמעתא which suggests he was relating over a saying, a report, rather than responding to a specific incident.

Secondly, if this was an actual psak, then the psak halacha would have to have been given on Yom Tov night (since the question relates to Yom Tov). This is not so problematic, except for Rav's (and Rav Pappa's) dictum not to pasken on Yom Tov night. Though Rav is reporting this, it is Rabbi who is stating how to rule. As we say in Beitza 4a (as I have here in the Rif)

"The host of Rav Pappa had these eggs from Shabbat going into Yom Tov. He came before Rav Pappa {on Shabbat}. He said to him {Rav Pappa}: May one eat them tomorrow?
He {Rav Pappa} said to him: Go now, and come {back} tomorrow {and ask again}, for Rav would not appoint an Amorah {expounder} by himself from Yom Tov{'s commencement} until the next day, because of intoxication.
When he came the next day, he said to him: Had I not waited until today I would have erred and told you that {in case of dispute between} Rav and Rabbi Yochanan, the halacha is like Rabbi Yochanan. {However}, So said Rava: The halacha is like Rav in these three, whether lenient or stringent."

Avromi said...

It seems from Rashi that he wasnt paskening at all - he was just discussing Rabban Gamliel's opinion who we dont even hold like - kasha therefore is a mistake - i believe.