Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 27 - When did Rabbi Tarfon Live?

The Mishna rules that if an animal dies on Yom Tov, it is forbidden to move it since it has no permissible use. The Mishna relates a story where an animal died on Yom Tov and Rabbi Tarfon asked in the Beis Medrash if it may be moved. They responded that it may not be moved.

The Gemora cites the opinion of Rabbi Shimon who maintains that an animal that dies on Yom Tov is not muktza. It would seem that Rabbi Shimon's view would not be consistent with the opinion cited in the Mishna. The Gemora concludes that our Mishna can be referring to an animal of kodshim and there even Rabbi Shimon would admit that one would be prohibited from moving the carcass. One cannot derive any benefit from kodshim that dies and therefore it is considered muktza.

Rashi offers several reasons why one would not be able to redeem this animal and subsuquently benefit from the animal.

Pnei Yehoshua asks that the korban that we are referring to must be a bechor. This can be proven by the fact that Rabbi Tarfon lived many years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh and the only korbanos that are found after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh are bechoros. The halacha is clear that a bechor cannot be redeemed since its sanctity is from the womb and not by one's mouth. Why is Rashi bothered with the possibility of benefit through redemption?

Rav Shlomo Zalman answers that since the Mishna relates that Rabbi Tarfon did not know the halachic ruling on this issue, it is possible to speculate that this incident transpired when Rabbi Tarfon was extremely young and at that time the Beis Hamikdosh was still standing. It can therefore be referring to any korban, which is why Rashi is discussing the possibility of redemption.

The Gemora in Kiddushin (71a) relates that Rabbi Tarfon (who was a kohen) recalled going with his uncle (who was also a kohen) to the Beis Hamikdosh for Birchas Kohanim.

It is a bit odd that the Pnei Yehoshua states that Rabbi Tarfon lived MANY years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh.



I found this from Wikipedia.

Tarfon or Tarfon, (Hebrew: טרפון , from the Greek Tryphon), a member of the third generation of the Mishnah sages, who lived in the period between the destruction of the Temple (70 C.E.) and the fall of Bethar (135 C.E.). He is said to have lived in Yavneh, although it is evident that he lived also in Lydda. He was of priestly lineage, and he expressly stated that he officiated in the Temple in Jerusalem. As a priest, he would demand the heave-offering even after the Temple had fallen, while his generosity made him return to the father the redemption-money for the first-born, although it was his priestly perquisite.

Although wealthy, he possessed extraordinary modesty; in one instance he deeply regretted having mentioned his name in a time of peril, since he feared that in using his position as teacher to escape from danger he had seemingly violated the rule against utilizing knowledge of the Torah for practical ends.

Rabbi Tarfon was an adherent of the school of Shammai, though he was inclined toward leniency in the interpretation of those halakhot of Shammai which had not actually been put into practise; often he decided in direct opposition to the followers of Shammai when they imposed restrictions of excessive severity.

R. Tarfon engaged in halakhic controversies with Rabbi Akiva, with R. Simeon, and R. Eleazar ben Azaryah. He is mentioned briefly with regard to Bruriah. In the discussion as to the relative importance of theory and practise, Tarfon decided in favor of the latter. R. Tarfon was extremely bitter against those Jews who had been converted to Christianity and he swore that he would burn every book of theirs which should fall into his hands, his feeling being so intense that he had no scruples against destroying the Gospels, although the name of God occurred frequently in them. Justin Martyr's Dialog with Trypho, a proof of Christianity from the Old Testament, purports to be a dialog with Tarfon, though this has been held to be a literary device rather than historical (see Schiffman).

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THEAT ROSH CHODESH KISLEV WE WERE ON DAF CHOF HEH!!!!

joshwaxman said...

a resolution to this might be found by first resolving a separate question: *Where* did Rabbi Tarfon live? As you cite from the wikipedia article, he lived in Yavneh but apparently also in Lydda.

This incident, in which he entered into the Bet haMidrash, where did it occur? The Bavli is of no help here, but the Yerushalmi is. It cited Shmuel who mentions that this happened in Lud (Lydda) and that it was the set-of-five Zekeinim, who erred in their ruling to him.

Yerushalmi Beitza 15a:
שמואל אמר טעו ה' זקנים שהורו לר"ט בלוד אמר רב מתנה בבכור הוה עובדא א"ר אבין מתניתא אמרה כן עליה ועל החלה שניטמאת מה זו קודש אף זו קודש

So the question is now: when were the set-of-five elders established at Lydda? If we can resolve this question, we may be able to resolve when this incident happened and whether it was before or after the destruction of the Bet haMikdash.

I do not (yet) have the answer to this question. However, it *does* seem that Lydda became the center of Jewish scholarship only *after* the destruction of Yerushalayim. To cite the Jewish Encyclopedia on Lydda:
"After the destruction of Jerusalem, Lydda was famous as a seat of Jewish scholarship, and the academy which flourished there is frequently mentioned in the Talmud and other works of traditional literature."

tzarich iyun.

Avromi said...

thanks a lot - josh - ill see what i come up with

Avromi said...

Seder Hadoros cites Rashi in the Ein Yaakov on the Gemora in Kiddushin that Rabbi Tarfon was a Levi and he went to play the musical instruments in the Beis Hamikdosh.

Avromi said...

Seder Hadoros brings some questions that it seems Rabbi Tarfon lived for a very long time since there is an incident with Rebbe and Rabbi Tarfon in the first perek of Bechoros and according to one version it was with Rebbe Yehuda Nesia who was Rebbe's grandson which makes the kasha stronger.

joshwaxman said...

I would imagine that the girsa with Rabbi Yuda Nesia is in error, though, given that Rabbi Yochanan taught Yuda Nesia, and we have:

http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/r/r1703_017b.htm

רבי זעירה רבי חייה בשם רבי יוחנן או דרבי טרפון כרבי ליעזר או רבי טרפון עבד עוקצת האוכל מתחילתו. ר' אילא ר' איסי בשם ר' יוחנן או ר' טרפון כר' ליעזר או רבי טרפון עבד אכילה שתים ושלש אכילות כאכילה אחת.
whereas Rabbi Yochanan would otherwise be able to simply ask Rabbi Tarfon.

ben said...

check out Toldos Tanaaim VAmoraim who brings all the raid and quotes Rambam in Hakdamah to Mishnayos Zeraim who lists Rabbi Tarfon as the second group after churban because Rabbi Tarfon was very young at the time of the churban.