רבי עקיבא אומר על זה ועל זה נחלקו כו׳:
The mishna relates that a student recited a halakha before Rabbi Akiva, and he did not accept the student’s version of the dispute between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, as Rabbi Akiva said: They disagree about this, an alleyway less than four cubits wide, and about that, an alleyway more than four cubits wide.
רבי עקיבא היינו תנא קמא איכא בינייהו דרב אחלי ואיתימא רב יחיאל ולא מסיימי
The Gemara asks: In that case, the opinion of Rabbi Akiva is identical with the opinion first tanna of the mishna, as he too holds that Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagree in all cases, irrespective of the width of the alleyway. The Gemara answers: There is a practical difference between them with regard to the halakha stated by Rav Aḥlai, and some say it was Rav Yeḥiel, that an alleyway less than four handbreadths wide requires no corrective action. However, their respective opinions are not defined; which tanna accepts the view of Rav Aḥlai and which tanna rejects it cannot be determined.
תניא אמר רבי עקיבא לא אמר רבי ישמעאל דבר זה אלא אותו תלמיד אמר דבר זה והלכה כאותו תלמיד
It was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Akiva said: Rabbi Yishmael did not state this matter, as it is unlikely that Rabbi Yishmael would err in this manner; rather, it was that disciple who stated that matter on his own, and the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of that disciple.
הא גופה קשיא אמרת לא אמר רבי ישמעאל דבר זה אלמא לית הלכתא כוותיה והדר אמרת הלכה כאותו תלמיד
With regard to that baraita the Gemara asks: This baraita itself is difficult. You stated initially that Rabbi Yishmael did not state this matter; apparently the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of the disciple. And then you said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of that disciple.
אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל לא אמרה רבי עקיבא אלא לחדד בה התלמידים
Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: Rabbi Akiva said that the halakha is in accordance with that disciple only to sharpen the minds of his students with his statement. Seeking to encourage his students to suggest novel opinions, he praised that disciple before them but did not actually rule in accordance with the disciple’s opinion.
ורב נחמן בר יצחק אמר נראין איתמר
And Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said, in another attempt to resolve the contradiction: The statement of the disciple appears to be reasonable was stated. Although Rabbi Yishmael himself did not make that statement, the statement of the disciple is reasonable.
אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי כל מקום שאתה מוצא משום רבי ישמעאל אמר תלמיד אחד לפני רבי עקיבא אינו אלא רבי מאיר ששימש את רבי ישמעאל ואת רבי עקיבא
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Anywhere that you find a statement introduced with: A certain disciple said before Rabbi Akiva in the name of Rabbi Yishmael, it is none other than Rabbi Meir, who was the student who served both Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Akiva.
דתניא אמר רבי מאיר כשהייתי אצל רבי ישמעאל הייתי מטיל קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ולא אמר לי דבר כשבאתי אצל רבי עקיבא אסרה עלי
As it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Meir said: When I was a student with Rabbi Yishmael, I used to put iron sulfate [kankantom] into the ink with which I wrote Torah scrolls, and he did not say anything to me. When I came to study with Rabbi Akiva, he prohibited me from doing so.
איני והאמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל משום רבי מאיר כשהייתי לומד אצל רבי עקיבא הייתי מטיל קנקנתום לתוך הדיו ולא אמר לי דבר וכשבאתי אצל רבי ישמעאל אמר לי בני מה מלאכתך אמרתי לו לבלר אני אמר לי בני הוי זהיר במלאכתך שמלאכתך מלאכת שמים היא שמא אתה מחסר אות אחת או מייתר אות אחת נמצאת מחריב את כל העולם כולו
The Gemara challenges this statement: Is that so? Didn’t Rav Yehuda say that Shmuel said in the name of Rabbi Meir: When I studied with Rabbi Akiva as his disciple, I used to put iron sulfate into the ink, and he did not say anything to me. But when I came to study with Rabbi Yishmael, he said to me: My son, what is your vocation? I replied: I am a scribe [lavlar] who writes Torah scrolls. He said to me: My son, be careful in your vocation, as your vocation is heavenly service, and care must be taken lest you omit a single letter or add a single letter out of place, and you will end up destroying the whole world in its entirety. Addition or omission of a single letter can change the meaning from truth [emet] to death [met].
אמרתי לו דבר אחד יש לי ו׳קנקנתום׳ שמו שאני מטיל לתוך הדיו אמר לי וכי מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו והלא אמרה תורה וכתב ומחה כתב שיכול למחות
I said to him: I have one substance called iron sulfate, which I place into the ink, and therefore I am not concerned. He said to me: May one place iron sulfate into the ink? Didn’t the Torah state with regard to sota: “And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness” (Numbers 5:23)? The Torah requires writing that can be blotted out.
מאי קאמר ליה ומאי קא מהדר ליה
The Gemara clarifies elements of the conversation: What is Rabbi Yishmael saying to Rabbi Meir, and what is he answering him? Rabbi Meir’s response with regard to iron sulfate does not seem to address Rabbi Yishmael’s comments with regard to omissions and additions.
הכי קאמר ליה לא מיבעיא בחסירות וביתירות [דלא טעינא] דבקי אנא אלא אפילו מיחש לזבוב נמי דילמא אתי ויתיב אתגיה דדלת ומחיק ליה ומשוי ליה ריש דבר אחד יש לי וקנקנתום שמו שאני מטיל לתוך הדיו
The Gemara explains that this is what Rabbi Meir is saying to Rabbi Yishmael: There is no need to mention defective and plene words, as I am an expert; however, even with regard to the concern that a fly might come and land on the crown of the letter dalet and blot it out and render it a reish, thereby changing the meaning of the word, I am not concerned, as I have a substance called iron sulfate that I place into the ink so that it will not be erased.
קשיא שימוש אשימוש קשיא אסרה אאסרה
Nevertheless, there is a difficulty between service and service, as one source states that Rabbi Meir initially served Rabbi Akiva, whereas the other source states that he served Rabbi Yishmael first. There is a difficulty between the words he prohibited it in the baraita, which is referring to Rabbi Akiva, and he prohibited it in the statement of Rav Yehuda, which is referring to Rabbi Yishmael.
בשלמא שימוש אשימוש לא קשיא מעיקרא אתא לקמיה דרבי עקיבא ומדלא מצי למיקם אליביה אתא לקמיה דרבי ישמעאל וגמר גמרא והדר אתא לקמיה דרבי עקיבא וסבר סברא
The Gemara comments: Granted, there is no difficulty between the accounts in the two sources with regard to service and service, as it can be suggested as follows: Rabbi Meir initially came to study before Rabbi Akiva, and since he was unable to comprehend the teachings in accordance with his opinion, he came before Rabbi Yishmael and studied the tradition, and again came before Rabbi Akiva and studied logical analysis. After studying the basic principles from Rabbi Yishmael, he was able to understand the more complex teachings of Rabbi Akiva.
אלא אסרה אאסרה קשיא קשיא
Having reconciled the first difficulty, the Gemara continues: However, the difficulty with regard to whether Rabbi Akiva prohibited iron sulfate or Rabbi Yishmael prohibited it remains difficult. The Gemara notes: It indeed remains difficult; no answer was found.
תניא רבי יהודה אומר רבי מאיר היה אומר לכל מטילין קנקנתום לתוך הדיו חוץ מפרשת סוטה ורבי יעקב אומר משמו חוץ מפרשת סוטה שבמקדש
The Gemara continues the discussion of iron sulfate. It was taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yehuda says that Rabbi Meir would say: One may place iron sulfate into the ink that is to be used for all sacred writings, except for the writing of the Torah passage with regard to a sota, as it must be possible to erase that writing. Rabbi Ya’akov says in his name: Except for the writing of the Torah passage with regard to a sota used in the Temple in the ordeal to determine the guilt or innocence of the wife suspected of adultery.
מאי בינייהו אמר רב ירמיה למחוק לה מן התורה איכא בינייהו
The Gemara asks: What is the difference between their opinions, i.e., what is their point of dispute? The Gemara answers: Rav Yirmeya said: The difference between their opinions is whether it is permissible to erase the passage of a sota from a Torah scroll. The tanna’im of the baraita disagree whether or not a section taken from a Torah scroll may be used for this purpose, or whether a special scroll must be written for use in the ordeal of the sota.
והני תנאי כי הני תנאי דתניא אין מגילתה כשירה להשקות בה סוטה אחרת רבי אחי בר יאשיה אמר מגילתה כשירה להשקות בה סוטה אחרת
And those tanna’im disagree in the same dispute as these tanna’im, as it was taught in a baraita: A scroll that was written for one woman suspected of infidelity but was not used, her scroll is not fit to prepare the water to give to another sota to drink. However, Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya said: Her scroll is fit to be used to prepare the water to give another sota to drink. The legal status of a Torah scroll, which is not written for a particular sota, should be the same.
אמר רב פפא דילמא לא היא עד כאן לא קאמר תנא קמא התם אלא כיון דאינתיק לשום רחל תו לא הדרא מינתקא לשום לאה אבל גבי תורה דסתמא מיכתבא הכי נמי דמחקינן
Rav Pappa said: Perhaps that is not the case, as the two circumstances are not comparable. The first tanna of the baraita stated his opinion that one woman’s scroll may not be used for another woman only there; since it had originally been designated in the name of one woman, e.g., Rachel, it cannot then be designated in the name of another woman, e.g., Leah. However, in the case of a Torah scroll, which is written with no particular person in mind, he too may say that we may erase it to be used for another woman, and it is not disqualified because it was not written in her name.
אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק דילמא לא היא עד כאן לא קאמר רבי אחי בר יאשיה התם אלא דאיכתיב מיהת לשום סוטה בעולם אבל גבי תורה דלהתלמד כתיבא הכי נמי דלא מחקינן
Furthermore, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said in another attempt to resolve the matter: Perhaps it is not so, as an additional distinction exists between the two cases: Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya stated his opinion that the first woman’s scroll may be used for another woman only there because at least, in that case, it was written for a particular sota in the world. However, in the case of a Torah scroll, which was written for study, he too would agree that we do not erase it.
ולית ליה לרבי אחי בר יאשיה הא דתנן כתב [גט] לגרש את אשתו
The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Aḥai bar Yoshiya not hold in accordance with that which we learned in a mishna: If one wrote a bill of divorce to divorce his wife,