רב המנונא אורי בחרתא דארגז בשני דרב חסדא
Rav Hamnuna issued halakhic rulings in the town of Ḥarta De’argez during the years of Rav Ḥisda’s life, even though Rav Ḥisda was his teacher.
רבינא סר סכינא בבבל אמר ליה רב אשי מאי טעמא עבד מר הכי
The Gemara relates that Ravina once examined a slaughterer’s knife in Babylonia to check if it was fit for slaughtering, during the lifetime of his teacher, Rav Ashi, who also lived in Babylonia. Rav Ashi said to him: What is the reason that the Master acted in this manner? Isn’t it prohibited for a disciple to issue rulings while his teacher is still alive?
אמר ליה והא רב המנונא אורי בחרתא דארגז בשני דרב חסדא אמר ליה לאו אורי אתמר
Ravina said to him: Didn’t Rav Hamnuna issue halakhic rulings in Ḥarta De’argez during the years of Rav Ḥisda’s life, as they were not in the same town, even though they were both located in Babylonia? Since I do not live in the same town as you, it stands to reason that I would be permitted to issue rulings as well. Rav Ashi said to Ravina: It was actually stated that Rav Hamnuna did not issue halakhic rulings during Rav Ḥisda’s lifetime, and that is the correct tradition.
אמר ליה אתמר אורי ואתמר לא אורי בשני דרב הונא רביה הוא דלא אורי ואורי בשני דרב חסדא דתלמיד חבר דיליה הוה ואנא נמי תלמיד חבר דמר אנא
Ravina said to Rav Ashi: In fact, it was stated that Rav Hamnuna issued rulings, and it was also stated that he did not issue rulings, and both traditions are correct. During the years of the life of Rav Huna, Rav Hamnuna’s principal teacher, Rav Hamnuna did not issue rulings at all, but he did issue rulings during the years of Rav Ḥisda’s life, for Rav Hamnuna was Rav Ḥisda’s disciple-colleague. And since I, too, am the Master’s disciple and colleague, I should also be permitted to examine a slaughterer’s knife when I am not in the same town.
אמר רבא צורבא מרבנן חזי לנפשיה רבינא איקלע למחוזא אייתי אושפיזכניה סכינא וקא מחוי ליה אמר ליה זיל אמטייה לרבא
Rava said: A Torah scholar may examine a knife for himself and use it for slaughtering, without having to show it to the local Sage. The Gemara relates that Ravina happened to come to Meḥoza, the home town of Rava. His host brought out a knife for slaughtering and showed it to him. He said to him: Go, bring it to Rava, the town Sage, for examination.
אמר ליה לא סבר מר הא דאמר רבא צורבא מרבנן חזי לנפשיה אמר ליה אנא מיזבן זבינא
The host said to him: Doesn’t the Master hold in accordance with that which Rava said: A Torah scholar may examine a slaughtering knife for himself? In this case I am using the knife to slaughter on your behalf. Ravina said to him: Since I am only buying the meat from you, it is not considered as though I am slaughtering for myself. Rava’s principle does not apply to such a case.
(סימן זילא להניא מחליף איקא ויעקב)
The Gemara cites a mnemonic for the names of the Sages mentioned in the following discussion: Zila Lehanya: Rabbi Elazar from Hagronya; Maḥlif: Rav Abba bar Taḥalifa; Ika: Rav Aḥa bar Ika; and Ya’akov: Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov.
רבי אלעזר מהגרוניא ורב אבא בר תחליפא איקלעו לבי רב אחא בריה דרב איקא באתריה דרב אחא בר יעקב בעי רב אחא בריה דרב איקא למיעבד להו עיגלא תילתא אייתי סכינא וקא מחוי להו
The Gemara now relates that Rabbi Elazar from Hagronya and Rav Abba bar Taḥalifa happened to come to the house of Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, in the place of jurisdiction of Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov. Rav Aḥa, son of Rav Ika, wanted to prepare for them a third-born calf, whose meat was considered a delicacy. He brought out a slaughtering knife and showed it to them.
אמר להו רב אחא בר תחליפא לא ליחוש ליה לסבא אמר להו רבי אלעזר מהגרוניא הכי אמר רבא צורבא מרבנן חזי לנפשיה חזי ואיעניש רבי אלעזר מהגרוניא
Rav Abba bar Taḥalifa said to them: Should we not be concerned with the respect of the Elder, Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov, and present the knife to him for inspection, as this is his town? Rabbi Elazar from Hagronya said to them: That is unnecessary, since Rava said as follows: A Torah scholar may examine a knife for himself. Rabbi Elazar from Hagronya then inspected the knife, but he was later punished at the hand of Heaven for disregarding the honor of the senior rabbi.
והאמר רבא צורבא מרבנן חזי לנפשיה שאני התם דאתחילו בכבודו
The Gemara expresses surprise: What was Rabbi Elazar from Hagronya’s mistake? Didn’t Rava say: A Torah scholar may examine a slaughtering knife for himself? The Gemara answers: It was different there, as they had already begun to discuss the issue of the honor of Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov. Had the name of Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov never arisen, they would have been permitted to examine the knife themselves. Once his name had been mentioned, however, they should have approached him with the knife. Their failure to do so is considered a display of disrespect.
ואי בעית אימא שאני רב אחא בר יעקב דמופלג
And if you wish, say instead: Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov is different, as he was illustrious in age and wisdom, and thus deserved more honor than a regular Sage.
אמר רבא ולאפרושי מאיסורא אפילו בפניו שפיר דמי רבינא הוה יתיב קמיה דרב אשי חזייה לההוא גברא דקא אסר ליה לחמריה בצינתא בשבתא רמא ביה קלא ולא אשגח ביה אמר ליה ליהוי האי גברא בשמתא
Rava said: Even though it is ordinarily prohibited for a disciple to issue a halakhic ruling in his teacher’s place, if he does so in order to separate another person from a prohibition he is committing, even in his teacher’s presence it seems well, i.e., it is permitted. The Gemara relates that Ravina was once sitting before Rav Ashi when he saw a certain man tying his donkey to a palm tree on Shabbat, in violation of the decree of the Sages against utilizing trees on Shabbat. He raised his voice to him in protest, but the man paid him no attention. Ravina then said to Rav Ashi: Let this man be in excommunication for transgressing the words of the Sages and ignoring a scholar’s rebuke.
אמר ליה כי האי גוונא מי מתחזא כאפקרותא אמר ליה אין חכמה ואין תבונה ואין עצה לנגד ה׳ כל מקום שיש בו חילול השם אין חולקין כבוד לרב
Afterward, Ravina said to Rav Ashi: Behavior such as this, the way I acted in your presence just now, does it appear like irreverent behavior? Rav Ashi said to him: With regard to this it is stated: “There is no wisdom or understanding or council against the Lord” (Proverbs 21:30). The Sages expounded this verse as follows: Wherever a desecration of God’s name is involved, no respect is paid even to a teacher, i.e., in such a situation one should disregard the respect due to his teacher’s wisdom and understanding and object to the inappropriate behavior.
אמר רבא בפניו אסור וחייב מיתה שלא בפניו אסור ואין חייב מיתה
Rava said: With regard to one who issues a halakhic ruling in his teacher’s location without the intention of preventing someone from violating a prohibition, the following distinction applies: In the teacher’s actual presence, the disciple is prohibited to issue such a ruling, and if he does so, he is liable to receive the death penalty at the hand of Heaven. However, when he is not in his actual presence, the disciple is still prohibited to issue the ruling, but he is not liable to receive the death penalty.
ושלא בפניו לא והא תניא רבי אליעזר אומר לא מתו בני אהרן עד שהורו הלכה בפני משה רבן מאי דרוש ונתנו בני אהרן הכהן אש על המזבח אמרו אף על פי שהאש יורדת מן השמים מצוה להביא מן ההדיוט
The Gemara asks: Is the disciple not liable to receive the death penalty if he issues his ruling not in the teacher’s presence? But wasn’t it taught otherwise in a baraita: Rabbi Eliezer says: The sons of Aaron died only because they issued a halakhic ruling before Moses, their teacher? What did they expound in support of their conclusion that they must bring fire inside as opposed to waiting for fire to come down from the heavens? It is stated in the Torah: “And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire” (Leviticus 1:7), which led them to say: Although fire descends from Heaven, it is nonetheless a mitzva to bring ordinary fire. Although they derived this from the verses, they were punished for ruling in the presence of their teacher.
ותלמיד אחד היה לו לרבי אליעזר שהורה הלכה בפניו אמר רבי אליעזר לאימא שלום אשתו תמיה אני אם יוציא זה שנתו ולא הוציא שנתו
It was further related that Rabbi Eliezer had a certain disciple who issued a halakhic ruling in his presence. Rabbi Eliezer said to his wife, Imma Shalom: I will be surprised if this one completes his year, i.e., if he lives until the end of the year. And so it was, he did not complete his year.
אמרה לו נביא אתה אמר לה לא נביא אנכי ולא בן נביא אנכי אלא כך מקובלני כל המורה הלכה בפני רבו חייב מיתה
His wife said to him: Are you a prophet? He said to her: I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I have received the following tradition: Anyone who issues a halakhic ruling in his teacher’s presence is liable to receive the death penalty.
ואמר רבה בר בר חנה אמר רבי יוחנן אותו תלמיד יהודה בן גוריא שמו והיה רחוק ממנו שלש פרסאות
And Rabba bar bar Ḥana said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: That disciple was named Yehuda ben Gurya, and he was three parasangs away from Rabbi Eliezer. Apparently, one is liable for the death penalty even if he did not issue his ruling in his teacher’s presence.
בפניו הוה והא רחוק ממנו שלש פרסאות קאמר וליטעמיך שמו ושם אביו למה אלא שלא תאמר משל היה
The Gemara answers: In fact, the incident took place in the actual presence of the teacher, which is why the disciple was punished. The distance mentioned refers to the distance between the student’s usual place and the teacher. The Gemara expresses surprise: But didn’t Rabba bar bar Ḥana say that he was three parasangs away from his teacher? That implies that this was his distance from his teacher at the time of the ruling. The Gemara answers: And, according to your reasoning, that the details of the story must relate to the time of the ruling, why mention his name and his father’s name? Rather, the details were given so that you should not say it was a parable. That is also the reason why he provided the details concerning the student’s usual place. This does not contradict the fact that Yehuda ben Gurya issued his ruling in the actual presence of his teacher.
אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן כל המורה הלכה בפני רבו ראוי להכישו נחש שנאמר ויען אליהוא בן ברכאל הבוזי ויאמר צעיר אני לימים וגו׳ על כן זחלתי וכתיב עם חמת זוחלי עפר
The Gemara continues to discuss the same topic. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Whoever issues a halakhic ruling in his teacher’s presence is deserving of being bitten by a snake, as it is stated: “And Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and you are very old; therefore I held back [zaḥalti] and I was afraid, and did not declare my opinion to you” (Job 32:6), and it is written: “With the venom of the crawling things of [zoḥalei] the dust” (Deuteronomy 32:24), which refers to snakes. Elihu’s statement is understood as follows: I must apologize for speaking in my teacher’s presence, for one who does so is liable to be punished with the bite of a snake.
זעירי אמר רבי חנינא נקרא חוטא שנאמר בלבי צפנתי אמרתך למען לא אחטא לך
Ze’eiri said that Rabbi Ḥanina said: Whoever issues a halakhic ruling in his teacher’s presence is called a sinner, as it is stated: “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalms 119:11). In what case would speaking one’s word entail a sin? In a case where one rules on a matter of halakha in the presence of his teacher.
רב המנונא רמי כתיב בלבי צפנתי אמרתך וכתיב בשרתי צדק בקהל רב לא קשיא כאן בזמן שעירא היאירי קיים כאן בזמן שאין עירא היאירי קיים
Rav Hamnuna raised a contradiction between the verse previously mentioned and another verse: It is written: “Your word have I hidden in my heart,” implying that David did not want to reveal the words of Torah, whereas in a second verse it is written: “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation” (Psalms 40:10). He answered: This is not difficult. Here, in the verse in which David remained silent, it is referring to the period when Ira HaYa’iri, David’s teacher, was alive; there, in the verse where he publicized his words, it is referring to the period when Ira HaYa’iri was no longer alive.
אמר רבי אבא בר זבדא כל הנותן מתנותיו לכהן אחד מביא רעב לעולם שנאמר עירא היאירי היה כהן לדוד לדוד הוא דהוה כהן לכולי עלמא לא אלא שהיה משגר לו מתנותיו וכתיב בתריה ויהי רעב בימי דוד
Having mentioned Ira HaYa’iri, the Gemara now cites a related teaching. Rabbi Abba bar Zavda said: Whoever gives all his priestly gifts to one priest has acted improperly and brings famine into the world as punishment. As it is stated: “And also Ira HaYa’iri was a priest for David” (II Samuel 20:26), which invites the question: Was he a priest for David alone, and not for anyone else? Rather, it means that David would send all his priestly gifts to him alone, i.e., he was the only priest to enjoy David’s gifts. And it is written afterward: “And there was a famine in the days of David, three years, year after year” (II Samuel 21:1).
רבי אליעזר אומר מורידין אותו מגדולתו שנאמר ויאמר אלעזר הכהן אל אנשי הצבא וגו׳ אף על גב דאמר להו לאחי אבא צוה ואותי לא צוה אפילו הכי איענש
Rabbi Eliezer says: Anyone who rules in his teacher’s presence is lowered from his position of greatness, as it is stated: “And Elazar the priest said to the men of war who went to battle: This is the statute of the Torah which the Lord commanded Moses” (Numbers 31:21). Although Elazar said to the soldiers: God commanded this statute to my father’s brother, while to me He did not command it, even so he was punished for speaking in this manner in the presence of his teacher, Moses.
דכתיב ולפני אלעזר הכהן יעמד ולא אשכחן דאיצטריך ליה יהושע
What was his punishment? As it is written that God had told Moses with regard to Joshua: “And he shall stand before Elazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation” (Numbers 27:21). Elazar was originally awarded a place of great honor. But we do not find in the Bible that Joshua ever had need of him. It is never stated that Joshua made use of the Urim through Elazar, which shows that Elazar never achieved the greatness promised him.
אמר רבי לוי כל דמותיב מלה קמיה רביה אזיל לשאול בלא ולד שנאמר ויען יהושע בן נון משרת משה מבחוריו ויאמר אדוני משה כלאם
With regard to this same issue, Rabbi Levi said: Whoever answers a word in the presence of his teacher will go down to the netherworld childless, as it is stated: “And Joshua bin Nun, the minister of Moses from his youth, answered and said: My lord Moses, shut them in” (Numbers 11:28). Since he spoke to his teacher out of turn, he was punished by remaining childless.