Jonathan Wolf

Daf Yomi Horayos 14

We complete Meseches Horayos with daf 14 on 4/14/18. This daf not only completes the tractate, but it also completes the “order” (Seder) known as Nezikim (meaning “damages”; there are six orders in the Talmud: Zeraim, Moed, Nashim, Nezikim, Kodshim, and Taharot). This last daf has some interesting moral concepts to guide us (all translations are from The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren Noe Talmud Bavli):

Why should the dilemma remain unresolved (teiku)? The gemara is teaching us a valuable lesson as we close out Meseches Horayos and Seder Nezikim. The methods of decision making by Rabbi Zeira and Rabba bar Rav Mattana were very different. Some people are intellectual and can apply incisive logic to reach a conclusion. Each aspect of the problem is dissected into fundamental parts to understand the basics. Some people look at the larger picture and relate to the facts before them seeing connections and patterns that are larger and then relate them back to the present circumstances. We might describe these are “deduction” vs. “induction”. In the first gemara, Rav Yosef is referred to as a “Sinai” (extremely knowledgeable) versus an oker harim (an uprooter of mountains; meaning one who is incisive). In this case, the “Sinai” is greater. The Rashi (from The Rashi Commentary to the William Davidson digital edition of the Koren Noe Talmud Bavli) on this gemara explains that “Sinai” characterizes a Talmid Chacham who has memorized all of the Mishnayos and Beraisos and knows them as if he had heard them directly from Har Sinai. “Oker Harim” describes a Talmid Chacham who is extremely sharp in his methodology of Torah learning, even though his knowledge is not as broad as that of a “Sinai.”

The larger lesson, is that we need all people in the Jewish community united regardless of the level of understanding or level of observance.

About the Author
Jonathan Wolf is a retired high school physics teacher. He retired to NJ with his wife. He is an adjunct professor of physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has published professional papers and has been the author of AP Physics review books as well as general HS and college physics review books. He is a past President and ritual chairman at a conservative synagogue on Long Island, NY before he retired to NJ.
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