TalmuDigest

For the week ending 26 May 2012 / 4 Sivan 5772

Nidah 2 - 8

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • The woman who sees blood and her effect on what she touches
  • When we assume that no change has taken place in status
  • The conflicting positions of Hillel and Shamai
  • The rabbinical guideline for when a woman must examine herself regarding purity
  • When a doubt arises in regard to purity status
  • Four women who need not have to be concerned about retroactive impurity
  • Rabbi Eliezer the "Shamuti"
  • Three kinds of "virgins"
  • When pregnancy becomes visible

The Rejected Sage

Rabbi Eliezer's position on a halachic matter discussed in our gemara was rejected because he was a "shamuti".

According to Rashi this is a reference to the famous debate between Rabbi Eliezer and his colleagues described in Bava Metzia(59b) which ended in his being "blessed" (a euphemism for a curse) for failing to concede to the majority of Sages opposing him. This approach defines the "blessing" as excommunication and explains why his position was here rejected.

Tosefot takes issues with this approach, pointing out that a curse is not an act of excommunication. Rather than define "shamuti" as a derivative of the word "shamta" meaning excommunication, it is suggested that it is a derivative of the name "Shamai" and refers to the fact that Rabbi Eliezer was a disciple of the Sage Shamai. It was because the majority of the Sages ruled like the Sage Hillel and not like Shamai that Rabbi Eliezer's rulings were rejected.

  • Nidah 7b

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