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Yevamos, 14

YEVAMOS 14 (5 Teves) - has been dedicated to the memory of Max (Meir Menachem) Turkel, on his Yahrzeit by his children Eddie and Lawrence, and his wife Jean Turkel/Rafalowicz.


QUESTION: Reish Lakish asked Rebbi Yochanan (13b) how the Mishnah in Megilah (2a) could prescribe reading Megilas Esther at different times in different places. Why is this not a problem of "Lo Sisgodedu" (Devarim 14:1), different groups of Jews conducting themselves with differing Halachic practices?

After the Gemara cites numerous other examples in which we see that there are different practices among the Jewish people, Abaye answers that the reason those different practices are not a problem of "Lo Sisgodedu" is because the prohibition of "Lo Sisgodedu" applies only to rulings issued by two courts in *one* city. When two courts in two different cities issue different rulings, there is no problem of "Lo Sisgodedu."

Rava answers that "Lo Sisgodedu" applies only when one court in one city issues two different rulings, with half of the court ruling one way and the other half ruling another way. According to Rava, different rulings issued by two courts even in one city do not constitute "Lo Sisgodedu."

The answers of Abaye and Rava explain why Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel acted with different Halachic practices in their respective places (they were like two different courts). How, though, does it explain why "Lo Sisgodedu" does not apply to the reading of the Megilah? The villagers (Bnei Kefarim) read the Megilah on the "Yom ha'Kenisah," the days that they come into the city (on Mondays and Thursdays, when the courts convene), which is not necessarily the fourteenth or fifteenth of Adar, the day on which the city people read the Megilah. This was the Takanah that the Chachamim made in order as a leniency for the villagers (Megilah 4b). When the villagers come into the city, they have a city person read the Megilah for them (RASHI Megilah 2a, DH Ela she'ha'Kefarim). Thus, there are two groups in the same city reading at two different times! According to Abaye, why is this not a problem of "Lo Sisgodedu?" Also, according to Rava, if a city person reads for the villagers, it is like one court in one city doing two different practices!


(a) The ROSH (1:9) answers that it is not like one court that is split, but it is like two courts in one city, because the villagers do *not* have a city person read for them. They read the Megilah for themselves. The only reason they read in the city is because in the villages they do not gather together for a Minyan. According to Rava, then, it is not "Lo Sisgodedu."

How does Abaye answer the question, since he holds that two courts in one city acting differently also constitutes "Lo Sisgodedu?" The RASHBA writes that indeed the Gemara could have asked this question on Abaye and said that his answer only addresses the other cases of different practices, and it does not address the question from Megilah.

(b) TOSFOS quotes RABEINU CHAIM who says, based on the Yerushalmi, that when the Mishnah in Megilah says that the villagers read the Megilah on Mondays or Thursdays (and not necessarily on the fourteenth or fifteenth), it does not mean that they go into the cities to read, but rather that they read in their villages. They used to gather together in their synagogues on Mondays and Thursdays, but not during the rest of the week. The Chachamim enacted that they may read in their villages on Mondays or Thursdays, when they gather together in the synagogues. Therefore, even according to Abaye, the practices to read the Megilah at different times is like two courts in two different cities, and thus there is no problem of "Lo Sisgodedu."

The RASHBA adds that even if the villagers read in the city, the city people and the villagers can still be considered like two courts in two different cities, because the villagers stand out from the city people (they look different), and thus everyone knows that they are from the village and have a different practice. It is not "Lo Sisgodedu" because when they read on a different date than the city people, it is like they are a separate miniature city inside the large city that has a different practice. The RAMBAN says that they are like a separate city, even when they are in the large city, because they stay in a specific section of the city and everyone sees that they are separate from the rest of the city. (This approach will also explain why there is no problem of "Lo Sisgodedu" even when a city person reads for the villagers in the city, as Rashi in Megilah says.)

(c) The ROSH suggests another answer. The original enactment of when to read the Megilah states that the Megilah be read in different places on different days. Therefore, it does not pose a problem of "Lo Sisgodedu," because the enactment itself was that in different places there should be different practices. The enactment is on the place, and not the person; the enactment tells us that places should act with different practices, and not that people should act with different practices.

The Rosh adds that according to this, Reish Lakish's question from Megilah was not a valid question, and that is why Rebbi Yochanan did not relate to it. Instead, Rebbi Yochanan told him that he should have asked from the different practices with regard to working on the day before Pesach; Rebbi Yochanan was telling Reish Lakish that his question from Megilah does not begin, but a good question would be from the different practices of doing work on Erev Pesach.

(d) The RASHBA explains that the question from Megilah is not from the practice of the villagers at all. Rather, the question is from the practice of the unwalled cities and the walled cities, who read the Megilah on the fourteenth and fifteenth, respectively. This is because the villagers are able to read on the fourteenth if they want; they are not restricted to Mondays and Thursdays. When the Gemara in Megilah says that the Chachamim made an enactment as a leniency for the village people, they *allowed* them to read on the "Yom ha'Kenisah" but did not require them to do so. Since they *could* read on the fourteenth, everyone knows that when they read earlier they are not observing a different law, but rather they are just taking advantage of the leniency which the Chachamim gave them.

Reish Lakish was asking his question from the different practices of reading on the fourteenth and fifteenth. If that was his question, the answers of Abaye and Rava are valid, since the Megilah is read on the fourteenth and fifteenth in *two different places*.

The Rashba infers from Rashi (13b, DH Amina) that this is also how Rashi understood Reish Lakish's question, since Rashi only mentions that the problem of "Lo Sisgodedu" is from the fact that some read the Megilah on the fourteenth and some read on the fifteenth.

QUESTION: The Gemara continues its discussion whether, in practice, people may follow different rulings of different authorities. The Gemara records the practice of Rebbi Avahu, who was lenient to carry a lamp on Shabbos when he was in the city of Rebbi Yehoshua ben Levi, and he was stringent not to carry it on Shabbos when he was in the city of Rebbi Yochanan. The Gemara asks how could he conduct himself in such a way, following two different rulings?

The Gemara answers that he ruled like the lenient view. The only reason he followed the stringent view was in respect for Rebbi Yochanan who ruled that way.

The Gemara then asks how could he conduct himself stringently in one place and leniently in another, when his attendant will see him carry in one place and will then carry even in the place on Rebbi Yochanan. The Gemara answers that the attendant was informed about Rebbi Avahu's practice.

This Gemara poses some difficulties. First, how is the discussion of Rebbi Avahu's conduct related to our Sugya? The Sugya is discussing the prohibition of "Lo Sisgodedu," the public divergence of Halachic practice, while this incident is discussing the contradicting acts of one person!

Second, why did the Gemara first assume that Rebbi Avahu had never informed his attendant about his practice? Certainly he must have informed his attendant what the Halachah was and that he was being stringent only in the place of Rebbi Yochanan!


(a) The Gemara's question, and its reason for discussing the practice of Rebbi Avahu, is from Rebbi Avahu's attendant. The Gemara knew from the outset that Rebbi Avahu acted stringently just out of respect for Rebbi Yochanan. The Gemara's question, though, was that there are people who do not realize why Rebbi Avahu changes his practice from place to place, and they might wrongly learn from him to be lenient even in a place where the practice is to be stringent. If Rebbi Avahu wants to show respect to Rebbi Yochanan, then he should not carry a lamp *anywhere*, even outside of the city of Rebbi Yochanan, so that people traveling with him should not learn from him and assume that it is permitted to carry a lamp even in a place which is stringent. The RITVA says that this is what Rashi means.

(b) TOSFOS HA'ROSH (see also TOSFOS YESHANIM and RITVA) explains that if "Lo Sisgodedu" prohibits the people in one place from having two different practices, then it should also be prohibited for *one person* to have two different practices in two places.

These last two answers appear to be arguing about the underlying basis for the prohibition of "Lo Sisgodedu." Is the prohibition to have two different practices in one place because it causes *people* to separate from each other, and it appears that people are not serving Hashem together, or is it because it causes the honor of the *Torah* to be lowered in people's eyes when they see two different practices among the people?

Rashi understood that the problem of "Lo Sisgodedu" is that it causes separation, making it look like the Jews are following two different sets of law. That is why he explains that the Gemara's question is that Rebbi Avahu's attendant might learn from Rebbi Avahu to conduct himself leniently even in a city that is stringent.

In contrast, Tosfos ha'Rosh, who says that one person in two places is like two Batei Dinim in one place, understands that the reason it is prohibited to have two people in one place doing two different things is because it shows divergence in the observance of the Torah, and thus it will cause the Torah to be dishonored. Similarly, if one person is inconsistent in his conduct, it will cause the honor of the Torah to be lowered. That is why the Gemara asks that by seeing the differing practices of Rebbi Avahu, the attendant's respect for the Torah will be lowered.


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