The Yerushalmi as a Source of Halacha

 

Guest post by R. Michael J. Broyde

Rabbi Michael Broyde is a law professor at Emory, was the founding rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta and is a dayan in the Beth Din of America. He can be reached at [email protected]

Since I stepped down from being the active rabbi of the shul I founded, I have found myself immersed in very intense learning li-shmah again as a major component of my time. Having been relieved of the duty of answering congregants’ many questions, I have spent that free time learning Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) beiyun, in depth (for the first time, to my terrible embarrassment). It has been more than three years now and I am nearly finished with my first Yerushalmi cycle. Allow me to share some thoughts.

The touchtstone document of halacha is without a doubt the Talmud; more specifically, the Babylonian Talmud (Bavli). Rif (Eruvin 27a), Rambam (in his introduction to Mishneh Torah), and Rosh (Sanhedrin 4:5) note that the basic doctrine of Jewish law is the supremacy of the Babylonian Talmud. What, however, is the status of the Jerusalem Talmud? There are, I believe, two distinctly different schools of thought. One view in the Rishonim and Acharonim posits that the Jerusalem Talmud is a very secondary document, close to irrelevant and can be virtually ignored.

The other view sees the Jerusalem Talmud as a central document of halacha, and one should therefore interpret the Bavli in light of the Yerushalmi. As Rabbi Joseph Karo writes (Kessef Mishneh, Gerushin 13:18), “Any way that we can interpret the Bavli to prevent it from arguing with the Yerushalmi is better, even if the explanation is a bit forced (דחוק קצת).” To recast this in a slightly stronger way, it is well-nigh impossible to determine the halacha, in this view, without a firm grasp of the Yerushalmi because one cannot always adopt as halachically normative the best and simplest explanation of the Bavli—a difficult explanation of the Bavli that is consistent with the Yerushalmi is better as a matter of normative Jewish law than a better explanation of the Bavli that is inconsistent with the Yerushalmi. So claims the Bet Yosef.

Anyone who is a regular learner of the Rashba or Ritva, who has seen Rambam’s Hilchot ha-Yerushalmi (ed. R. S. Lieberman), or who has learned Rabbeinu Chananel regularly sees that these Rishonim were clear masters of the Yerushalmi as well as the Bavli. Such is not the case for Rashi and his disciples, who make almost no use of the Yerushalmi and did not seem to think themselves any the worse for it.[1] Indeed, a common methodological insight of the mainstream Ashkenazic commentators is that they seldom use the Yerushalmi (except, perhaps, Ra’aviyah). Mordechai, Maharam, Yereim, Semak, et. al. nearly never cite the Yerushalmi.

For an example of the approach of Tosafot, see B.Berachot 11b, s.v. she-kevar niftar, where Tosafot state in response to a difficulty presented by a Yerushalmi: “And Ri answers that we do not accept this Yerushalmi since our Talmud does not quote it.” According to Ri, sources not cited in “our Talmud” [the Bavli] are not binding. Indeed, the formulation of “I found in the Yerushalmi” (matzati biyerushalmi)—invoking the phrase “I found,” which Tosafot do not use in reference to the Bavli—reflects this lack of familiarity.

This same divergence continues for centuries, with some halachic authorities seeking detailed, close study of the Yerushalmi and others essentially ignoring it. For example, anyone who closely studies Aruch ha-Shulchan sees that he regularly cites the Yerushalmi. His quotes frequently reflect that he is a regular student of the Yerushalmi with novel and fluent insights. This is not the case for the Mishnah Berurah, who never quotes the Yerushalmi except when it is quoted by others. The same is true for Igrot Moshe and Dibrot Moshe. Rav Moshe Feinstein’s fluency with the Bavli is amazing and his insights are beyond compare. But in my study of both Dibrot Moshe and Igrot Moshe, I cannot recall finding a single novel citation to the Yerushalmi by Rav Moshe.

The writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik, which contain numerous truly insightful comments on the Bavli yet not a single real chiddush on the Yerushalmi, also reflect a certain insight into the Brisker approach to the Rambam. Indeed, the Rav seemed almost comfortably indifferent to the Yerushalmi’s role in the Mishneh Torah. Consider the comments in Shiurim le-Zecher Avi Mori 1:118–120, addressing the wearing of tefillin on Chol ha-Moed, which contains an insightful observation on the nature of tefillin on Chol ha-Moed but completely ignores the relevant Yerushalmi that is clear and contrary to his thesis. Indeed, that the followers of the Brisker approach methodologically insist on harmonizing Rambam with the Bavli, even when there is considerable evidence that Rambam draws from a broader range of sources, is more than a bit disquieting. In light of Yerushalmi Moed Katan 3:4 which states explicitly that one should wear tefillin on Chol ha-Moed, and the only ambiguity within the Rambam regarding the wearing of tefillin on Chol ha-Moed, this author is inclined to think that Rambam rules that one must wear tefillin on Chol ha-Moed, and that the entire approach in Shiurim le-Zecher Avi Mori 1:118–120 is thus difficult.

This same difference proves to be quite important, I suspect, in many halachic constructs, where a less than ideal explanation of the Bavli harmonizes it with the Yerushalmi and the ideal explanation of the Bavli is completely inconsistent with the Yerushalmi. What to do in that situation remains a vast dispute among Poskim. Consider, for example, four examples that I happen to have written about or am writing about currently—tefillin on Chol ha-Moed, aliyot in a city where all the men are kohanim, whether the daughter of a gentile man and Jewish woman may marry a Kohen, and the of using charity funds to build synagogues rather than to support the poor.

In all four cases, the Bavli is silent while the Yerushalmi directly addresses the matter. On the topic of tefillin on Chol ha-Moed, Y.Moed Katan 3:4 is clear that tefillin should be worn; in Y.Gittin 5:9 it is clear that even in a city where all the men are kohanim, women do not get called to the Torah; Y.Yevamot 4:15 is clear that such a woman cannot marry a Kohen; and in Y.Peah 8:8 it is clear that a synagogue is a valid recipient of charity. Although it is obvious that each of these four matters generates some controversy among the Poskim, I suspect that the core dispute is whether one needs to adopt the halachic norm as expressed by the Jerusalem Talmud. Much more could be written on this matter.

A good claim could be made that Rambam did not fall clearly into either of these camps and his exact methodology for resolving Talmudic disputes remains cloaked in mystery. However, it is clear that he was quite familiar with the Yerushalmi and sometimes accepted its rulings even when they stood in opposition to apparent rulings of the Bavli. My own intuition is that Rambam used logical tools to resolve disputes and was not even fully wedded to the notion of the complete superiority of the Bavli over the Yerushalmi in all cases.[2] That Rambam does not follow normal rules of decision is widely noted. (See Sedei Chemed, Kelalei ha-Poskim vol. 9, siman 5. See also numerous such references in the Tosafot Yom Tov; Rashba, Ketubot 48a, s.v. amar Rav; idem, Nedarim 46a, s.v. mistavra; Ritva, Moed Katan 8b, s.v. ika beinaihu; Yam Shel Shlomo, Yevamot 8:18; Penei Yehoshua, Gittin 84b, s.v. ve-nir’eh le-Ri; Chatam Sofer, Avodah Zarah 34a, s.v. ve-ana kevedah [perhaps].)

The more I immerse myself in the study of Talmud, the more I understand the reference to the “sea of the talmud.” It is not called a “sea of Talmud” because (as some have joked) it is so easy to drown in it. Rather it is because no matter how much time you spend in it, it is so hard to understand its many currents, ebbs and flows. Just when you think you understand how the sea works, you learn something new about it.


[1] Contrary to this is Louis Ginzberg’s astounding assertion that Rashi’s “classic work would have gained much” had he employed the Yerushalmi more frequently [p. xlix of his Commentary to Y.Berachot].
[2] My eldest son, Joshua Broyde, recently suggested that Rambam had an affinity to accept Talmudic views that are supported by logic over views supported by scriptural verses. As an initial proof to this proposition, Joshua cites four examples from Tractate Sanhedrin: 8b, R. Yose omer; 10a, Rava amar malkot bimkom mitah; 30a-b, R. Natan ve-R. Yehoshua ben Korchah; and 16b, R. Shimon hayah doresh ta’ama de-kra.

 

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81 Responses

  1. IH says:

    Please add “R.” before Lieberman and Ginzberg (misspelled, btw).

  2. IH says:

    Nice post. Thank you. I am reminded of the story that Prof. Shapiro relays in “Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox” p.7:

    “let me mention an interesting detail about Lieberman’s time in Palestine, which is found in one of his letters to Ginzberg. Here he writes that he began working on a great project on the Jerusalem Talmud (undoubtedly Ha-Yerushalmi ki-Feshuto), but had to stop because one cannot work on Berakhot without knowing all of the Yerushalmi. He did not resume the work until he had finished going through the entire Jerusalem Talmud. This story highlights Lieberman’s incredibly high standards; he did not think that he could write on one tractate without having completed the Talmud in its entirety.”

  3. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    A very rich and stimulating post. There is an article by Prof Robert Brody, the noted expert on all things Geonic, as to when the Rambam paskens like the Yerushlami. I do not have the source at hand.

  4. aiwac says:

    Fascinating stuff. I would like to hear more about the relationship between the Gra and the Yerushalmi as well, and/or R. Goren’s peirush for Brachot, for which he received the Israel prize. An assessment of Prof. Leib Moscowitz’s monumental work would also be nice:

    http://www.magnespress.co.il/website/index.asp?id=3142

  5. IH says:

    Ah, interesting. The substance of this post is footnote #21 on p. 31 of:
    http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/downloadPublication.cfm?PublicationID=8854

    which makes another intriguing point apropos to the frequent discussions of “mesorah” on Hirhurim:

    “It is also worth noting that the issue of wearing tefillin on Chol ha-Moed is further complicated by the view of the Zohar (Zohar Chadash, Shir Hashirim 8a–b)that such is unequivocally forbidden (vadai bar ketula ihu). It is likely that the Beit Yosef (who quotes extensively from the Zohar here) is of the view that the Zohar, attributed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, is to be considered a Tannaitic source and take precedence over the Talmud Yerushalmi.”

  6. RJM says:

    I recall reading years ago that Rav Moshe Z”L had actually composed a very significant trove of chiddushim on Yerushalmi but they were lost when a briefcase or bag of his was stolen. Is there any substance to this story?

  7. chardal says:

    Avinoam Rosenak’s book ההלכה הנבואית deals extensively with R’ Kook’s approach to the yerushalmi and halacha:

    http://www.magnespress.co.il/website/index.asp?id=2742

  8. chardal says:

    >It is likely that the Beit Yosef (who quotes extensively from the Zohar here) is of the view that the Zohar, attributed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, is to be considered a Tannaitic source and take precedence over the Talmud Yerushalmi.”

    Not likely at all since the Beit Yosef writes explicitly that except in rare cases, he does not use the zohar as an halachic source and further in regards to this issue in particular, he writes that he only lets the zohar get the final vote since this is a machloket rishonim which he felt he could not resolve based on other criteria.

  9. Aryeh says:

    According to Wikipedia, Rav Moshe did actually write a commentary to the Yerushalmi, but it was destroyed by the Soviet authorities.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Feinstein#Works

  10. Baruch says:

    One of the problems with learning Yerushalmi is that there are so many portions where it’s anybody’s guess what the text actually means or whether we even have the correct text.

  11. mycroft says:

    “Lawrence Kaplan on May 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm
    A very rich and stimulating post. There is an article by Prof Robert Brody, the noted expert on all things Geonic, as to when the Rambam paskens like the Yerushlami. I do not have the source at hand”

    If I recall correctly Prof Brody in his Yale work on Geonim points out that until roughly Saadaihs time-questions from countries near Babel tended to be asked to Babylonain Rabbis, questions from countries near Israel tended to be asked ofIsraeli Rabbis and countries not near either tended to be asked ofIsraeli rabbis-not an indication of early supremacy of Babylonian Rabbonim-of course our mikrah and filah also tend to followIsraeli Rabbis.

  12. joel rich says:

    Such is not the case for Rashi and his disciples, who make almost no use of the Yerushalmi and did not seem to think themselves any the worse for it.[1] Indeed, a common methodological insight of the mainstream Ashkenazic commentators is that they seldom use the Yerushalmi (except, perhaps, Ra’aviyah). Mordechai, Maharam, Yereim, Semak, et. al. nearly never cite the Yerushalmi.
    ==========================================
    bshita or due to lack of availability?
    KT

  13. Tuvia says:

    I once heard that Rambam holds like the Yerushalmi when it relays a later opinion than the Bavli. Any truth to this?

    על הגאולה זה תלמוד ירושלמי ועל התמורה זה תלמוד בבלי”
    (זוהר חדש רות) Yerushalmi revival and geulah… Any thoughts?

    http://www.yeshiva.org.il/midrash/video/?id=3730 Rav Shear Yashuv Cohen on מקומו של הירושלמי בהלכה
    15 minutes

    See Rav Kook Orot HaTorah ch 13

    אגרות ראי”ה אגרת ק”ג

    כן הוא בענין חכמת ההגדה עם חכמת ההלכה, שיסוד הראשונה חכמת הלב והרעיון, שכל ההלכות המרובות התלויות בדעה ובמחשבה נובעות ממנה, והשניה היא חכמת המעשים. ששניהם נובעים משני השרשים שמסתעפים מתורה הקדושה, הם החכמה והנבואה, שלא נתבארו עדיין יפה גדריהם ביחש לנתוח ההלכות וענין תורה שבעל פה. כי הך כללא ד”לא בשמים היא” יש בו כמה הררים גדולים, אף על פי ששיטת הרמב”ם היא ביסודי התורה דאין שייכות לנבואה לענין הלכה, מכל מקום הלא שיטת התוס’ היא דאין זה כלל גדול, ופשוט שהיו לכלל זה גם כן יוצאים, והיתה הנבואה מעולם פועלת גם כן על הליכות תורה שבעל פה, והכי משמע פשטות המשנה דאבות: “וזקנים נביאים”, שהי’ ערך לענין הנבואה בענין תורה שבעל פה, דדוחק הוא לומר שרק במקרה היתה המסורת על ידי נביאים ובאמת לא פעלה כלום בזה. וכן משמע לע”ד בהא דזבחים “ג’ נביאים עלו עמהם מן הגולה”, והלא היו שם ג”כ כמה חכמים, אלא שהיו ענינים כאלה שצריך דוקא כח נבואה. ואפי’ אם נאמר שאין גומרים ההלכה על פי נבואה, מכל מקום פועלת היא על סדור הלמודים.

    על כן בארץ ישראל, שהיא מקום הנבואה, יש רושם לשפע הנבואה בסדר הלימוד, וההבנה היא מוסברת מתוך השקפה פנימית ואין צריך כל כך אריכות בירורים, והיינו “אוירא דארץ ישראל מחכים”, ותלמודא בבלאה הוא מטריד להו, וחכמת הנבואה, שהיא יסוד לחכמת האגדה, שהיא הצד הפנימי של שרשי התורה, פעלה בארץ ישראל הרבה יותר מבבבל, שאינה ראויה לנבואה, כדאמרינן במועד קטן “ראוי הי’ רבנו שתשרה עליו שכינה, אלא שבבל גרמה לו”. והנה אותם המושפעים מהשרשים של חכמת הנבואה – הקיצור הוא מעלה אצלם, והנתוח של ההלכות והוצאת דבר מתוך דבר נעשה אצלם בסקירה רחבה מאד, ודי להם רמז קל להחליט משפט, וזה הי’ יסוד סדר הלימוד של ירושלמי, שלגבי אותם הזוכים ליהנות מאורה של מעלה הי’ די דקדוקים קצרים לבירור ההלכה, אבל לגבי בני בבל, ששרשי הנבואה לא השפיעו עליהם כל כך, לא הי’ מספיק הקיצור והי’ צריך אריכות דברים. ונראה לע”ד, דיסוד הדבר תלוי בחילוק שבין בבלי וירושלמי בסוגיא דזקן ממרא בסנהדרין, בפירוש “דבר” האמור בפרשה, דהבבלי מפרש “זו הלכה” וירושלמי מפרש “זו אגדה”. דבהקדמה לחוה”ל כתב, דעניני הדעות (שבאמת הן הן עניני האגדה העיקריים) לא נזכרו במקרא “דכי יפלא”, וזה ראי’ דאין זה שייך לחכמי הסמך והמסורת כי אם אפשר לברר על פי השכל, וכמה מהגאונים אמרו על פי זה שאין האגדות כל כך מיוסדות להלכתא; אבל היו מהם, כפי הנראה מתשובת רב האי גאון בעניני החכמות, שהיו מחזיקים לעיקר גם כן עניני ההגדות. והחילוק הוא פשוט, דסדר-לימוד שהוא נסמך על שרשי הנבואה וסעיפיה, ההלכות עם האגדות מתאחדות על ידו, ויש עניני קבלה ומסורת בדעות כמו במעשים, וזאת היא דעת הירושלמי שלא כד’ חוה”ל, אבל בסדר לימוד שבחו”ל, שאינה ראויה לנבואה וממילא אין ענפי רוח הקודש מתלכדים עם ההלכה ונתוחיה, הדעות הנן רק מה שאפשר להוציא מתוך השכל ההגיוני, ואין לעניני האגדות שייכות להלכה ולא שייך עליהם לא-תסור, וזה החילוק טבע את חותם ההבדל בין בבלי לירושלמי…

    ובאותו הדרך, המתעלה מעל נתוחי הסברות הפשוטות עד שפונה אל נטיית ההערות העליונות, ישנו גם כן מין עומק שכלי, שמכל מקום אין דרך לפרשו בחתימת תלמוד, והוא מסור לתלמידי חכמים המשכילים בשכל טוב, והירושלמי סומך יותר על רמזים כאלה משום יתרון החכמה דאוירא דארץ ישראל… וכבר כתב רמ”ע מפאנו, דכל מקום שיש “שתיק רב” הי’ בזה ענין נסתר, ויש בזה כמה פנים זה לפנים מזה, וכל שהשכל הוא יותר כללי הוא משוטט יותר מענינים דקים ודי לו פלפול מועט, והכלליות של השכל עצמו נמשכת משפע של רוח הקודש, עד אשר אפילו בדרך רחוק הרבה יש בו איזה רושם, וזה הרושם הוא עיקר ההבדל שבין בבלי לירושלמי. ומשום הכי לדידן הבבלי עיקר, דדרך הלמוד הפשוט מוסבר בו בהרחבה, ומכל מקום לכל עת שיחדש השי”ת לב חדש על עמו ויוחזר כח קדושת ארץ הקודש בגלוי, יגלה האור של הירושלמי מצד סגנונו הקצר והעמוק, שמסתייע ממהלך שכל עליון, וההגדה המקובלת מחוברת בו עם ההלכה בדרך פעולה נסתרת.

    וישנן סברות מופשטות למכביר רמוזות בבבלי, שהן מסגנון הירושלמי… ויש לרמוז דוגמא על קירוב הרעיון לנסתר ונשגב, שבירושלמי יותר מכפי הסגנון הרגיל של בבלי, שסתמו הדברים יותר בזה מפני כח התלמידים שאינו יפה כל כך בחוץ לארץ, מהא דיומא בעובדא דשמעון הצדיק, שעובר על זה הבבלי בשתיקה והירושלמי מתנשא לחביון עז הסוד, ופריך על זה: “והא כתיב וכל אדם כו’ אני אומר הקב”ה הי’”. וכן יש להביא ראי’ על רמז הנטי’ אפי’ מדיוק הלשון, מהא דרבי יוחנן בן בג בג דשלח אצל ריב”ב, בקידושין איתא “שאתה בקי בחדרי תורה”, ובירושלמי דכתובות פ’ אע”פ ה”ד הלשון, “בסתרי תורה, אפילו לדרוש בקל וחומר”, והיינו כפי הנטי’ הירושלמית שפועלת על הסגנון

  14. Shachar Ha'amim says:

    another important issue where the bavli is silent and the Yerushalmi is explicit is the list of cardinal sins regarding which we rule “yehareig va’al yaavor”. The Bavli lists 3. The Yerushalmi adds a 4th – chamas (robbery). I say Bavli is silent, b/c there are poskim who interpret the bavli such that chamas is also a cardinal sin – see e.g. tshuva of R. Shlomo Kluger who deals with the question of whether you are allowed to steal from someone in order to save a/one’s life. He rules – entirely based on sugyot in the bavli w/o mention of the yerushalmi at all – that one cannot.

  15. yehupitz says:

    Many years ago, I saw a Biyur HaGra, “inside”, commenting on a halacha in the Mishneh Torah or taken from the Mishneh Torah, that said that the Rambam was paskening in accordance with the Yerushalmi, “K’darko”, exact quote. I don’t recall where I saw it and I wouldn’t know how to search for it now. Perhaps someone here with the bekius to recall or the skill to search the databases can find it.

  16. Aaron Ross says:

    Kol hakavod to Rabbi Broyde for this fascinating post and to Rav Gil for posting it. A wonderful and interesting read.

  17. Jerry says:

    I don’t have an Aruch Hashulchan handy now, but does anyone remember if he quotes the Yerushalmi in his discussion of tefilin on Chol HaMoed? I know he quotes the Mechilta and the Yalkut.

    Also, if I recall correctly, the Magid Mishnah says something about how the Rambam generally did not accept ukimtos in the Gemara if he thought they were ukimtos dechukos. Thus, sometimes it may look like the Rambam paskens like the Yerushalmi over the simple meaning of the Bavli, but in reality he has simply set aside a portion of the Bavli’s analysis. This may be what Rabbi Broyde is getting at in Note 2.

    Very interesting!

  18. Shachar Ha'amim says:

    “Indeed, that the followers of the Brisker approach methodologically insist on harmonizing Rambam with the Bavli, even when there is considerable evidence that Rambam draws from a broader range of sources, is more than a bit disquieting. ”

    I don’t know why this is disquieting. This was one of the arguments against “lomdus” over 100 years ago. The Ridva”z called lomdus “idol worship”. Rav Chaim was referred to as “der chemiker”
    Only someone who was really indocrinated into beleieving that lomdus is the ONLY correct way to learn and ONLY way to acheive accomplishment of mitzvat limud hatorah, would not be disturbed by attemps to fit explanations into texts where other simpler, source based, solutions can be found

  19. Hirhurim says:

    I did a search on the Biur HaGra. Here is where he says that the Rambam follows the Yerushalmi “ke-darko”:

    OC 546:5; YD 63:1, 226:11, 282:17; EH 7:2, 17:107

  20. David says:

    Thanks to Yehupitz, I found some examples of the Gra explaining Rambam this way. Here’s one:
    ביאור הגר”א אורח חיים סימן תלו סעיף א ד”ה א”צ לבדוק
    “…אבל הרמב”ם דרכו לנטות אחר הירושלמי ברוב מקומות…”

    דוד

  21. Anan says:

    Is the Yerushalmi explicit that one must wear tefillin on chol hamoed or is the context regarding making tefillin on chol hamoed? Granted it is an easy jump from making tefillin to wering tefillin (what purpose would the meklacha be permitted) but does the Yerushalmi actually say one wears tefillin on Chol Hamoed.
    Also, the Beis Yosef quotes a teshuva from his uncle that he is usingthe Zohar only because the posim are split and he cant be machria which way (The context of the teshuva is which i superior; chalitzah or yibum).

  22. yehupitz says:

    re: Tefillin on Chol Hamoed,

    I have heard it explained that Ashkenazim, with their claimed mesora going back to Eretz Yisrael, traditionally donned tefillin on Chol Hamoed because of a psak that came from that Yerushalmi or an oral mesora of the same origin.

    Sefardim traditionally did not don tefillin, or at least had no explicit minhag of donning them, which must have facilitated acceptance of the Zohar’s position; because the Bavli, the more explicit source of their mesora, made no such mention.

    It was then the Zohar’s position, and not the Bavli’s omission, that made inroads into Ashkenaz, with the Chassidim and also the Gra accepting its authority on this matter.

  23. IH says:

    To me, the most interesting part about the additional text in R. Broyde’s footnote was the hypothesis the Zohar achieved halachic traction through the “mesorah” attribution of it to the tanna Rabban Shimon bar Yochai. Apropos of the discussion in the parallel thread “Modern Orthodoxy Faces the 21st Century”.

  24. Shalom Spira says:

    Yes, R’ RJM and R’ Aryeh, you are both correct: the report regarding RMF’s novellae on the Yerushalmi disappearing is published on p. 55 of Artscroll’s RMF biography (2nd edition, 2011). Bechasdei HKB”H, at least one of RMF’s Yerusalmi insights has remained for posterity. According to R. Moshe David Tendler (Responsa of Rav Moshe Feinstein, pp. 209-213) and R. J. David Bleich (Benetivot Hahalakhah III, pp. 65-79), RMF’s decision on the 1977 conjoined twins case was based on his Yerushalmi analysis found in IM YD 2:60.

  25. S. says:

    >bshita or due to lack of availability?

    These are probably two sides of the same coin. It would have been available (i.e., copied) if it was seen as a worthwhile pursuit.

  26. IH says:

    Shachar Ha’amim – Incidentally, I can’t find the Yerushalmi reference on yehareig va’al yaavor and chamas you mentioned at 7:46 am. Sanhedrin Perek 3, Halacha 5 at: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/b/r/r4603.htm only discusses the same three as the Bavli.

  27. IH says:

    Gil, I note that in your “New Periodical: Hakirah vol. 11 (Spring 2011)” post you mention that RHS referenced “Rabbi Shaul Lieberman”.

    And irrespective of politics, please correct the spelling of Rabbi Ginzberg’s (which is correct in the source article by R. Broyde).

  28. IH says:

    I.e. you have “Ginsburg” instead of “Ginsberg”.

    IMHO it is chutzpadik to use their Torah and then make a point of withholding the Rabbi title. We should all have the zchut of learning as much Torah as they forgot.

  29. S. says:

    >IMHO it is chutzpadik to use their Torah and then make a point of withholding the Rabbi title. We should all have the zchut of learning as much Torah as they forgot.

    Louis Ginzberg was very different from Saul Lieberman.

    As for titles, Gadol mi-Rabban Shemo.

  30. Shalom Spira says:

    An additional rare Yerushalmi insight which fortunately remains is RMF’s claim that the ladies’ gallery which was built for the Simchat Beit Hasho’evah was a mitzvah di’oraita (IM OC 1:39). Although the Bavli in Sukkah 52a quotes Zechariah 12:12 as the source for authorization to construct the gallery, RMF believes (under the influence of the Yerushalmi Sukkah 5:2, together with a Tosafot in Zevachim 33a) that Zechariah 12:12 is a reflection of Leviticus 19:30.

  31. Eli Duker says:

    Although my exposure to Dibros Moshe is somewhat limited, I definately have come across novel interpretations of the Yerushalmi there.

  32. Jengel says:

    Here is another, non-wikipedia source on R Moshe’s Yerushalmi commentary with more details.
    http://www.jewishbktown.com/st/Jewish_inspirational_books_Reb_Moshe_Feinstein_3.htm

  33. wfb says:

    שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק א סימן כד ומה שכותב ידידי שאביו הרב שליט”א העיד שבעליס איילאנד היה רואה הרקיע מזהיר הרבה יותר משעה וחומש אחר שקה”ח, אינו הוכחה שהוא קודם צה”כ =צאת הכוכבים=, עיין בירושלמי ריש ברכות שאחר צה”כ עדיין יש אור גדול דקורא לזה חמה נתונה באמצע הרקיע
    שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק א סימן קיח ומה שהקשה כתר”ה מ”ט לא פירשו בטומאות שאין הנזיר מגלח היא קושיא גדולה. ואולי סובר הרמב”ם שבטומאות שאין הנזיר מגלח דההזאה בי”ד תועיל להקריב ידחה שבת משום דלא שייך טעמו. ועיין בירושלמי שר’ אושעיא מוקים למתני’ בי”ג שחל בשבת ומפרש במה”פ דסובר כהרמב”ם ולכן יליף מזה דדוקא בי”ג אינו דוחה אבל בי”ד שחל בשבת דוחה אם היתה מועילה ההזאה כגון בטומאות שאין הנזיר מגלח
    שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק א סימן קלז ועיין בירושלמי תענית פ”ג ה”ט על עלו להר הבית מפני הגשמים דהא אמרה הר הבית מקורה היה ותני כן אסטיו לפנים מסטיו היה שלכאורה תמוה דהא ותני כן הוא תניא נמי הכי כדאיתא בקה”ע ואיזה הוכחה היא מזה שהיה מקורה והמפרשים לא ביארו כלום.

    ולכן אמינא שהוא מפורש כדבארתי שפי’ סטיו אינו האיצטבא עצמה אלא מקום האיצטבא וא”כ יקשה מ”ט נקט הברייתא לשון סטיו אם לא היה מקורה ואין במקום ההוא אלא האיצטבאות והי”ל לומר איצטבא לפנים מאיצטבא היה, אלא צריך לומר משום דהיה גם מקורה אבל רק מקום האיצטבאות לכן אמר לשון סטיו דקאי על המקום דאיצטבאות שהוא לכלול גם הקרוי שעליהם כדפרשתי

    שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ב סימן לא ועצם חדוש הפמ”ג דאמן לא הוי עיכובא, תמוה לע”ד מהא דירושלמי ברכות פ’ אין עומדין ה”ד שאמר ומי עונה אחריהן אמן הנשים והטף
    שו”ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ב סימן פד ועיין בירושלמי פ’ כלל גדול ה”ב שאיתא התם תפרו לבגד החוט חבור לבגד ואינו חבור למחט, ולכאורה לא מובן, ופירוש קה”ע שהוא לענין טומאה הוא דחוק וגם תמוה דאף אם היה חבור לא היה שייך טומאה בהחוט מצד עצמו ומדין יד לא שייך דאין החוט משתמש ליד להמחט. וכן פירוש הפ”מ שחוט שתלוי עדיין במחט אינו חבור להבגד ג”כ דחוק דצריך למחוק תיבת תפרו לבגד עיי”ש, וגם לא מסתבר לומר שאף שהיה שיעור תפירה בהחוט לא יתחייב מצד תלייתו במחט.

    ולכן נראה לפרש דמחדש דצריך שיהיו השתים והשלש תפירות מהחוט לבד אבל אם היו בצרוף המחט פטור דהמחט לא מצטרף משום דתחיבת מחטין אינה תפירה ונשארה תפירה אחת שפטור, משום דרק החוט נעשה חבור לבגד בתפירה ולא המחט. וא”כ הוא ראיה מירושלמי שליכא ענין תפירה בתחיבת מחטין אף לצירוף וכ”ש כשכולה הוא מן מחטין, דלא כתמיהת הק”נ

  34. Shimon S says:

    “Yerushalmi Moed Katan 3:4 which states explicitly that one should wear tefillin on Chol ha-Moed.”

    Explicitly? Even “implicitly” would be a stretch. Unless you have a never published girsa of this sugya.

  35. Rafael Araujo says:

    R’ Chaim Kanievsky has a peirush out on the Yerushalmi. Also, there is a Yerushalmi Daf Yomi which RYGB was running for a while, if not currently.

  36. yehupitz says:

    I am not alone among Orthodox Jews in my disinterest and occasional aversion to showing deference or bestowing rabbinical titles on leaders or guides of the Conservative movement, even though they may not be “Conservative Rabbis” per se.

    However, I was present at a conference when none other than Rav Dovid Cohen of Gvul Yaavetz told a halachically relevant and humorous story involving ,and I quote “Rav Shaul Lieberman Zal”. When a few gasps were heard from the audience, Rav Cohen added, and I quote, “Say what you want about the man; but he was a Gaon Atzum.”

    Having shared that Maaseh Rav story, I still always feel… confused when I hear or read Orthodox Jews feeling the need to proactively defend his rabbinic status. Despite his high level of scholarship, his imprimatur of the Conservative movement should hold frum Jews back from going out of their way to insist that he be accorded rabbinic honor.

  37. IH says:

    My issue is that if you use his Torah, then honor his Torah. If you consider him treif, then don’t use his Torah.

  38. IH says:

    Also, I have no issue with the academic style of not insisting on honorifics, but that is not minhag ha’makom here. So, if it is RYBS, then it is RSL.

  39. S. says:

    >My issue is that if you use his Torah, then honor his Torah. If you consider him treif, then don’t use his Torah.

    It doesn’t work that way, and it never will.

    In a sense, who fulfills “kabel et ha-emet” more, the one who considers all sources that he uses to be “kosher” or the one who doesn’t, but considers something true despite its source?

    I’m not saying that R. Broyde doesn’t consider them “kosher,” but in a sense R. Broyde is making a better didactic point by using such sources, and naming them, then he would by using the titles.

  40. IH says:

    RHS seems to disagree on RSL and I — perhaps mistakenly — understand he is Gil’s posek. In any case, I have said what I have to say on this topic. Others are entitled to their opinions.

  41. Hirhurim says:

    For the record, R. Broyde asked me to add honorifics and I did. It was just an oversight. Personally ? Wouldn’t have changed it otherwise because 1) I consider it silly and 2) I accept insights even from people whose world views and life choices I find religiously offensive. That said, R. Hershel Schachter did just refer to “Rabbi Shaul Lieberman.” Personally, I prefer to call him Professor which is accurate and inoffensive.

  42. IH says:

    Shimon S at 1:09 pm — in looking for an online translation of the relevant part of the Yerushalmi (rather than just quoting the text), I found this handout http://e-ark.net/rabbi/tefillin.pdf. See the middle of Page 2.

    [For the avoidance of doubt, I have not heard of the compiler before finding this using Google]

  43. Shlomo says:

    S. on May 4, 2011 at 11:12 am
    >bshita or due to lack of availability?

    These are probably two sides of the same coin. It would have been available (i.e., copied) if it was seen as a worthwhile pursuit.

    Yet just a couple generations after Rashi, Tosfot quotes the Yerushalmi extensively. Can this really be attributed only to the relative availability of Yerushalmi manuscripts in their times?

  44. ES says:

    Minhag Eretz Yisrael had a profound influence on minhag Ashkenaz, which, in turn, influenced the psak of many Ashkenazi Rishonim, even if they did not study Talmud Yerushalmi per se. See Ta Shma’s books for many examples.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Reb Gil,

    Why would you publish an article that is clearly lacking factual basis (as many of your readers have pointed out)?

    The author quotes Gedolim that he claims did not cit Yerushalmi. Across the board it is simply not true.

    I just don’t understand why one would make such claims without doing the most basic fact checking first?

  46. Hirhurim says:

    No, he never claimed that R. Moshe Feinstein didn’t quote Yerushalmi. He said that R. Moshe did not say any chiddushim on the Yerushalmi, unlike what he said on the Bavli.

  47. Baruch Alster says:

    IIRC, RMF has a perush on Yerushalmi, at least on Massekhet Demai, that was published by Machon Mutzal Me’esh. My wife used it while working on her dissertation.

  48. S. says:

    >Yet just a couple generations after Rashi, Tosfot quotes the Yerushalmi extensively. Can this really be attributed only to the relative availability of Yerushalmi manuscripts in their times?

    I proposed that they are two sides of the same coin. They were available or not available depending upon interest. I’m not a Tosafos Higher Critic, so I can’t say offhand who cites the Yerushalmi and when, but I did spend three seconds in serious research and saw that Tosafos cites the Yerushalmi some low hundreds of times (maybe 250 or so) which, while not insignificant, may be said to be comparitively few times given that if there are about 5400 amudim in Shas Bavli, and approximately 5 Tosafos per amud, for a total of 27,000 Tosafos. (If someone has a problem with my math, please chime in.)

    As it happens, we all know that the Yerushalmi was, in fact, badly unstudied for centuries. Not long ago someone from Artscroll called the Yerushalmi a “classic,” as part of the explanation why they are translating it. But we know that it is not a “classic” in the sense that so many works really are. That said, of course we should not overstate that point either.

  49. S. says:

    > if there are about 5400 amudim in Shas Bavli, and approximately 5 Tosafos per amud, for a total of 27,000 Tosafos. (If someone has a problem with my math, please chime in.)

    LOL I just realized my first flaw. Of course there is no Yerushalmi on Kodashim, so we have to discount the number of Tosafos in Kodashim. Still, even if not 27,000 relevant Tosafos, we’re still talking about at least 20,000, with only a couple of hundred Yerushalmi citations.

  50. Jonathan says:

    Rambam follows Yerushalmi (or Medrash Halacha ) over Bavali when it fits better with simple explanation of the Mishnah

  51. Rafael Araujo says:

    However, I was present at a conference when none other than Rav Dovid Cohen of Gvul Yaavetz told a halachically relevant and humorous story involving ,and I quote “Rav Shaul Lieberman Zal”. When a few gasps were heard from the audience, Rav Cohen added, and I quote, “Say what you want about the man; but he was a Gaon Atzum.”

    Unfortunately, you committed a cardinal sin by even mentioning RDC’s name here.

  52. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Re RDC: “kabel et ha-emet….”

    IIRC, Prof. Brody’s conclusion was that the Rambam paskens like the Yerushalmi when it is the main sugya on the subject in question.

  53. minyan lover says:

    Can someone please define the Brisker method and why the Rambam would be relevant to the underlying premise of the precise definition and its precise origins. Also does anyone where I would be able to locate any of the Gra’s work on the Jerusalem talmud. And lastly did the Volozhin yeshiba promote the Jerusalem talmud. And one more thing can someone please expound on that R Louis Ginsberg footnote.

  54. minyan lover says:

    When I say Volozhin I mean Volozhin when the leaders based their teaching on the Gra. Also when I say Volozhin I don’t mean Telz and I certaintly don’t mean Slabodka with all due respect.

  55. JoshK says:

    >For example, anyone who closely studies Aruch ha-Shulchan sees that he regularly cites the Yerushalmi. His quotes frequently reflect that he is a regular student of the Yerushalmi with novel and fluent insights. This is not the case for the Mishnah Berurah, who never quotes the Yerushalmi except when it is quoted by others.

    I wonder if this characterization is accurate. MB rarely quotes Bavli either. Whereas ARHS demonstrates how the views of the rishonim emerge from the sugya, MB is not dealing with that. The two works are vastly different.

  56. Shlomo says:

    Still, even if not 27,000 relevant Tosafos, we’re still talking about at least 20,000, with only a couple of hundred Yerushalmi citations.

    A couple hundred quotations seems like a high number for a commentary that after all is on the Bavli, not the Yerushalmi. Does Tosfot quote anyone (besides Rashi and the baalei tosfot themselves, of course) as often as the Yerushalmi?

  57. S. says:

    >A couple hundred quotations seems like a high number for a commentary that after all is on the Bavli, not the Yerushalmi. Does Tosfot quote anyone (besides Rashi and the baalei tosfot themselves, of course) as often as the Yerushalmi?

    I guess it’s all relative, but actually I do not believe it is quoted even 200 times in 200 separate Tosafos. Many of those results occurred two or three times in a single Tosafos. So the number may be more like 150. Since Tosafos is not really “a commentary,” but rather a compilation formed over a considerable period of time, I don’t know that this is high. But I agree that this is purely subjective, and that really other Tosafos which are not printed on the daf should also be looked at.

    (Who should Tosafos quote another source so much? And it’s not really a fair comparison given the nature of individuals vs an entire Talmud. Tosafos quotes the Behag maybe 50 times; miscellaneous Geonim maybe 100 times).

  58. avi schachter says:

    Jerry wrote:

    “I don’t have an Aruch Hashulchan handy now, but does anyone remember if he quotes the Yerushalmi in his discussion of tefilin on Chol HaMoed? I know he quotes the Mechilta and the Yalkut.”

    Jerry, you always have an Aruch Hashulchan handy. It’s right here:

    http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OH

  59. anony says:

    I don’t understand R. Broyde’s points at all. It is a davar yadua that bavli is the dominant talmud – the one that is studied and mined for sources upon which to base myriads of halachic decisions. It’s nice that R. Broyde has time now to study yerushalmi. But what is his point? Everybody knows that in the development of halachic decision making, yerushalmi is of little to no consequence. A stone is a stone, don’t swear to that for it is a vain oath.

  60. JW says:

    i think the point we are missing is that the JT was not and is not studied in the major yeshivos as opposed to the BT which of course is. Many of the Seforim, particularly those of the last 200 odd years are based off of or are the result of Shiurim delivered in Yeshivos, that is why the chiddushim are for the most part confined to the BT.

    The Brisker method to focuses on reconciling Rambam with BT because that is what is being learned in Yeshiva.

    As a side question, does anyone know was the JT studied continuously throughtout jewish history as the BT was? perhaps that is why many Rishonim and Achronim pushed it to the back burner. I imagine thatis why Rabbi Liebermans work is so exhaustive as there appear to be varying texts of the JT. Please correct me if i am wrong

  61. minyan lover says:

    JW, which major yeshivas are you referring specifically and why is that a good thing. When you say brisker method which scholars are u basing this method on ?

  62. Isaac Balbin says:

    Wasn’t it Rav Kook who wrote that Bavli is Torah Hamishtameres, like a Torah that serves to keep the wheels oiled in Galus, whereas Talmud Yerushalmi is Torah Hamisbareches, the blessed eternal Torah infused with vision and a close to source spirituality? I have also heard, and I can’t confirm this because my Yerushalmi is almost non existent, that Yerushalmi is more closely aligned with Sisrei Torah/Kabolo whereas Bavli is a straight out (in exile) logical progression void of the same spiritual injection.

  63. JW says:

    Minyan lover,
    I refer to all yeshivas, which yeshivas do you know that emphasize yerushalmi.
    And when did I say it is a good thing.
    Brisker method scholars I refer to Rav chime, the griz, the Rav etc

  64. minyan lover says:

    JW, who were the major influences and or sources of inspiration for R Chaim Briskers “innovative” methods of learning and understanding the law. Did the Gra and his talmidim emphasize the importance of the Jerusalem Talmud and is this apparant in any of their halachic works.
    Did the loyal and close talmidim of the Gra emphasize the Jerusalem talmud in any of their works and or lectures at the Volozhin yeshiba.
    Lastly I never understood the concept of a hiddush if there’s nothing new under the sun.

  65. S. says:

    >Did the loyal and close talmidim of the Gra emphasize the Jerusalem talmud in any of their works

    One of the primary commentators to the Yerushalmi is R. Moshe Margolies (the Pne Moshe). It is alleged that the Gra studied with him for a few months as a child. Just some trivia.

    R. Yisrael of Shklov, one of the Gaon’s students, wrote Pe’at ha-Shulchan, a sort of supplement to the Shulchan Aruch on agricultural laws pertaining to Israel, which is therefore obviously based a lot on Yerushalmi (as there is no Bavli to Seder Zeraim). He also wrote Tiklin Chadtin on Masseches Shekalim, which only exists in the Yerushalmi, even though traditionally it was treated like an honorary Bavli tractate.

  66. Nachum says:

    Isaac Balbin, it’s well-known that the Yerushalmi mentions almost nothing about sheidim and things like that, which the Bavli is full of. It’s led to questions of how much of that stuff is Babylonian in origin.

  67. Nachum says:

    By the way, Gil, is it “Rabbi” Carmy? Berger? Leiman? Shatz? Or “Professor”? Just curious.

  68. Anonymous says:

    “Minhag Eretz Yisrael had a profound influence on minhag Ashkenaz, which, in turn, influenced the psak of many Ashkenazi Rishonim, even if they did not study Talmud Yerushalmi per se. See Ta Shma’s books for many examples.”

    DNA also leads in that direction(northern Spain and Provence and later the northern european coastal areas from Holland to the baltics probably more mixed).

  69. c y says:

    Isaac Balbin
    cf. Netziv’s introduction to one of the Ha’emeks, where he compares bavli to Yerushalmi.Y’s starting point was closer to the authentic tradition ,but the B’s give -and-take causes it to eventually arrive at an even better grasp.

  70. Shimon S says:

    BTW there is an excellent new sefer called אמרי במערבא which compares all the differences between Yerushalmi and Bavli, sugya by sugya (plus essays on general differences). Very impressive.

  71. william gewirtz says:

    see prof. ta shma’s (posthumous)fourth volume where his shloshim hesped for R. S. Lieberman is recorded. the story is about r. s. goren and r. lieberman wrt the yerushalmi. Were it published by a gedolim hagiographer it would be viewed as incredible; it happens to derive a halakha from the yerushalmi.

  72. Steve Brizel says:

    David and Yehupitz mentioned this very important Mareh Makom:

    “Thanks to Yehupitz, I found some examples of the Gra explaining Rambam this way. Here’s one:
    ביאור הגר”א אורח חיים סימן תלו סעיף א ד”ה א”צ לבדוק
    “…אבל הרמב”ם דרכו לנטות אחר הירושלמי ברוב מקומות

    Anyone who has heard a number of shiurim from RHS will invariably hear this statement of the Gra with respect to understanding statements of the Rambam.

  73. Y. Aharon says:

    I have long considered the TJ Orlah as the primary source for the centuries old Ashkenazi practice of being unconcerned about ‘chadash’ in the diaspora. The stam mishnah near the end of Orlah states, “Hechodosh asur min hatorah bechol makom”. This mishnah appears to be the primary source for all those Rishonim who insist that ‘chodosh’ pertains to the grain produced anywhere. However, the Yerushalmi explains that the mishnah follows the view of R’ Eliezer (TB Kiddushin 37a), while the Rabbanan disagree. It then traces both views to verses in the parsha of the Omer in Emor. R’ Eliezer focused on the verse at the end, “Velechem..lo tochlu ad etzem hayom hazeh (16th of Nisan)..chukat olam ledoroteichem bechol moshvoteichem” (Lev 23:14). The Rabbanan, however, focused on the verse at the beginning of parshat ha’omer, “..ki tavo’u el ha’aretz.. uketzartem et ketzira veheveitime et omer..”,i.e., the entire parshat ha’omer applies only to the grain of Israel (Lev. 23:10). Without this Yerushalmi and the rationale given for the view of those who disagree with R’ Eliezer, it would seem difficult to maintain the Ashkenazi heter. While the Ohr Zarua, one of the Ashkenazi Rishonim who are matir, interpreted a stam mishnah in TB Menachot (83b) to restrict the prohibition of ‘chadash’ to Israeli grain (cited in the Aruch Hashulchan, YD 293), that interpretation doesn’t appear to necessarily follow from the statement of the gemara there. The Bach adduces a different reason for the heter; the presumed inapplicability of the issur to the grain produced by Gentiles. However, his argument from Nach (Joshua) and TB Kid. 37b is unconvincing (The Gra rejected his argument with quite strong language). I also note that the Torah Temimah cites the above Yerushalmi in explicating the parsha.

  74. Steve Brizel says:

    Y Aharon-Have you seen the ShuT Avnei Nezer on Safek Orlah VChutz LaAretz?

  75. Y. Aharon says:

    Steve, no, I haven’t. What does he say?

  76. Steve Brizel says:

    IIRC, and other talmidim of RHS can correct me if I am wrong, the Avnei Nezer points out that because Safek Orlah BChu”L is a misnomer because there is no Safek and it is presumed to be Mutar, ala Safek Mamzer. I would be remiss if I did not point out that the Pri Megadim in Psichas HaKolleles lists many cases where a Safek in a Din based on a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai is not treated as a Safek at all because it is not based on a Pasuk.

  77. IH says:

    “IIRC, and other talmidim of RHS can correct me if I am wrong…”

    I’m curious, Steve, if you look up these various mareh mekomot you cite; or, whether you just heard about them in a shiur and then pass them on assuming they are as was stated. [For the avoidance of doubt, I am not impugning any such lecturers; but, avi mori taught me to look things up myself before quoting them to others which I try very hard to do].

  78. Steve Brizel says:

    IH-I have heard RHS mention the ShuT Avnei Nezer on Safek Orlah BChutz LaAretz, and the similar Halachos of Safek Mamzer, as well as Safekos in Hilcos Eruvin and Aveilus on many occasions.

    The Pri Megadim discusses the issue of Safek with respect to a Halacha LMoshe MiSinai in the Psicha HaKolleles. I highly recommend R Asher Eisenberger’s edition of the Psicha HaKolleles, which I bought at this year’s SOY sale, and IMO, has accomplished for the Psicha HaKolelles, what the Machon Yerushalayim edition did for the Minchas Chinuch-rendered a classical Sefer open and available to anyone who wants to learn the same.

  79. IH says:

    So, you’ve never actually looked up the mareh makom you suggested to Y Aharon yourself.

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