Audio Roundup 2023:12

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by Joel Rich

Comment to a magid shiur:
I’ve often said what you said at the beginning about. “Chazal” being of more than one mind on an issue (especially hashkafically) , but that generally seems to be the absolutely last answer anybody wants to give. Have you seen any sources discussing this in any detail?

Talmudic Arguments: The Use of Insults, Reprimands, Rebukes and Curses as Part of the Disputation Process-Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D

Punchline: Regardless of the reason a sage chose to incorporate heavy language, as long as no embarrassment or intently personal attacks are found, it can be used. This rule is not limited to ancient Babylonia, but it is true to any society where dispute carries
with it, in a healthy manner, the element of verbal jabs and attacks…But
do so with caution, because even Rav Huna and Rav Hisda let the debate become personal, and even Hashem [God] regrets, as it were, knocking someone else down (Dratch, 2014).It is clear that some insults in the Talmud caused serious problems and did not end well. In particular, the dispute between Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish where the former said:
“A robber understands the tools of his trade.”
The story of Abdan and Yishmael b. Yosi also had a disastrous conclusion. These stories demonstrate that even sages have to be careful when using sarcasm, insults, and derision as a tool to enhance the disputation process.


Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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