Megillah, Daf Yod, Part 2



Today’s section continues searching for a tannaitic debate about whether when Jerusalem was sanctified that sanctification would last forever. A positive answer to this question would mean that even after the destruction it would be forbidden to offer sacrifices elsewhere.


אלא, כי הני תנאי. דתניא, אמר רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי: למה מנו חכמים את אלו? שכשעלו בני הגולה מצאו את אלו וקידשום, אבל הראשונותבטלו משבטלה הארץ. אלמא קסבר: קדושה ראשונה קידשה לשעתה ולא קידשה לעתיד לבוא.


Rather it follows the following Tannaim: R. Ishmael son of R. Yose said: Why did the Sages list these? Because when the exiles returned they found these cities [still walled] and sanctified them; the others were annulled when the land’s [sanctity] was annulled.

Thus he holds that the first holiness sanctified it for its time but not for the future.


This baraita is taken from Tractate Arakhin and refers to redeeming houses in walled cities (the owner has only a year in which to redeem them). The mishnah lists cities that were walled at the time of Joshua. But there were other such cities, leading to the question of why only these cities were listed. R. Yishmael son of R. Yose answers that when the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile these were the only walled cities still remaining. They then sanctified these cities, for the other city’s holiness was annulled when the Temple was destroyed. This shows that he holds that when Jerusalem was first sanctified, its holiness was not forever.


ורמינהו, אמר רבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי: וכי אלו בלבד היו? והלא כבר נאמר +דברים ג‘+ ששים עיר כל חבל ארגב, וכתיב +דברים ג‘+ כל אלה ערים בצרת חומה גבהה, אלא למה מנו חכמים את אלו? שכשעלו בני הגולה מצאו אלו וקידשום.

קידשום? השתא [הא] אמרי לא צריכא לקדושי!

אלא: מצאו את אלו ומנאום.

ולא אלו בלבד, אלא כל שתעלה לך מסורת בידך מאבותיך שמוקפת חומה מימות יהושע בן נוןכל המצות הללו נוהגין בה, מפני שקדושה ראשונהקידשה לשעתה וקידשה לעתיד לבא.


And they raised a contradiction with the following: R. Ishmael son of R. Yose said: Were these all? Has it not already been said, "Sixty cities, all the region of Argob", And it is written, "All these were fortified cities with high walls" (Deuteronomy 3:4-5)? Why then did the Sages list these? Because when the exiles returned, they found these [still walled] and sanctified them.

They sanctified them! Now did we not say that they did not need to be sanctified?!

Rather: they found these and listed them.

And not only these alone, but with regard to any in which you find a tradition from your ancestors that it was walled from the days of Joshua son of Nun, all these mitzvot are to be observed, because the first holiness was conferred for the time being and for all future time.


In this baraita the same tanna, R. Ishmael son of R. Yose contradicts himself. In the beginning of the baraita he seems to say the same thing he said above when the exiles returned they sanctified these cities. But later in the baraita he clearly says that they didn’t need to sanctify them, because the original holiness never left them. If there is a tradition about a city that it was walled in the time of Joshua, then it continues to be treated as a walled city forever.


קשיא דרבי ישמעאל אדרבי ישמעאל!

תרי תנאי אליבא דרבי ישמעאל ברבי יוסי.


There is thus a contradiction between the two statements of R. Ishmael!

Two Tannaim report R. Ishmael son of R. Jose differently.


There is an obvious contradiction in the two baraitot between the two versions of the opinion of R. Ishmael. The first resolution is to simply say that they do indeed contradict and that different "tannaim" had a different impression about what R. Ishmael said. Note that in this source "tannaim" means "reciters." These are the professional memorizers who recorded and transmitted the talmudic tradition.


ואיבעית אימא: הארבי אלעזר בר יוסי אמרה. דתניא, רבי אלעזר ברבי יוסי אמר: +ויקרא כ"ה+ אשר לוא חמהאף על פי שאין לו עכשיו והיה לו קודם לכן.


Or if you like, I can say that the latter is from R. Elazar b. Yose, as it has been taught: R. Eleazar b. Yose says: "That has [no] wall" (Leviticus 25:30) even though it does not have one now, but it had in previous times.


The second resolution is to ascribe the second baraita to a different sage R. Elazar son of R. Yose. This sage holds that the original sanctity given to the land is forever. Thus even if the city no longer has a wall, it is forever treated as a walled city.