Bavli or Yerushalmi?

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By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

We learn about the chashivus of Eretz Yisroel in this week’s Parsha since mitzvos that can only be done in Eretz Yisroel are discussed.

The Gemara in Bava Basradaf kuf nun ches, amud alef speaks about an argument between Reb Ila and Reb Zeira. After Reb Zeira went up to Eretz Yisroel, the Amoraim in Bavel paskened like Reb Ila; however, Rabba paskened like Reb Zeira. As a result of Rabba paskening like Reb Zeira, Reb Zeira commented that we see from this that the air of Eretz Yisroel makes one smart. The Rashbam explains that upon arriving in Eretz Yisroel, Reb Zeira worked very hard to forget all the learning he did in Bavel so he could re-learn everything in Eretz Yisroel. The Yaavetz says that as a result of this Gemara, one may learn in Eretz Yisroel without a chavrusa, while one is not allowed to do so in Chutz Le’Aretz.

The Milchamos in Meseches Rosh Hashana, perek gimmel writes that when there is an argument between an Amora of Eretz Yisroel against an Amora of Bavel, we pasken like the Amora of Eretz Yisroel since “Avira D’eretz Yisroel Machkim.” Tosfos in Sanhedrin, daf heh, amud bais quotes Rabbeinu Tam in regard to “issur ve’hetter,” that the people of Eretz Yisroel are smarter, since the “avir” makes them smart and the people of Chutz Le’Aretz are subordinate to them.

In contrast, we see a Tosfos in Brachos, daf lamed tes, amud alef and Sukka, daf chof vov, amud bais that when there is a machlokes between Bavli and Yerushalmi, we pasken like the Bavli and not the Yerushalmi. The Shailos Ut’shuvos Maharik in siman peh daled and in siman tzaddik alef asks the obvious question. How could we pasken like the Bavli if the avir of Eretz Yisroel makes one wiser? To strengthen this question, we see in the Gemara in Kesubos, daf ayin heh, amud alef it says that one person in Eretz Yisroel is the equivalent of two in Bavel.

The Maharik answers that since the Talmid Bavli was written later than the Talmid Yerushalmi we pasken like the Bavli. Had the people in Bavel felt that the Gemara that the Yerushalmi brings down is accurate, they never would have written the Bavli. Therefore, we have a rule in psak that we follow the “basraa” (the later psak) since the later psak heard the previous psak and still felt that he needs to argue; whereas the first psak never heard the later psak, and it could very well be that had he heard the later psak, he would change his mind.

So why did Reb Zeira daven that he should forget his learning from Bavel? Initially, there was a lot of strife in Bavel and the majority of Bais Din and Sanhedrin were still in Eretz Yisroel, so full clarity was lacking in Bavel. However, during the days of Ravina and Rav Ashi, who composed Talmud Bavli, Bavel was at peace and Eretz Yisroel was mostly destroyed. At that point in time there were no Bais Din and Sanhedrin in Eretz Yisroel, so the psak goes like Bavli.

Let us hope we are zocheh to Moshiach and all psak will come out of Eretz Yisroel whose “avir” makes one wiser.

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