Sunday, December 3, 2017

The 13 Middos used to expound the Torah

Every day we say the ברייתא of R' Yishmael which lists off the 13 middos used to expound the Torah. These are the fundamental tools that Chazal use to derive halachos from the written Torah. In essence these are the basis of the oral torah.  Given that, you would think that everyone would agree on what these 13 middos are. However, there is a fundamental dispute among the Tannaim about the 13 middos.

R' Yishmael has

  1. כלל ופרט
  2. פרט וכלל
  3. כלל ופרט וכלל
As 3 of the 13 middos. R' Akiva on the other hand replaced these 3 with 3 different middos
  1. ריבוי ומיעוט
  2. מיעוט וריבוי
  3. ריבוי מיעוט וריבוי
The Rishonim and Acharonim point out that these are mutually exclusive. You either use 1 set or the other with very different results.

The obvious question is how can this be? The 13 Middos were given to Moshe to use to expound the written torah. How can there be a fundamental dispute about what they are? You can't answer אלו ואלו דברי אלוקים חיים because they are mutually exclusive. What happened to the mesora? How can there be a dispute about such a fundamental issue?

1 comment:

  1. It is not just an Israel problem. The same shtick is played out in USA. And in USA, the Federal and State Governments give free handouts to religious institutions. Many religious people may not eat chazir, but have no problem being chazirem.