Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Daf Yomi Megillah 28b: How Ulla Shows that Yerushalmi Seder Kodoshim is a Forgery

Why in the world am I obsessed with Ulla? In truth, I am not. I wanted to make a post involving Ulla, and while I was preparing it, I happened to see the Wikipedia entry, and felt compelled to make a response. This is not the Ulla post I want to make, but here it is nonetheless.

There was a famous forgery of Talmud Yerushalmi, in which someone claimed to have discovered the Yerushalmi for the order of Kodoshim. It was disproved in various ways (see this post at On the Main Line). The question still exists whether such a seder ever existed. Right now, we lack seder Kodoshim and Taharot. But perhaps they once existed?

Here is some evidence that they never existed. In previous posts, I mentioned that Ulla was an Amora from Eretz Yisrael, and bore many Eretz Yisrael statements and traditions into Bavel. We will soon encounter one such statement in Daf Yomi:

Citing from my translation of Rif on Megillah 28b (not yet published):
תנן ההם ודאישתמש בתגא חלף
א"ר שמעון בן לקיש זה שמשתמש במי ששונה הלכות דאמר עולא לישתמש איניש במאן דתני ארבעה ולא ישתמיש איניש במאן דמתני ארבעה
פירוש דתאני ארבעה מי ששונה ארבעה סדרי משנה ופירוש דמתני מי שגמר תלמוד ארבעה סידרי:

They learned {tnan - in a Mishna in Pirkei Avot} there: "And one who makes use of the crown {of Torah} will perish"
Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: This is one who makes use of one who learns "halachot." For Ulla said:

One should make use of one who is tani four and not one who is matni four.
The explanation of "one who is tani four" = one who learns the four orders of Mishna, and the explanation of "one who teaches four" = one who learns {gamar} the Talmud of the four orders.
{The typical understanding is "one who learns" vs. "one who teaches."}
According to this explanation of the Rif, the difference between tani and matni is one who learns Mishna vs. one who learns gemara. And he only speaks of learning the 4 orders of Mishna vs. the 4 orders of gemara! Presumably, the other two orders existed for Mishna but not gemara, which is why they were mentioned. Since he speaks of 4 orders rather than 6 (or 5, given the dearth of material in Bavli Zeraim), he reflects the Eretz Yisrael tradition, as we would expect. And thus we see that even then, in the Amoraic period, there was no Talmud Yerushalmi on Kodoshim or Taharot.

A grammatical point. Rif adds an aleph when he reiterates tani, showing that this is how he read it. An aleph shows that he read it with a kametz.

Perhaps Rif is incorrect in his understanding of this and it is the more typical explanation of "learn" vs. "teach." {Update: However, from reading the continuation of the gemara, Rif seems correct.} Even so, Ulla only spoke of 4 orders, and Ulla was from Eretz Yisrael. I think this is no accident. Whether he means learning vs. teaching the mishnayot or learning vs. teaching the gemara, he only refers to four.


Josh M. said...

According to an article by RYGB on the forged Seder Kodshim, the Rambam explicitly says in PihM that we have (had) Yerushalmi on 5 sedarim.

joshwaxman said...

well, we kind of technically do, because we have Yerushalmi on Nidda (or at least some prakim of it), but not for the rest of taharot. In my accounting of this, I was assuming Ullah was not counting Niddah as a seder in and of itself. Does Rambam say that the rest of of taharot exists, or existed, or is it a general statement of such? Does he list which sedarim?

Thanks for bringing this point to my attention. I'll see what I can find about this.


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