The Rami bar Hama narrative of Zevahim 96b: a contextual analysis

Shira Shmidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines a halakhic story (Zevahim 96b) in which Rami BarHama dialogues with his student regarding the obligation to scour andrinse Temple vessels. Previous research addressed this story in isolation,without considering the relationship between the story and itssurrounding halakhic context. This article demonstrates an overarchingstructure unifying the story and the surrounding sugyot. Specifically, theyare united by an underlying tension between two styles of learning: theapproach that places primacy upon traditions found in Tannaitic sourcesand Amoraic dicta, and the approach that prioritizes the a priorireasoning of the Stam. The story amplifies this tension and brings it tothe attention of the reader. Additionally, reading this story in that contextcontributes to the current discussion of the relationship of the Stam toearlier traditions. It gives expression to a previously unacknowledgedvoice in the Babylonian Talmud that champions the authority of traditionover sevara. On the backdrop of a surrounding culture that places highvalue on logical acumen and dialectics, this voice self-critically opposesthese trends from within.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-86
Number of pages34
JournalOqimta; Studies in Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature
StatePublished - 2022

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Rami bar Hama
  • Talmud Bavli -- Criticism, Narrative
  • Talmud Bavli -- Zevahim -- 96b -- Commentaries


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