Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Am Ha'aratz - Bava Batra 8

Written 08-29-2009

While giving today's Daf it was apparent that "Rebbe" - Rabbi Yehuda Hannasi had a strong distaste for the "Am Ha'aretz". Essentially he seemed to blame all the calamities upon "them".

One story deals with a [apparently Roman] tax upon Teverya. Rebbe exempted the chachamim, there and the "amei ha'aretz" protested to include the scholars in the tax. They threatened to leave and Rebbe ignored their ultimatum and half left. The tax was halved... Eventually all amei ha'aretz left leaving only chachamim and the tax was rescinded.

Apparently the turn of events confirmed Rebbe's suspicions re; the evil of the am ha'aretz.

Yet we can read between the lines and make a Brisker Hilluq.

I.E. 2 kinds of am Ha'aretz, one explicit one inferred

What kind of am ha'aretz lived in Teverya? The kind that protested giving the scholars a tax break.

Thus we can infer a different kind of am ha'aretz, the one that would stand up FOR the scholars and would volunteer to exempt scholars from taxes. That upstanding am ha'aretz might be a different breed.

And perhaps only the former was the object of scorn while the latter would have been accepted or even respected.

Shana Tova


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