In Eiruvin, Daf 63a the Gemara goes to great lengths to talk about the respect a student must have for his teacher. The story of slaughterer’s knife, and how many Rabbis’ were affected by that. We are left with the story of Rabbi Elazar from Hagronya who inspected the knife, but he was later punished at the hand of Heaven for disregarding the honor of the senior rabbi.
There’s the ominous warning of Rabbi Eliezer, he had a certain disciple who issued a halakhic ruling in his presence. Rabbi Eliezer said to his wife, Imma Shalom: I will be surprised if this one completes his year, i.e., if he lives until the end of the year. And so it was, he did not complete his year.
Rabbi Eliezer makes it clear he believes anyone who issues a halakhic ruling in his teacher’s presence is liable to receive the death penalty. The Gemara goes even further and outs the student as Yehuda ben Gurya.
Forward to today Eiruvin, Daf 74b. The Gemara tells us “And Shmuel said: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Shimon…” Whatever it is, what we know is that Rabbi Shimon is lenient in each and every issue.
It further states, “Rav Beruna sat and recited this halakha stated by Shmuel, that an alleyway containing one house and one courtyard can be rendered permitted for carrying by means of a side post or a cross beam.” Okay easy peasy. But here we go. Rabbi Elazar, a student of a Torah academy, questions the authority of Rav Beruna. “Did Shmuel really say this?” Wow a student being impertinent. He goes two steps further, he grandstands and askes to see Shmuel’s lodging, and goes to his house to confront Shmuel himself. Not satisfied when Shmuel says he did say that. He brings up a different Mishna where Shmuel, said we need to follow the wording of the Mishna. It is Rabbi Elazar who makes the assumption that differs from Shmuel. Shmuel doesn’t answer him basically closing the door on him.
After Shmuel’s death his student Rav Anan bar Rav goes and threw the side post down, ruining the eiruv of Ivut bar Ihi who’s eiruv was approved by Shmuel. That shows respect for a teacher doesn’t it.
What was it that drive Rabbi Elazar and Rav Anan and that the Gemara does nothing to discipline them, even creates a scenario to justify their actions? It’s the same issue we have today. Both Rabbi Elazar and Rav Anan are trying to out-frum each other. And in doing so, ruin Ivut bar Ihi’s eiruv. Why is it that when it comes to religion gives people the right to act out that their way is the right way? The more I learn the Daf the more I see pettiness that all commentators chose to ignore. Where is the justice for Shmuel, and for Ivut bar Ihi.