[Avodah] Daf Yomi Aggada interpretation question

Arie Folger arie.folger at gmail.com
Mon Jul 5 02:09:05 PDT 2021

Dear Chaverim,

On Yoma 83b the story is told of Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Yosi
who were traveling, stayed at an inn whose owner was called Kidor, and
while Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Yehuda were unsuspecting, Rabbi Meir suspected
the owner of being up to no good. Unlike his two compagnons, Rabbi Meir
abstained for giving his purse to the innkeeper for safeguarding during
Shabbat, and instead buried it at the head of the innkeeper's father's
grave. On Shabbat morning the innkeeper told the Tannaim about a funny
dream he had had, to go and check his father's grave, whereupon Rabbi Meir
told him not to put too much stock in dreams at twilight, and for good
measure spent the rest of Shabbat at the grave guarding his own purse.

Motzaei Shabbat the innkeeper pretended never to have received anything for
safeguarding from Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi YOsi, but by plying him with wine,
they found a way to pretend before the innkeeper's wife that he had sent
them to pick up their purses, and the plan worked. It seems that as a
result, the couple got into a terrible fight, as he ended up killing his

On a certain level, the story is distressing, as the wife did the right
thing (though not necessarily wanting to), and yet she dies while her
husband remains alive. I don't consider this a big difficulty, as I can
readily imagine her being a willing participant in his schemes, and they
simply got into a fight, as criminals eventually do, with disastrous
consequences. However, it is also perfectly possible that just the opposite
happened, that the wife very much wanted to return the stolen goods, and
wanted her husband to let her, and yet, though she may have been initially
relieved, she ended up dead. We don't know and for moral reasons, I find
the first interpretation more appealing.

However, I have a more profound question. Here, Rabbi Meir hears the
innkeeper report about a kind of prophetic dream. at the end of Horayot,
Rabbi Meir, having failed at a putsch against Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel,
has a dream that she should apologize, and he doesn't, saying ein chalom
belo devarim beteilim. Yet here Rabbi Meir is faced with the
incontrovertible fact that dreams may convey truth. Is our story from after
Horayot and is it a chding of Rabbi Meir?

If so, it is entirely possible that the story never happened and is being
told vy Chazal to be meramez very gently a critique of Rabbi Meir (who we
do not want to criticize more directly, so great is his stature), or that
the story did happen and HKBH made it happen in such a way so as to let
Rabbi Meir know that he had been wrong that one time in Horayot to claim
ein chalom belo devarim beteilim, or that the story did happen, but was
later stylized and embellished for the reason I gave in the first

I see no hashkafic problems with either of the three approaches, and all
three seem sound to me. So I wonder, do any of you know of mefarshim that
link this story with the story at the end of Horayot? Do they discuss the
possible meaning of this linkage?
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Yours sincerely,

Arie Folger
Visit my blog at http://rabbifolger.net/

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