“אם תלמיד חכם הוא אין צריך”: Who Said It? [Talmud Tuesday]
At the bottom of page 4b and continuing on to the top of page 5a in the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Berakhot, we have the following:
אמר רב נחמן אם תלמיד חכם הוא אין צריך
Rav Nahman said: “If one is a scholar, one need not [read the Shema] while going to sleep.”
I first came across this text while putting together an article1 years ago and, somehow, noticed that the name was not the same in the manuscripts. While I must have noticed it following its publication, since I left it in,2 it has still interested me in how easy of a mistake it was.
In the printed editions, the person identified as making this statement is רב נחמן found on the bottom of page 4b, with the statement, itself, is found on the top of page 5a. However, in the manuscripts (Florence II-I-7, Oxford Opp. Add. fol. 23, Munich 95, Paris 671),3 it is רב נחמן בר יצחק – a separate rabbi, who lived a little later in the fourth century from רב נחמן. And, it seems that this is the correct version, as Rabbi Raphael Nathan Rabinovitch writes.4
How this error came about seems quite easy: when the first printed edition of the Babylonian Talmud came out in 1484 by Soncino and the name came out on the bottom of the page, it didn’t seem as if anything was missing when they printed the statement at the top of the next page. And, it would seem, this version carried on for future printings, such as the late 19th century edition printed in Vilna.
1. “Rabbinic Sleep Ethics: Jewish Sleep Conduct in Late Antiquity”, Milin Havivin 2 (2006): 83-93.
2. This particular text is found referenced on p. 85.↩
3. I used The Saul Lieberman Institute of Talmudic Research, version 5 CD↩
4.See his first volume of דקדוקי סופרים on Tractate Berakhot 11-12, n. 70: וצ”ל א”ר נחמן בר יצחק וכ”ה בבה”ג וברי”ף וברא”ש ובאו”ז הל’ ק”ש סי’ א’ וסי’ ג’ ובשו”ת הרשב”ש ס’ קע”ד ובמנוה”מ נר ג’ כלל ג’ ת”ח פ”ז↩