Niddah 37 - Rav Assi Excommunicates Shila bar Avina

niddah/niddah36.html">Earlier we learned that if a woman bleeds while giving birth, and that happens not in the seven days when she can become a niddah , but during the following eleven days when she can become a zavah , her blood does not make her ritually impure.

However, Rav, Shmuel, and Rav Itzchak disagree on the additional limitations in the case when her labor stopped. According to Rav, she would be forbidden to her husband for that one day only. Shmuel says that she needs to observe another day free of discharge, while Rav Itzchak's opinion is that she is permitted to her husband even the same day.

Shila bar Avina ruled like Rav in an actual case. When Rav was dying, he said to Rav Assi, "Go and supress the ruling of Shila. I changed my mind and agree with Rav Itzchak: she need not wait at all. If Shila does not listen, persuade him by logic (garei). " However, Rav Assi thought that Rav told him to excommunicate Shila (gadiei) if he does not listen. When Rav passed away, Rav Assi said to Shila, "Retract your opinion, because Rav changed his." Shila answered, "If Rav really retracted, he would have told me himself." Rav Assi excommunicated Shila.

Shila said to Rav Assi, "Aren't you afraid of a wrong-doing?" Rav Assi answered, "I am like a copper mortar (assisa) that is not subject to decay. Shila said, "I am analagous to an iron pestle that cracks a copper mortar."

Rav Assi became sick, going from heat to cold and back, and ultimately passed away. Shila said to his wife, "Prepare burial shrouds for me, as I must leave the world along with Rav Assi, so that he should not go to Rav alone and tell him derogatory things about me," then he too passed away. At the burial, the biers of the two scholars were side by side, and people saw myrtle branch fly back and forth from one bier to the other, and said, "We see that the Sages made a reconciliation."

Art: John Ruskin - Study of a Sprig of a Myrtle Tree