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Fascinating Insights—The Sefer (in English)
The Gemara at times comments חסורי מיחסרא והכי קתני,
the text of the Mishna is deficient and this is what it should say. Why was it
written this way? Why didn’t the Tanna just express it explicitly?
1) The Gemara
says teachings that were given orally are not permitted to be transmitted in
writing. That which we are permitted to do so nowadays is because of עת לעשות ה' הפרו תורתך, it is a time to act for Hashem, they have voided Your Torah.
Therefore it’s only permitted to write down the Mishna in an extremely
restrictive way—just in order to grasp the Halacha and not more. So where we
can learn a Halacha through חסורי מיחסרא, we are not allowed to explain it more.
2) The Tiferes Yisrael
explains throughניגון one
can remember the Mishnayos better.
Songs were arranged according to the words and sections of the Mishna. So, the
Tanna of the Mishna chose a certain word over others at times in order to fit
the song for that Mishna. This explains why sometimes it seems there are extra
words in a Mishna as in זו ואין צריך לומר זו, that which was
unnecessary was also taught.
This explains the meaning behind חסורי מיחסרא והכי
3) The Gemara says when one
departs from his friend he should do so with a דבר הלכה, discussion of a matter
When the Gra would depart he would say יחיד
ורבים הלכה כרבים,
in a dispute between an individual and a majority the Halacha accords with the
majority. This contains the initials יוהך—the Malach that watches
over someone when he sets out on the road.
חסורי מיחסרא that although it is lacking but והכי קתני—it still has to be read
that way. This is because it is written precisely in order to bring out all סודות, secrets of Torah.
4) Rabbeinu Bachaye
explains חסורי מיחסרא והכי קתני that it is not that the Mishna is lacking. Rather to us it’s
missing because we are lacking the intellect as we can’t reach the depth of
wisdom of those from the time of the Mishna.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander
Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia
Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and
publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim
where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching
Jews of all levels of observance.