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I heard a pshat by the way on why the phrase "af al gav" and "af al pi" mean "even though.""Even though" means "you might havethought one thing, but suprisingly it's really something else." My friend told me that "af al pi" is used in the gemara when something is somewhat suprising but not so much so. This is because "af al pi" means "nose on mouth." The nose is expected to be above the mouth so that phrase is used when you want to say "even though," but you're not referring to something particularly suprising. However, "af al gav" means "nose on back." (As in the picutre in this post) Now, no one expects to find someone's nose on their back, so that refers to the type of "even though" when it really does refer to something quite suprising. I heard this pshat from my friend. If you can test this out in gemaras you may be learning, let me know how it goes!-Dixie Yid
I appreciate your trying to give a solution to this--wish I knew the answer. I think af al gav is a "Palestinian" expression (as in y'rushalmi) and af al pi is Babylonian (bavli). Later on they are used interchangeably. Not sure which is older. But maybe I'm wrong.
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