What is Talmud Tweets?

What is Talmud Tweets? A short, personal take on a page of Talmud - every day!

For several years now, I have been following the tradition of "Daf Yomi" - reading a set page of Talmud daily. With the start of a new 7 1/2 year cycle, I thought I would share a taste of what the Talmud offers, with a bit of personal commentary included. The idea is not to give a scholarly explanation. Rather, it is for those new to Talmud to give a little taste - a tweet, as it were - of the richness of this text and dialogue it contains. The Talmud is a window into a style of thinking as well as the world as it changed over the centuries of its compilation.

These are not literal "tweets" - I don't limit myself to 140 characters. Rather, these are intended to be short, quick takes - focusing in on one part of a much richer discussion. Hopefully, I will pique your interest. As Hillel says: "Go and study it!" (Shabbat 31a)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Berachot 15 - 'Hear', O Israel

"R. Judah said in the name of R. Eleazar b. Azariah: One who recites the Shema’ must let his ear hear what he says, as it says, ‘Hear, O Israel’." In other words, the Sh'ma must be said audibly to oneself to be valid (an exception is made for someone who is deaf).

But "Said R. Meir to him: ‘Which I command thee this day upon thy heart’, indicating that the words derive their validity from the attention of the heart."

Is it hearing or is it intention? Words or thought? Recital or attention?

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