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)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Berachot 24 - Female Exposure

As an aside, there is a brief enumeration of some of the ways that woman’s physical exposure constitutes sexual excitement. A woman’s leg, a woman’s voice, a woman’s hair, all these have led to restrictions – covering up - in traditional Judaism. The principle of tzinut or “modesty” has seen women fully cover their limbs, hide their hair under shawls or wigs, and temper their voices (the last being among the reasons that women were excluded from being Cantors until the 20th century).

What is usually left out of these discussions, though, is the fact that the text places the emphasis on the one who “gazes” (presumably the man). “If one gazes at the little finger of a woman, it is as if he gazed at her secret place.” The man is presumed to have the responsibility to control himself. Leering is the problem, not exposure.

Except for the married man, when he sees his wife. Presumably that kind of arousal is not a bad thing!

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