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)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Berachot 27 - Rebellion!

By stating, as the Mishnah does, that the evening prayer has no time limit as to how late it can be said, it is the equivalent of saying that the evening prayer is optional. So is it? This question becomes the crux of a rebellion and leads to the public deposing of the head of the Sanhedrin!

Rabbi Gamliel, who is head, of the Academy is publicly challenged by Rabbi Joshua on this point of law. This follows two previous times in which Gamliel asserts his authority over Joshua and publicly humiliates him. Using metaphors of the gladiators (and this seems to be as popular entertainment as the games), the crowd calls for Gamliel to be deposed. But they do not want Joshua to take his place, because that would just perpetuate the conflict. Nor do they want to nominate R. Akiba because he "has no ancestral merit." R. Eleazar b. Azariah is nominated as successor. He is described as wise (a necessary condition) and rich (important in paying the tribute to Caesar) and the tenth in descent from Ezra. (good ancestry). Will he accept? After all, he is only 18 years old! More tomorrow. . . .

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