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 5, 2012

Berachot 4 - Willing to Say "I Don't Know"

note: I am not holding myself to a literal 140 character "tweet" in this blog - but I am trying to focus a small light on only one remark per Talmud page (folio page, meaning two sides of one page, thus the a and b designation). But there are two delicious comments here I could not resist.

1) in Exodus 11:4 Moses says the Angel of Death will start attacking the Egyptian first born "around midnight." Why not a precise time? Moses knew exactly when midnight would come, but he was afraid that the Egyptian astrologers would make a mistake about when midnight struck and then they would call him a liar. The lesson is: one should always be ready to say "I don't know." (In my experience, one of the hardest phrases!)

2) A ranking of the top angels based on their stamina: "Michael reaches his goal in one flight (without resting), Gabriel in two, Elijah in four, and the Angel of Death in eight. In times of plague, however, the Angel of Death reaches his goal in one."

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