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)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Berachot 9 - The Color Blue

The Mishnah on this page states that the earliest time one can recite the morning prayers is when you can distinguish the color blue from white. The word for blue here is t'chelet which is a specific color dye the making of which was lost. A single thread of t'chelet is supposed to be in the tzitzit - the fringes of the tallit. But because the specific color was lost, the rabbis ordained that it should be white like the other threads. Today you can buy t'chelet - but I have always remained suspicious: the color of these threads sold is a dark blue, easily distinguished from white even in very low light! T'chelet must have been a very light blue. Blue is not blue is not blue, it's all about shades. I knew my lighting design past would come in handy one day!

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