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)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Berachot 33 - Free Will

“Rabbi Hanina said ‘Everything is in the hand of heaven except the fear of heaven.’” This statement, (which is repeated in Megillah 25a, along with several paragraphs on this page) is a powerful acknowledgement of Free Will. We are created with certain qualities of character, but we are the prime determiners of that character. How we behave, the strength of our belief, our choice to do good or evil in the world – all is in our own hands. This human ability to choose is our most powerful personal tool and the path to finding meaning in life. Doing good would be meaningless unless we had the ability to choose evil. Approaching the High Holidays, this serves as a reminder: “Therefore Choose Life.” (Deut. 30:17)

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