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, September 4, 2012

Berachot 34 - Imposed Humility

Prayer choreography: during the “Amidah” prayer, one is instructed to bow at the beginning and end of the “Avot” (Patriarchs – we add Matriarchs]) and the “Hodaha” (Thanksgiving). That’s it – if you want to bow more often, you are instructed not to. However, according to Rabbi Joshua ben Levi, a Kohen bows at the end of each benediction. A king bows at the end and the beginning of each benediction.

The principle seems to be: the greater the position the more the person is humbled in prayer. I like this idea of imposing increasing humility – not professing it, but actually doing something physical which demonstrates it. Everyone is humble before G-d - some need it more than others.

A person without humility is described as a “dish without salt.” But someone who over-states their humility is compared to a dish which is over-salted. Even in our humility, we need to be properly seasoned!

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