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, September 9, 2012

Berachot 37 – The Tense of (Ha) Motzi

One thing that makes my daughter crazy, being a good grammarian, is when someone refers to “The HaMotzi” as the blessing before bread. Ha – of course, is a prefix meaning “the” – making the reality of the statement “The the Motzi.”

Or maybe it doesn't.

Rabbi Nachman argues, against the Rabbis that the blessing should be “. . .Motzi Lechem min haAretz.” (“Bringing forth bread from the earth.”) Because, he argues, HaMotzi means “is bringing forth” based on Exodus  6:7 “. . .and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who is bringing [ha-mozi] you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” No, the Rabbis counter, HaMotzi means “brought forth” as in Deut. 8:15 “who brought [ha-mozi] you water out of the rock of flint.” Besides, the Rabbis continue, what G-d means in Exodus 6:7 is “When I will bring you out, I will show you something which will prove that is was me who brought [ha-mozi] you out.”

Is HaMotzi past, present or future? Is G-d?

At least we know: grammar matters! You're welcome.

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