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 39 - The Blessing of the Broken Piece / Peace

In our house, we love to tear the challah on Shabbat. My mother insists it is not dignified and that the challah should be sliced.

The rabbis have a different conflict.

Raba insists that for any loaf of bread, the benediction (HaMotzi) should be said first and then loaf is broken. Rabbi Hiyya ben Ashi says that the loaf should be broken as the benediction is concluded. So is the blessing concluded with a broken piece or with a whole loaf which is only subsequently broken? Some follow Raba, some follow R. Hiyya. All argue.

A compromise is described:
A Tanna [repeater of texts] recited in the presence of R. Nachman b. Isaac: One should place the broken piece under the whole loaf and then break and say the benediction. He said to him: What is your name? Shalman, he replied. He said to him: You are peace [shalom] and your Mishnah is faultless [shalem], for you have made peace between the scholars.

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