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 11, 2012

Berachot 41 – Hierarchy of the Meal

Over which item in a meal is the blessing said? Some organize by what is considered the “main item” some - as the Rabbis prefer - by what is the individual’s favorite. 

R. Judah declares that those which fall on the Torah’s list of foods in the land of Israel take precedence:
 A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil, and [date] honey. (Deut. 8:8)

But what if you have two foods from the list? R. Joseph (some say. R. Isaac) the order of the verse matters – those earlier on the list takes precedence.(R. Hamnuna says that they are actually two lists of equal value, both starting with “a land.” Thus wheat & olives would be equal, barley and dates second, but equal to each other).

R. Hiyya said: [A blessing said over] bread suffices for all kinds of food [at the meal] and a blessing said over wine for all kinds of drink.

“Rock-Paper-Scissors” for food? Bread wins every time.

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