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)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Berachot 43 - Smells Good

Evidently, it was a custom to burn incense at the end of some meals. A discussion ensues about the blessings for various scents, based on their source. Why?

"R. Zutra b. Tobiah said in the name of Rab: Whence do we learn that a blessing should be said over sweet odors? Because it says, 'Let every soul (neshama, lit. breath) praise the Lord.' (Ps. 150:6) What is that which gives enjoyment to the soul and not to the body? — You must say that this is fragrant smell."

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