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)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Berachot 52 – More Shabbat

The differences between the two major rabbinic schools of the First Century CE, Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai, erupt on this page. Hillel rulings are generally more accommodating, while Shammai are more restrictive. This is why Hille rulings are usually the ones accepted as final.

However, there is some argument that a controversy on this page may have the two schools reversing their usual roles. This produces such consternation that the assumption is they are mis-ascribed!

One discussion, however, is about the order of the Havdalah prayers, when incorporated with the grace after meals. Shammai’s order makes the whole thing longer. But, they have a reason:

Beth Shammai holds that the entrance of a [holy] day is different from its exit. At its entrance, the earlier we can make it, the better. But at its exit, the longer we can defer it the better - so that it should not seem to be a burden on us.

Who doesn’t want to make a holiday last longer! More Shabbat, anyone?

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