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, October 21, 2012

Shabbat 18 – Resting Crockpots

The Mishnah discusses a variety of actions which should not be begun on Friday’s unless they can be completed by Shabbat. These include drying flax or wool, setting traps for wild animals. Not surprisingly, Hillel and Shammai disagree on some specifics. For example, Shammai forbids one to sell to a Gentile or help load their wares unless the Gentile can reach a home before Shabbat. Hillel disagrees.

The Talmud commentary discusses a number of foods which can or cannot be prepared before Shabbat and left cooking. We are all familiar with the crockpot – I remember chulent being prepared Friday afternoon and cooking all Shabbat morning, so we could have a hot meal when we came home from the synagogue. Hillel and Shammai differ on some of the specifics, with the argument being that cookware is supposed to rest on Shabbat as well!

My warm memories are glad Hillel won that argument.

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