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 28, 2012

Shabbat 25 - Wealth

Shabbat is a time when one is to feel wealthy and honored and satisfied.

"Rab Judah said in Rab's name: This was the practice of R. Judah b. Il'ai: On the eve of the Sabbath a basin filled with hot water was brought to him, and he washed his face, hands, and feet, and he wrapped himself and sat in fringed linen robes, and was like an angel of the Lord of Hosts."

But what if one's financial circumstances weigh heavily? The Rabbi's quote Lamentations (3:17) "And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace; I forgot prosperity." Intimating 'is your life really as bad as those who witnessed the destruction and experienced exile?'

Or put it in the positive: "Our Rabbis taught: Who is wealthy? He who has pleasure in his wealth" (Avot 4,1). In other words "wealth" is not an absolute status - one can always chase after more and more - and continue to be unhappy. "Wealth" is a subjective state of being satisfied with what you have.

At least on Shabbat - it is good to pay attention to what one has rather than what one lacks.

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