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)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Shabbat 26 - What Are They Doing?

Have to quote this exchange:

"R. Tarfon said: 'One may light [the Sabbat lamp] only with olive oil.' Thereupon R. Johanan b. Nuri rose to his feet and exclaimed, 'What shall the Babylonians do, who have only sesame oil? And what shall the Medeans do, who have only nut oil? And what shall the Alexandrians do, who have only radish oil? And what shall the people of Cappadocia do, who have neither the one nor the other, save naphtha?'"

There is a rabbinic principle to 'go and see' what the people are doing. That is, to be aware of the real-world effects of legal rulings. It is easy to get caught up in the world of the academy, but Judaism is to be lived! As we read: v'chai bahem - "that you may live by them (the laws)."

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