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 8, 2012

Shabbat 5 – The Invention of Basketball

According to all the websites, the game of Basketball was invented by a Canadian physical education instructor in 1891 by a gentleman by the name of James Naismith (1861-1939).

Not so, my friends.

This page of Talmud continues the analysis of various kinds of throwing an object on Shabbat between Public and Private spaces. For example, if one catches this object: if the catches stays in one place, then the thrower is liable. However, if the catcher moves from his place to catch it, then the thrower is exempt. Again, intention – the catcher has to demonstrate that it was not accidental.

What about if there is a basket in his hand? Is a basket in a public domain considered a private one?

R. Jose son of R. Juda said: If one fixes a rod in the street, at the top of which is a basket, [and] throws [an article] and it comes to rest upon it, he is liable.

It is not clear if dunking is allowed.


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