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)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shabbat 35 - Twilight

Continuing the attempt to define "twilight." R. Nehemiah defines it as the time it takes to walk half a mil from sunset.

An illustration which brings me to memories of the natural beauty n Israel:

"One who wishes to know R. Nehemiah's period should leave the sun on the top of the Carmel, descend, dip in the sea, and reascend, and this is R. Nehemiah's period."

Or a simpler definition:

"Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: When [only] one star [is visible], it is day; when two [appear], it is twilight; three, it is night."

(Medium-sized stars are meant. Well, all actual stars are the same apparent size [pinpoints], so this must mean medium brightness - and not a planet!)

Also on the page - a description of the 6 shofar blasts which were blown to indicate the commencing of Shabbat. This has found a modern revival in Jerusalem when the city's sirens are blown every Friday to indicate Shabbat.

All this brings me to fond memories for life in Israel. Hearing the sirens always gave me a sense of peace.

Anyone else have that memory?

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