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)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shabbat 36 - Trumpet and Shofar

The public blast sounded to announce the beginning of Shabbat is discussed. The problem is the person who blows the 6 sounds (the Hazzan) now has to go home with the shofar. But it is forbidden to carry a shofar on Shabbat! Or is it?

Perhaps it is a "chotzotzrah" (trumpet) which is forbidden to be carried rather than a "shofar" (ram's horn). Or the other way around. The shofar might be permitted because it can serve a dual purpose - one can fill it with water and drink from it!

There are competing texts as to which may or may not be carried on Shabbat. R. Hisda resolves the conflict by saying that several words switched their meaning after the destruction of the Temple! So a trumpet might be called a shofar and a shofar a trumpet. But the Rosh Hashana calls must be done on a ram's horn.

A trumpet by any other name would sound as sweet!

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