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, November 11, 2012

Shabbat 39 - Solar Power!

"A [warm] dish may be placed in a pit [on the Sabbath]. . . to be cooled, or cold water in the sun, for it to be heated."

"Said R. Nahman: In the sun, all agree that it is permitted; in a fire-heated object all agree that it is forbidden"

"An egg may be rolled [roasted] on a hot roof"

This is something I had not really thought or read about - the use of solar power on Shabbat. Remarkable, in a way, because in an earlier Mishnah, the Rabbis forbade the people of Tiberias from using the heat of sulphur springs to cook on Shabbat. After all, the prohibition is against using fire. So what's the problem? As it turns out, the Rabbis rescinded that prohibition when they realized it was an entirely natural process which did not involve fire. (Of course, by then the Tiberians had already abandoned their novel and natural process!)

Here, however, there is no prohibition against using solar power for cooking (at least directly. It would probably be a different matter to use solar generated electricity to heat a burner).

Something we should be thinking about. Solar power is environmentally and Shabbat friendly!

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