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, November 12, 2012

Shabbat 40 - Loopholes

A regression is reported: laws becoming more restrictive because of abuse.

"At first people used to wash in pit water heated on the eve of the Sabbath; then bath attendants began to heat the water on the Sabbath, maintaining that it was done on the eve of the Sabbath. So [the use of] hot water was forbidden, but sweating was permitted. Yet still they used to bathe in hot water and maintain, We were perspiring. So sweating was forbidden, yet the thermal springs of Tiberias were permitted (since they used no fire). Yet they bathed in water heated by fire and maintained, We bathed in the thermal springs of Tiberias. So they forbade the hot springs of Tiberias but permitted cold water. But when they saw that this [series of restriction] could not stand, they permitted the hot springs of Tiberias, whilst sweating remained in forbidden."

That will teach you to exploit loopholes! Or maybe not - if you live in Tiberias!

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