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 18, 2012

Shabbat 46 – Unintended Rut

It has been said before but bears repeating: “whatever is unintentional is permitted.”

For it was taught, R. Simeon said: One may drag a bed, seat, or bench (on Shabbat in a private domain), providing that he does not intend to make a rut!
But with some more detail:

Wherever there is a Scriptural interdict if it is intentional, R. Simeon forbids it by Rabbinical law even if unintentional; but wherever there is [only] a Rabbinical interdict even if it is intentional, R. Simeon permits it at the outset if unintentional.
Again, this is the tension in instances where there is clear Torah law (not making a rut) and subsequent rabbinic laws established to protect the Torah law from accidental violation. Here we see that intention is key. “Dragging” is permissible, even if it accidently makes a rut in a soft floor, so long as there is no intention to make the groove.

Think before you act!

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