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 22, 2012

Shabbat 48 – What is Separate and What is Whole

It is not always easy to tell what is part of an object and makes the object whole. For example, can a pillow be stuffed on Shabbat? Or is that part of “making” ? Not if it is new – but if stuffing falls out it can be replaced.

“Whatever is joined to an article is counted as the article itself.”
The handle of an ax, the parts of a stove, a bundle of clothes stitched together – even a group of keys on a ring. They are treated as one object and can be dealt with as such on the Sabbath.
I'm interested in the way we think about objects: how we move from a collection of individual parts into a new "whole" which we treat differently. Don't we do the same with groups of people (political parties? religious communities?)

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