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 25, 2012

Shabbat 53 – Creature Comfort

Continuing the question of what is permissible for an animal to “wear” on Shabbat:

R. Hiyya b. Ashi said in Rab's name:
A fodder-bag may be hung around [the neck of] an animal on the Sabbath, and how much more so [may] a cushion [be placed on its back). . .

Of course, these serve two different purposes. The fodder bag allows an animal easy access to food (which makes it happy). The cushion, it is assumed, is to keep it warm.

. . .for if it [the fodder bag]  is permitted there for [the animal's] pleasures how much more so here, that it [the cushion] is [to save the animal] suffering!

The fodder bag is actually debated. But the cushion/blanket is not.

An animal's pleasure does not rank against the laws of the Sabbath. But keeping an animal from suffering is a high priority.

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