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)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shabbat 56 – Laying the Seeds of Destruction

Concluding the debate over the rehabilitation of biblical figures – did they sin, or not? On this page the rabbis discuss King David and King Solomon. Their sins, according to the rabbis, would have dire consequences; not for themselves, but for the nation:

Rab Judah said in Rab's name:

Had not David paid heed to slander, the kingdom of the House of David would not have been divided

Had Israel not engaged in idolatry, and we would not have been exiled from our country.

There are several attempts to interpret away the sins of the kings – David and Bathsheba, Solomon and his idol worshiping wives. But still the national consequences of their actions are noted, as in this tale:

Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: When Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, Gabriel descended and planted a reed in the sea, and it gathered a bank around it, on which the great city of Rome was built.

The seeds of Israel’s future destruction are sown: as Solomon unites Israel with Egypt, Rome, its future oppressor, is founded.

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