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)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Shabbat 58 – Signed, Sealed – Delivered?

Among the things listed that a woman cannot “go out” with – that is forbidden to wear in the public sphere during Shabbat for fear of carrying – is a Kabul. What is a Kabul? Glad you asked. So did Rabbi Jannai:

R. Jannai said: I do not know what is this [Kabul]: whether we learnt of a slave's chain, but a wool hair-net is permitted; or perhaps we learnt of a wool hair-net and how much more so a slave's neckchain?

The word can mean both a hairnet and a slave’s chain. So what is a “slave’s chain”? Evidently a mark of his or her status worn in public.

But Samuel maintained: We learnt of a slave's neck-chain. Now, did Samuel say thus? Surely Samuel said: A slave may go out with a seal round his neck, but not with a seal on his garments?

What is the difference? The concern is that if this attachable mark or seal is pinned onto a garment, it may fall off. If it does, and the slave discovers this fact, he may take off his cloak and fold it over and carry it to hide that it is missing. This would constitute illegal carrying on Shabbat!

But not just slaves – it seems that these marks were also used by scholars to indicate their position, or perhaps their affiliation with a particular school. They (or at least one school was) were also forbidden to go out with a seal on their cloak.

Scholars and women and slaves. Interesting connections!

No comments:

Post a Comment