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, December 14, 2012

Shabbat 72 – No Loopholes

There are different kinds of sin-offerings related to the commitment of an offense:

      1. If one is unaware or in doubt if a sin was committed, or
      2. if one has been informed after (or between) the commission of acts – so that the act was definitely committed but in ignorance.

Ulla confronts the view that a “certain guilt offering” does not require previous knowledge:

if a man cohabits five times with a ‘betrothed bondmaid’ (forbidden in Lev. 19:21 – the assumption being he did not know she was engaged) he is liable to one [guilt-offering] only.

But, R. Hamnuna suggests a loophole:

If so, if one cohabits, sets aside a sacrifice (which is the first act of atonement), and states ‘Wait for me until I cohabit again’ – can he be liable for only one sacrifice?

Nice try, but no. The multiple guilt offering is only when there is a lack of knowledge or uncertainty. Once you know that the act is a sin, atonement is required for each act.

Let's be careful out there!

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