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)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shabbat 73 - Here's the Pitch

The Mishnah enumerating the 39 Primary categories of labor ("Forty less One") is found on this page and will be discussed in subsequent pages.

But first, a word about baseball.

Ok, not really baseball - but it does involve tossing something.

There is a boundary of four cubits in length. If one throws an object (baseball?) four cubits or beyond on Shabbat, it is a violation of the Shabbat laws. Less than that - is not.

But what about someone who intends to throw only 2 cubits (on Shabbat) but winds up throwing 4? Besides being signed up for the Major Leagues, is he liable?

Raba says he is not culpable since the intention was not there.

Abaye says he is. Why? Because he intended throwing.

It was stated: If one intends to throw [an object] two [cubits], but throws it four,4 Raba said: He is not culpable; Abaye ruled: He is culpable.5 Raba said: He is not culpable, since he had no intention of a four [cubits’] throw. Abaye ruled, He is culpable, since he intended throwing in general. If he thinks it private ground but it is learnt to be public ground, Raba ruled: He is not culpable; Abaye said: He is culpable. Raba ruled, He is not culpable, since he had no intention of a forbidden throw. While Abaye ruled that he is culpable, since he intended throwing in general.

And, since his intention was to throw 2 cubits distance, he fulfilled that intention - and then went beyond! The 2 additional cubits was a new (unintentional) intention. Which makes him liable.

Maybe he needs to learn his own strength!

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