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, January 16, 2013

Shabbat 105 – Word Games

An expansion of the idea that two letters can stand for a full word – one word can stand for a whole phrase. Thus an interpretation of the very first word of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1): “Anochi” – “I” (as in “I am the Lord your God” - more formal than the common for word "I" - Ani).

Anochi” is made up of the Hebrew letters Aleph, Nun, Kaf, Yud.

“Rabbi Johanan on his own authority” (a rare phrase by itself – the rabbis generally prefer to attribute to elders) said:

Aleph = “Ana” : “I”
Nun = “Nafshi” : “Myself”
Kaf = “Kativat” : “Have Written”
Yud = “Yehabit” : “The Script”

A Divine attribution to the Ten Commandments!

Others read it backwards:

Yud = “Yehabiah” : “Was Given”
Kaf = “K’tivah” : “Scripture”
Nun = “Ne’eman” : “Faithful”
Alef = “Amreha” : “Her words”

Grammatical interpellation:

           “Scripture was given [to humanity]. Faithful are its words”

So much contained in a simple word: "I"!

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