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)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shabbat 109 – Deadly Wounds

Following on the principle on the previous page regarding healing on Shabbat, this page contains many kinds of plants and foods which have medicinal properties; including several cures for intestinal worms and snakebites. In general those things which can be used only for cures (i.e. plants which are normally not eaten) are not permitted on Shabbat.

Fascinating to read these “home remedies” from so long ago.

And then, there is a story:

Rabina visited R. Ashi (on the Sabbath): He saw that an ass had trodden on his foot, and he was sitting and reducing the swelling in vinegar. Said he to him, “Do you not accept R. Hillel's statement ‘Not vinegar’?”

“[A swelling on] the hand or on the foot is different,” he replied, “for R. Adda b. Mattenah said in Rab's name, [A blow on] the hand or on the foot is like an internal wound, and the Sabbath may be desecrated on its account.”

“Healing” is not permitted on the Sabbath, but saving a life – of course – is.

No comments:

Post a Comment