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)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shabbat 111 – Impotence, Castration and Sterilization

A certain potion of roots mixed with beer was noted as a cure for jaundice – but had a side effect of impotence. The question then becomes – is this permitted? Since the Torah forbids offering a castrated animals as a sacrifice (Lev. 22:24), the rabbis understand that castrating a human is forbidden. Even as an unintended consequence.

But it is a permitted remedy for one already “castrated” ? Or perhaps it (sterilization) is permitted to women - who are not obligated to procreate?

But R. Johanan b. Beroka notes the command to be “fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28) is addressed to both man and woman (“And God blessed them: and God said unto them”).

It seems, then, that this cure would not be allowed except for the elderly.

It’s a big topic handled in only a few sentences. There is more to discuss.


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