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, January 25, 2013

Shabbat 114 – Sharp Dressed Rabbi

The Mishnah on the previous page permitted folding clothes on Shabbat for use on Shabbat (not for after).

The rabbis refined that to only permit new garments – presumably because of the inclination to put a crease in older clothes (harder to do with new ones) which would not be permitted.

All this leads to a discussion on our page about the importance of a scholar to appear in clean clothes in public:

R. Hiyya b. Abba said in R. Johanan's name: It is a disgrace for a scholar to go out with patched shoes into the market place.

Any scholar upon whose garment a [grease] stain is found is worthy of death.

Ok, they didn’t mean literally (can you imagine the courtroom scene? “Your honor, exhibit A – the offending stain!”) They meant that if a scholar wants to be treated with respect, he needs to treat himself with respect.

Even in the clothes he wears.

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