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 30, 2013

Shabbat 119 – Shabbat Stories and G-d’s Partner in Creation

Some of the best “celebrating Shabbat” stories are right here on this Talmud page!

  • · “R. Hanina robed himself and stood at sunset of Sabbath eve [and] exclaimed, 'Come and let us go forth to welcome the queen Sabbath.’ (bou v’netza lekrat Shabbat haMalka)”
  • ·         A man known as ‘Joseph-who-honors-the-Sabbaths’ (Yosef Moker Shabbi) finds himself greatly rewarded, by way of a precious stone, a turban and a fish, for his constant Shabbat preparations.
  • ·         The Emperor (Hadrian) desires the “spice” of Shabbat which makes all the food taste so good, and R. Joshua ben Hanania explains that the spice is the experience.
  • ·         The two angels, one good and one evil, who accompany a man home from the synagogue on Shabbat. One of them, depending on the quality of the home experience, is required to bless for the coming weeks, the opposite of what that blessing angel represents.
  • ·         Jerusalem is destroyed because of the neglect of Shabbat

But I love this statement:
R. Hamnuna said: He who prays on the eve of the Sabbath and recites 'and [the heaven and the earth] were finished,' (Va-yekullu haShamayim va-Aretz) the Writ treats of him as though he had become a partner with the Holy One, blessed be He, in the Creation, for it is said, Va-yekullu [and they were finished]; read not Va-yekullu but Va-yekallu [and they finished].

Shabbat represents the partnership with G-d and humanity. We celebrate that partnership on this day. Then during the rest of the week we act on it!

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