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 9, 2013

Shabbat 98 - Covered Wagons

The Torah gives precise measurements of all the parts of the Tabernacle. The Talmud here goes into even greater detail about the floorboards and how they might have fit in the wagons which transported them while the Israelites were wandering. Why?

Because of the principle that "if one carries [an article in public on Shabbat] four cubits in a covered public ground, he is liable."

You might think that because the wagons carrying the boards of the Tabernacle were covered, it would be considered private space. But the rabbis go to some length to show that there was open space beneath or between the boards as they were transported, making them public.

It might feel like much ado about nothing, but this is how they try to anchor the rulings. Everything is subject to inquiry.

Public Space Wagons, Ho!

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