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)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Shabbat 99 - The Well

In defining "public spaces" we have dealt with heights - particularly when thrown objects alight on a pillar or balcony. But depth counts, too.

The Mishnah deals with a cistern with a bank around it - if combined they are 10 x 4 handbreaths (height x breath) it is considered "public". Smaller, and it is private and water can be drawn.

But the rabbis teach "for a cistern in public ground ten [handbreadths] deep and four broad [square]. We may not draw [water] from it on the Sabbath, unless a wall ten handbreadths high is made around it; and one may not drink from it on the Sabbath unless he brings his head and the greater part of his body into it."

The well (deep) becomes defined as a separated space with a wall (height).

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