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)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Shabbat 122 – For His Own Use – Others Benefit

The Mishnah states that if a non-Jew lights a lamp or lantern on Shabbat for his or her own use, an Israelite can make use of it. But not if the non-Jew lights it exclusively for the Israelite. Similarly an Israelite can make use of a ship’s gangway built on Shabbat, so long as the non-Jew didn’t build it exclusively for the Israelite.

Why is this permissible? Because “a lamp for one is a lamp for a hundred” – that is, nothing is diminished by the Israelite’s use of a lamp already lit.

The rabbis investigate this concept further:

Come and hear: If a city inhabited by Israelites and Gentiles contains baths where there is bathing on the Sabbath, if the majority are Gentiles, [an Israelite] may bathe there immediately;

if the majority are Israelites, one must wait until [after the Sabbath when] hot water could be heated

Water heated for the benefit of a Gentile majority may be enjoyed by Israelites. But not if it is heated for the sake of the Israelites.

No comments:

Post a Comment