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)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shabbat 125 – Prepare for Shabbat

The story is told by R. Dimi (who visits the academy in Babylonia from Palestine) that Rabbi once went to certain place during the week and found a field of stones. He planned to meet there on Shabbat. So told his students to “Go out and intend [them]” – that is to express an intention to use them – so that they can be used on Shabbat. Now, is the declared intention enough, or did they have to do some act of labor to indicate that intention (and, to prevent an accidental labor on Shabbat)? For example, they might have been told to arrange the stones in some order, or to scrape them free of mortar, so that they would be more amenable for sitting.

Some argue that an act of labor is required for the Shabbat items to be indicated as such, other not. But the idea of really thinking ahead and preparing for Shabbat appeals to me. 

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