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 12, 2013

Shabbat 132 – Supersession

As we have seen, circumcision supersedes Shabbat (the laws of Shabbat are suspended in order to fulfill this mitzvah). This page continues to analyze how this is known and where else we find this kind of layering.
  • Circumcision of an eight day old boy supersedes Shabbat, but not of an adult or a child older than eight days.

  • Public sacrifice (when the Temple stood) supersedes Shabbat but no other sacrifice does
  • The cutting away of a leprous spot does NOT supersede Shabbat – but if one appears on the foreskin of an eight day old boy, the foreskin may be cut on Shabbat – because circumcision supersedes.

And – as another example of where a positive command supersedes a negative one: 
  • the placing of fringes on a tallit supersedes the injunction against “mixed cloths” (kil’ayim - Deut. 22:11f) – that is woolen tzitzit may be placed on a linen tallit.

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