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, February 13, 2013

Shabbat 133 – Exalt G-d – with Beauty and Emulation

A complete, but elegant, aside from the main text (about circumcision).

This is my G-d, and I will exalt him (Ex. 15:2) – from Song of the Sea:

exalt yourself before Him in [the fulfillment of] precepts. [Thus:] make a beautiful sukkah before Him, a beautiful lulav, a beautiful shofar, beautiful fringes, and a beautiful Scroll of the Law,

and write [the scroll] with fine ink, a fine reed [-pen], and a skilled penman, and wrap it with beautiful silks.

Thus we have the idea of “hiddur mitzvah” to beautify a required act shows praise to G-d.

Reading the text slightly differently – to mean not “exalt”(anveyhu) but “emulate” (ani v’hu – lit. “me and Him”):
Abba Saul interpreted . . . be like Him: just as G-d is gracious and compassionate, so you be gracious and compassionate.

We exalt (others read "adorn") G-d by creating beauty and by beautiful and compassionate actions.

(note: sorry for the male pronoun – it’s the only way to make Abba Saul’s pun work).

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