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 19, 2013

Shabbat 139 – Corruption and Redemption

The rabbis blame the ills of Israel on the corruption of judges and their staff.

R. Jose b. Elisha said: If you see a generation overwhelmed by many troubles, go forth and examine the judges of Israel, for all retribution that comes to the world comes only on account of the Judges of Israel.

Perversion of justice, the buying off of litigants and witnesses, does deeply corrupt. But there is hope:

'Ulla said: Jerusalem shall be redeemed only by righteousness, as it is written, Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.(Isa. 1:27)

And it affects even those outside the land –even those who are under the oppression of the Persian Magi (as the Jewish community of Babylonia was):

R. Papa said: When the haughty cease to exist [in Israel], the magi shall cease [among the Persians]. . . as it is written, And I will surely purge away thy haughty ones.

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