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, March 30, 2013

Eruvin 22 – Just Do It

There is a discussion on this page about a traditional ruling that “In the Land of Israel not guilt is incurred on account of [moving objects] in a public domain.” The implication being that there is a natural eruv around it. Or perhaps that it is the steep inclines which are not considered “public” because they are relatively inaccessible. Joshua, in this account, established unique public and private roads – so that this could only be meaningful in the Holy Land (remember that the Babylonian Talmud is written in. . . Babylon).

But it is this statement I want to call out:

R. Joshua b. Levi stated: What [is the implication of] what was written: (You shall therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments,) which I command thee this day, to do them? (Deut. 7:11)

This day [you are] to do them’ but you cannot postpone doing them for tomorrow; (i.e. after death)  

this day [you are in a position] to do them’ and tomorrow [is reserved] for receiving reward for [doing] them.

Why does the text bother to include the unnecessary “this day”? To remind us that mitzvot cannot be performed after death – it is our responsibility to do them now. And the reward, according to this view, is not in this world but in the World to Come.

Just do it.

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