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)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eruvin 6 – Public Works

It is one thing to talk about creating “private” space in alleys and open courtyards. Quite another to talk about transforming public city spaces into artificial “private” spaces, so that Shabbat laws – such as carrying – can be relaxed.

Our Rabbis taught: How is a road through a public domain to be provided with an eruv? The shape of a doorway is made at one end, and a side-post and cross-beam, [are fixed] at the other.

This is a major road – 16 cubits wide – going all the way through a major town of 600,000 or more, and no wall around. The road itself needs entrances in order to be considered “contained.” The school of Shammai, as usual, made a more restrictive ruling:

 A door is made at the one end as well as at the other and it must be locked as soon as one goes out or enters

And the primary example:

did not Rabbah b. Bar Hana state in the name of R. Johanan that Jerusalem, were it not that its gates were closed at night, would have been subject to the restrictions of a public domain

It makes me think of the communal effort that would have to dedicated to make the entire city a “private” domain by way of this eruv. I have walked through those massive gateways in the Old City of Jerusalem, and think about the commitment to build for Shabbat.

No comments:

Post a Comment