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)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shabbat 152 - Parables of Old Age

The emperor asked R. Joshua b. Hanania, ‘Why did you not attend the Be Abedan?’
The Be Abedan was likely a conclave of religious dispute - perhaps with early Christians. He absence was conspicuous. But it is R. Joshua b. Hanania's answer which is interesting. He answers with a parable:
‘The mountain is snowy, it is surrounded by ice, the dog does not bark and the grinders do not grind,’ he replied.
That is: my head is white and so is my beard. My voice is weak and my teeth don't work.

What a beautiful poetic rendition of the deprivations of old age!
 The School of Rab was wont to say: ‘What I did not lose I seek.’
That is, an old man stooped over as if perpetually looking for something.

And lastly:
It was taught, R. Jose b. Kisma said: Two are better than three,
That is two legs are better than the additon of a walking stick!
and woe for the one thing that goes and does not return.
What is that?
 Said R. Hisda: One's youth.

No comments:

Post a Comment