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, April 1, 2013

Eruvin 24 – Appearances – Like a New Sandal

Areas outside one’s residence can sometimes be treated as a “dwelling” for the purposes of carrying on Shabbat. One of those discussed is a karpaf – an off-site storage area. Usually these areas, like a shed for wood, are quite small. But sometimes they are bigger (over 2 beth se’ah) and one can actually “dwell” in it. If so, it needs to have been fenced off to define it.

But what if that was not the original intention?

R. Nahman laid down in the name of Samuel: If a karpaf that was bigger than two beth se'ah was not originally enclosed for dwelling purposes, how is one to proceed?

The answer: make a breech in the surrounding wall bigger than 10 cubits (so as to make it invalid) and then rebuild that hole into a 10 cubit or small entrance. In effect, rebuilding the wall as if new.

The question is then asked: could then same thing be done by breaking down smaller sections of the fence, say one cubit at a time, and rebuilding it until you’ve reached 10 cubits?

The answer is given by analogy. With a sandal.

A sandal becomes ritually defiled by treading on something – a dead body, a reptile, etc. That defilement (midras – from the root daras, “to tread”) stays with the sandal and defiles everything it touches – human beings and vessels. Tearing off a strap and then repairing that strap does not change it. But tearing off a second strap and repairing it does. Why? Because the appearance has now changed – i.e. it looks like a new sandal.

The same is true of the fence. It looks new, so it is treated as new.

No comments:

Post a Comment