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)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Eruvin 37 – Ex Post Facto

The principle of bererah is discussed at some length. Some agree and some do not that it is ever applicable.

Bererah is an option to designate after the fact a specific item between two equally possible items. For example:

If a man buys wine from among the Cutheans (who did not tithe their wine) he may say: ‘Two log which I am about to set aside are terumah, ten are first tithe and nine are second tithe’, and this he redeems and may drink [the wine] forthwith

The specific two log of wine are set aside later. Normally this would have to be done before the purchase was complete – but here, the wine is being purchased at dusk before Shabbat begins. The wine is necessary for Shabbat, but there is no time for separation.

Now this was not popular and many of the rabbis disagreed with its viability:

They said to R. Meir, ‘Do you not agree that the wineskin might burst and the man would thus have been drinking liquids of [forbidden]tebel?’

You may hope to designate it later – but what if the wine is spilt and ruined?

And he replied: ‘When it will have burst [there would be time for the question to be considered]’

And when is the time for that consideration? Ex post facto!

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