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 28, 2013

Eruvin 51 - Chain of Inferences, a 2000 Cubit Connection

Throughout we've been dealing with the 2000 cubit travel limit on Shabbat. But, suddenly, a fundemental question is asked:

Where in Scripture are these TWO THOUSAND CUBITS prescribed? 

Ah, so glad you asked! Our page today links 4 verses by the presence of common words. This gives us a wonderful view of the rabbinic process:

1. SHABBAT - "Place"
See, because the Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place (makom) on the seventh day. (Ex. 16:29)

2. REFUGE CITY - "Place" and "Flee"
And if a man lies not in wait, but God delivers him into his hand; then I will appoint you a place (makom) where he shall flee (yanus). (Ex. 21:13)

3. CITY OF REFUGE - "Flee" and "Border"
But if the man slayer shall at any time go outside the border (g'vul) of the city of his refuge, where he had fled (yanus). (35: 26)

4. CITY OF REFUGE - "Border" and "Outside"
And the avenger of blood finds him outside (michutz) the borders (g'vul) of the city of his refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the slayer, he shall not be guilty of blood. (Num. 35:27)

5. LEVITE CITY - "Outside" and "2000 Cubits"
And you shall measure from outside (michutz) the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, and the city shall be in the midst. This shall be to them the open ground of the cities. ( Num. 35:5)
Therefore: "no man shall go out of his (Shabbat) place" = "2000 cubits" !

Viola! Simple, right? And logical.

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