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)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Eruvin 81 – The Whole Loaf

The eruv meal prepared for those residents who share a courtyard may be a loaf of bread. According to R. Joshua in the Mishnah (80b and 26b) it cannot be less than a full loaf.

But why shouldn't a single slice contributed by each member be sufficient?

R. Jose b. Saul citing Rabbi replied: "On account of possible ill-feeling."

That is, one resident might bring a loaf, others might bring a slice – and resentment could arise.

Well, it seems we could take care of that easily:

Said R. Aha son of Raba to R. Ashi: "What then is the law, where all the residents contributed slices [of bread to their eruv]?"

He replied: "There may be a recurrence of the trouble."

We start with everyone bringing a slice – but what if people in other neighborhoods, for example, are bringing whole loafs? Now there could be resentment among neighbors. No – better to keep the contributions of everyone equal.

Ok, this is kind of a silly example. But it is an interesting principle: keeping peace by being consistent.  And keeping things whole.

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