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, June 9, 2013

Eruvin 93 – Partition! Partition!

Creating false or temporary walls can create interesting variations on spaces. Some make it easier, some make it harder.

Raba sent to Abaye by the hand of R. Shemaiah b. Ze'ira [the following message]: ‘Do we not find a partition to be the cause of a prohibition?

Surprising, since you’d think the point of a partition would be to create, for example, an eruv which loosens the restrictions of carrying on Shabbat. We look here to the example of kilayin,  the command not to sow with mixed seed.

Was it not in fact taught: ‘partitions in a vineyard may be either the cause of a relaxation of the law or one of a restriction of it.’ In what manner? If the plantation of a vineyard stretched to the very foundation of a fence one may sow from the very foundations of that fence and beyond it; whereas in the absence of a partition one may sow only at a distance of four cubits (from the vineyard); and this is an example of a partition in a vineyard that is the cause of a legal relaxation. In what manner are they a cause of legal restriction? If a vineyard was removed eleven cubits from a wall no seed may be sown in the intervening space; whereas in the absence of a wall one may sow at a distance of four cubits; (from the vineyard) and this is an example of a partition in a vineyard that is the cause of a legal restriction?’

Seeing that the partition can be used for both purposes – or can affect the law’s extension or relaxation – its use has to carefully considered. A partition can sometimes be actual, sometimes virtual – as in the case of side-posts:

If an exedra that had side-posts was covered with boughs, it is valid as a sukkah

The two walls extending virtually to create a third necessary for a sukkah.

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