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, June 10, 2013

Eruvin 94 – Collapsing Wall and Rabbinic Authority

What happens when a wall in a courtyard collapses on Shabbat? It was once a private space, does it suddenly loose its status?

General principle:

Since permission for that Sabbath was once granted the permissibly continues until the conclusion of the day.

And a story:

Rab and Samuel were once sitting in a certain courtyard (on Shabbat) when a parting wall collapsed. ‘Take a cloak’, said Samuel to the people, ‘and spread it across (the gap).

He thus created a temporary partition. But, if the space suddenly became “public” with the collapsing wall, stretching the garment over the gap would not be permissible. Rab expresses his disapproval by “turning his face away.”

 ‘If Abba (Rab) objects’, Samuel told them, ‘take his girdle and tie with it’.

Whew! Guess he feels pretty strongly about his opinion. But, one can ask, why was this even necessary?

Now according to Samuel's view, what need was there for this, seeing that he ruled: ‘The tenants on either side may move their objects to the very foundation of the wall’? — Samuel did that merely for the sake of privacy.

If Rab, however, held that this was forbidden, why did he not say so to him? The place was under Samuel's jurisdiction. If so, why did he turn away his face? — In order that it might not be said that he held the same opinion as Samuel.

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