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)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pesachim 8 – The Lamp of the Lord

Ok, its time to get all metaphorical. We start with something prosaic – searching for leaven. As we learned, we are supposed to use a light to search. But what kind of light?

Our Rabbis taught: one may not search either by the light of the sun or by the light of the moon, or by the light of a torch, save by the light of a lamp because the light of a lamp is suitable for searching. And though there is no proof of the matter yet there is a hint of it, for it is said,

 ‘seven days shall there be no leaven found [in your houses]’  (Ex. 12:19)
and it is said,
‘and he searched, and began at the eldest. . .and the cup was found’ (Gen. 44:12)
 and it is said,
‘and it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps’ (Tzephania 1:12)
and it is said,
‘The soul of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of the belly’. (Prov. 20:27)

Did you follow? Link the common words in each phrase, which then leads to the next common word:

Found = Found + Searched; Searched = Searched + Lamps; Lamps = Lamp + Soul

Searching out for Leaven (Chametz) – the “puffed up” bread is a search of one’s own soul with the Lamp of the Lord!

And finally – a lamp is nothing compared to G-d’s own light:

To what are the righteous comparable in the presence of the Shechinah (Divine Presence)? To a lamp in the presence of a torch.

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