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, July 5, 2013

Pesachim 15 – Benefit of the Doubt?

What to do when there is a doubt about a food item being ritually impure or not? Do you treat it as real or potential?

For we learned: In the case of a cask of terumah wherein a doubt of uncleanness is born,

That is, whether this food item for the priests was touched by someone ritually impure or not. If it was, it could not be used.

R. Eliezer said: If it is lying in an exposed place it must be laid in a hidden place, and if it was uncovered, it must be covered.

R. Joshua said: If it is lying in a hidden place, one may lay it in an exposed place, and if it is covered it may be uncovered!

R. Eliezer claiming that it should be treated as potentially clean and therefore not allow any other opportunity for certain defilement. R. Joshua argues the opposite – treat it as already impure, so it doesn’t matter what happens to it.

Why do we care? It is the issue of how we think of things when we have a doubt. Is the benefit given or not?

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