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, July 16, 2013

Pesachim 26 - Sound, Sight and Smell

One cannot gain benefit from that which is forbidden. But sometimes that benefit comes unintentionally.

Raba says thus: R. Judah rules that the unintentional is the same as the intentional only in the direction of stringency, but he did not rule that the intentional is the same as the unintentional where it is in the direction of leniency.

The story is told of R. Johanan b. Zakkai who preached in Jerusalem during the festivals. His lectures were so popular that he outgrew his tiny lecture hall and had to preach outdoors. He did so standing in the shade of the Temple walls. Now is intention was not to gain benefit from the Temple (which is not permitted – the Temple service and its accoutrements were dedicated to G-d.)

But Raba said: The Temple was different, because it was made for its inside.

Which becomes interesting when we think about the holiness of the modern Western Wall, which is no more than the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, not even part of the destroyed Temple itself. But I digress.

But what of workers who come near the Holy of Holies, for example, to do repairs?

Surely R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in R. Joshua b. Levi's name on Bar Kappara's authority: Sound, sight, and smell do not involve trespass?

If one were to taste, for example, part of the sacrifice that would be a serious trespass. It would be benefiting from a sacred thing. But hearing the Temple music, seeing the beauty of the Temple, or smelling the spices – even though one does gain benefit from something sacred does not cause any reduction and is therefore is not a trespass. 

No comments:

Post a Comment