daf yomi

Shabbat 147b: Sin City

"Rav Helbo said: The wine of Perugitha and the water of Diomsith cut off the Ten Tribes from Israel" (Shabbat 147b). As Rashi explains, Perugitha was the name of a country that produced great wine, and while he does not explicitly say so, Diomsith had wonderful bathhouses. Rashi goes on to explain that the ten tribes spent their time seeking pleasure, thereby neglecting Torah. This caused them, to use a modern term, "go off the derech", both figuratively and literally.

Shabbat 145: Home and Away

When one studies Talmud, it is easy to forget that Sages quoted on the same page may actually have lived hundreds of years and hundreds of miles apart. A question posed by a third-century scholar in Israel might be answered by a fifth-century scholar in Babylonia. As is to be expected, these two great centers of Torah study developed in slightly different ways; there was even healthy competition between the two.

Shabbat 139: Guilty as Charged!

While we are unable to discern G-d's ways--and it behooves us to not even try--Talmudic rabbis were not so reticent in ascribing reasons for misfortune. Whether the Rabbis meant it literally, or gave cause to calamity as a means to deliver a message to their generation is not really relevant. What we can gain is insight into their view of the world. There is nothing new under the sun, and the messages of 2,000 years ago are no less--and are probably much more--applicable today.

Shabbat 96b: Human Revelation

Of all the 39 Melachot, it is carrying that, by far, occupies the most pages of Talmudic discussion. In the midst of discussing this prohibition, the Talmud (Shabbat 96b) turns its focus to the Mekoshesh eitzim, gatherer of wood (see Bamidbar 15). Having been stoned for his infraction, the Talmud is interested in knowing what exactly he did wrong, with carrying being one of the possibilities raised.


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