As is well known, our tradition places great importance on proper speech. While we generally view this as a moral imperative -- avoiding unnecessary negative comments about others, gossip, and slander -- it is also a necessary ingredient for proficiency in Torah study.
Thoughts from the Daf
While the basis of Jewish law (and much more) is to be found in the Talmud, the Talmud, in and of itself, is not a very good text for determining Jewish law. The legal analysis, the range of views, the tendency to move from one topic to another, and the fact that any given topic may be discussed in a variety of places makes reaching a conclusion on any particular issue a difficult task.
We have often discussed the terrible tragedy of poverty. Without changing that perspective, there does appear to be at least somewhat of a silver lining in living a life under the strain of financial duress.
Poverty is a terrible curse, one that has been the unfortunate lot of many Jews over the years. While we are blessed to live in the wealthiest generation in all of Jewish history, having enough money is a concern of many Jews around the world. Whether this is due to the almost unbearable burden of day school tuition, to the lack of skills for gainful employment, or to a host of other factors, for many, it is the prayer for sustenance with which it is easiest to identify.
The Daf Yomi thought is dedicated by the family of Dr. Solomon Burack, ob"m in observance of his Yahrzeit. May his memory be for a blessing.
It is well accepted that enacting laws retroactively is most unfair, potentially throwing into chaos that which was done under past laws. However, an action we take today often sheds light on something we did yesterday.
Both an eiruv techumim, which allows one to walk an additional 2,000 cubits (approximately 1 kilometre) outside of the city limits, and an eiruv chatzerot, which allows us to carry on Shabbat, require the placement of food in a designated spot. The food must be edible, a requirement that would exclude tevel, food from which tithes (terumah and ma'aser) were not taken.
At times, what seems like a very technical debate on some (even no longer relevant) aspect of Jewish law is, in reality, part of much larger and more fundamental debate about a key aspect of Jewish thought.
The Talmud as a whole, and especially the Mishna, is first and foremost a vast corpus of Jewish law. Yet in studying this wide-ranging text, one would be hard-pressed to find any material on Jewish legal theory. Jewish law is primarily case-based, and a legal theorist would find the Talmudic approach most unusual.
It is hard to imagine one more dedicated to Torah than Rabbi Akiva. Despite the fact that he did not start learning until the age of forty (or more likely, because of this), his diligence was unsurpassed. It was to his Beit Midrash that Moshe Rabbeinu was transported from Sinai, as it was Rabbi Akiva who would derive "mountains and mountains of law" from the crowns on top of the letters in the Torah (Menachot 29b).