Thursday, 29 May 2014
intimidating the witnesses in their testimony about the new moon to say what they ought to have seen, according to the court's private calculations. despite any calculations or observations to the contrary.
(the new moon needs to be witnessed for the court to declare the month. but some months need to tweak it so that there will be a weekday in-between the shabbat and festival day - for the sake of fresh vegetables and that bodies that need to be buried. the court have their own calculations about the 24 hours when the moon is not visible, how much of it belongs to the old month, and the new month, night and day. Shmuel claimed he could calculate the calendar, but his calculations were lacking the secret of additions that the courts had. btw - as well as doing this draw yomi, I have also been doing a omer counting by drawing. this year was about the poetry of numbers. it got a bit geometrical, and I learnt that the word 'geometry' means 'earth measurement')
(this page discusses the various fast days in Megillat Ta'anit that were turned into festive days. and refers to a time when Torah learning was banned by Rome, the people were oppressed for being Jewish and different. The rabbis went to a certain Matronita - an important Roman woman - who instructed them to take to the streets at night and cry, emphasising their common humanity, that jews are their brothers etc... the ban was lifted and the day was turned into a festive day. also on this page is discussed sending messengers publicising the new moon and so then all will know when the festivals will be.)
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
those who wear the tallit and pray, those who wear tefillin on their heads.
and those who forgive others, get forgiven
but those who try to lead by inciting fear - they will never ascend from this hell.
(one of the reasons for the different types of notes of the shofar is that it will confuse Satan at the time of judgement. Satan's role is to act as prosecution against the people. The judgement is recorded in 3 books - Life for the righteous, Death for the wicked, and the in-between book for those who aren't wholly wicked or righteous)
but sometimes, as the poor etrog knows, it is better to leave things alone.
(Resh Lakish and R. Yohanan seem to be in disagreement about if the etrog is tithed at picking or when it is formed. But R. Yohanan is remarkable silent in the face of Resh Lakish's argument. on this page it is also noted that many people handling the etrog tree may damage the tree and affect the growth and future fruit for 3 years.)
Monday, 19 May 2014
(even though the Jubilee year begins at Rosh Hashana, the slaves don't go free until the shofar is blown at the end of Yom Kippur. In between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur the former slaves eat and drink with their former masters with crowns on their heads. Rosh Hashana is described as the festival where the moon is covered)
Thursday, 15 May 2014
it doesn't matter how long a year is, how long it takes for the earth to go around the sun, when there are poor people to be found everywhere on this earth.
(the discussion about when the someone has violated the principle of "do not delay" fulfilling their vow. if it is an offering in the Temple in Jerusalem, then there is a debate about how many opportunities to go to the Temple can pass before it is considered a delay. But if the vow is to give charity to the poor then there is no waiting a year, or need to work out how long is a year, no of days or months, leap year etc, because poor people are found everywhere and not just in the Temple in Jerusalem)
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
how low did he go?
(there are various interpretations on how Cyrus was corrupt. It begins with him giving to the Temple, purely for personal gain. which doesn't seem so bad. Or when he rebuilt the Temple he deliberately used wood, without any fireproofing, so that he knew he could destroy it with fire should he need to. Or he had a dog as a sexual companion.... with a comparison that Torah is as precious to Jews as dogs are to gentiles......it's a strange sliding scale of degradation, and disturbing in so many ways....)
(two kings are mentioned on this page: Sihon - wild foal, also known as Canaan - the name of the kingdom, and Arad - his real name. And Darius, also known as Cryus - like kosher, before he became corrupt, and Artaxexes -after the kingdom. Israelite kings' reign are marked from 1st of Nisan. and gentile kings is from 1st Tishrei)
Monday, 12 May 2014
from slave nation to a kingdom. the pinnacle of redemption.
(rosh hashana begins by saying that there are 4 new years. counting time is all about what it is needed to be counted. there is a new year for kings, trees, animals, and agriculture. The first of Nisan is used to mark the reign of Israelite kings, the same month as the exodus from Egypt. These two are linked in various verses in Tanach)
goodbye mesechet beitza - from what to do when an egg is laid on chag, to not slaughtering animals unless they are domestic (reside in the city) or hospitality and gifts to guests who come from far away... dealing with the realities of life that can just appear. suddenly. but even though they are unpredictable, there can still be strategies and a framework for dealing with events that come in from outside one's boundaries and borders.
much of this section seemed like a repeat of mesechet shabbat, eruvin, pesachim and succah. but some were specific about the differences of behaviour on a chag to shabbat. but revision is good, and it was reassuring to learn these passages and remember the details. perhaps some of this stuff is sinking in... whether or not that is a good thing, I am not yet sure.
because I don't yet really know why I am doing this crazy project. I chose to do this talmud tractate in watercolour. which I instantly regretted. I don't like painting. I like drawing, with line. not building up areas of tone and colour. although over these last 40 days my watercolour technique improved, I am pleased to be saying goodbye to this tricky medium. that takes too long to dry and warps the paper.
but I am tired... thank you to all who are still reading this and following this crazy project. thank you for the support and feedback. it is deeply gratifying to receive the emails. You have a lovely habit of knowing when I am feeling a little demoralised about this and seem to know exactly when to send a message. thank you for the encouragement.
onwards to Rosh Hashana
but like the borrowed spice, the outsider stands alone and distinct.
(R. Abba came from Bavel to Israel and wanted to be accepted by the scholars in Israel. he hears a discussion about if water and salt can be nullified within dough and offers an coutner-argument. the scholars laugh at him, and after R. Abba says why are they shaming him, they laugh more and then the gemara proceeds to defend the laughing... among the cases they discuss about a small substance not becoming nullified in the larger amount is the example of borrowing a spice for cooking. the taste of the spice will always be distinct. the outsider here, R. Abba, wants to be part of the larger group, but is shamed and remains apart)