Tuesday, 30 October 2012

shabbat 25

the ways we remember the consequences of not valuing the sacred things

and who defined what is valuable and precious

(3 acrostics: one for the punishments when sacrifices and consecrated food is not treated properly, one for the punishments for terumah, and the other for the different rabbis and their definitions of 'who is rich')

Sunday, 28 October 2012

shabbat 24

when it comes to prayers
days overlap and get combined.

but when it comes to burning,
things remain separate.

(discussion about including mentions of channukah, rosh hodesh, shabbat in birkat hamazon, amidah, etc. and the prohibition not to burn consecrated items on festivals to keep the festival offerings distinct. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Friday, 26 October 2012

shabbat 23

either or
shabbat or channukah
kiddush or lamps

when it comes to lighting, distinctions are important.
leaving no corner for doubt & confusion

Thursday, 25 October 2012

shabbat 22

using the channukah candles to count money, light another light or using the succah decorations during the festival is as disrespectful as kicking dust to cover blood.

shabbat 21

making light from old clothes

(discussion about what can and cannot be used as wicks, mentioned that they used to make wicks for the temple from the priests' old clothes. although debate if this was for the temple menorah or just the lamps used for the celebration of water during succot.)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

shabbat 20

how to start a fire that will keep going into shabbat

and the robber's not-quite-raw-food diet that

(discussion about putting things on the fire before shabbat that will continue roasting on shabbat, and preparing a fire for shabbat. how much wood, types of wick etc. for english translation of this talmud page see here)

(I'm currently in NY. some silly food trends here. someone should start a not-quite-raw-food kosher restaurant and call it Ben Drosai)

shabbat 19

some things just happen - like honey dripping from the honeycomb

and somethings, we don't mind how they happen
- how far are we concerned about what a gentile (or a dog) does on Shabbat?

(discussion about activities done before shabbat that will continue once shabbat is in. cases discussed include the honeycomb. but also has an problematic comparison between a non-jew and a dog carrying from private to public space on shabbat. neither are obligated to keep shabbat. and what about a non-jew delivering a letter for us on shabbat....? for english translation of this talmud page see here)

(apologies for the delay on this one, and the picture quality. I am in NYC and away from scanner, so taking photos with the iphone. my exhibition is at the JCC Manhattan, I am speaking there tonight at 7:30pm, so if you are in NY, come by, it will be lovely to see you)

Monday, 22 October 2012

shabbat 18

in the countdown to sundown, what can and can't be done, is all down to the equipment.

(dispute between Hillel and Shammai about starting an activities eruv Shabbat, that will continue during shabbat. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

shabbat 17

the sword that blocked the exit and forced a resolution.

but forced resolutions are unacceptable.

and dissent leaks out

(in list of decrees that Hillel and Shammai issued is the story that a sword was stuck in the door preventing exit until the matter was resolved. but the people didn't accept it, only when the students of Hillel & Shammai issued the decree was it taken up. one of the cases was about the purity status of liquid that leaked out of grapes. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

shabbat 15

a lesson in materials

found objects, clothing, spit, piss, bones, earth and glass could be impure,
but not broken glass...

and when the place of stones is left and then broken up, the authorities lose some of their power over life and death.

(during the discussion about what things could be impure and therefore should not have contact with terumah food, it is mentioned that the Sanhedrin left their place in the Temple, the Court of Hewn Stone. Outside of the proper setting, they stop trying capital cases. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

FYI, next Tuesday I will be at the JCC Manhattan, speaking with Mierle Ukeles about my exhibition, and my art, including this draw yomi project. So if you are in the NY area, pop by and say hello. it will be lovely to see you. For more info, and to book, see here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

shabbat 14

when and who made hands and the Torah impure?

(discussion about rabbinic decrees made by the students of Shammai and Hillel about eating terumah food, that requires one to be pure. Hands need to be specially washed pre-eating teruma because they are busy and get everywhere. and the Torah is considered impure as it was stored with the terumah food, that would attract gnawing mice. for english translation of the full talmud page, see here)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

shabbat 13

what must be kept separate and what can be brought together.

the knife that separates the dead from the living.
the couple who sleep apart
chicken and cheese

and the man who is to be remembered for good, because he went through 300 jugs of oil while working to make sure that Ezekiel was not separated from the Tanach.

(for english translation of the full talmud page, see here)

Monday, 15 October 2012

shabbat 12

the things that might need more light to see properly:
dirty bowls, books, his & her's clothing, and lice.

or is it not just about seeing the lice, but what to do with them once they are found.

(various activities shouldn't be done by candlelight on shabbat as may be tempted to adjust the wicks, or kill the lice. for english translation of the full talmud page see here)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

shabbat 11

building fences from the craftsman's tools.

just don't build higher than the synagogue roof

(discussion of previous mishna finishes with a warning that in a city the houses' roofs shouldn't be higher than a synagogue. A new mishna prompts a discussion about items that various craftsmen should not wear/carry on their person - often in their ear - close to shabbat, lest they come to carry them on shabbat. building fences around the law. for english translation of the full talmud page see here)

shabbat 10

a cloak for peaceful prayer (but not in times of suffering, or in the bathhouse)
a cloak for judgement

but don't give it to just one of your sons.
it ends with everyone praying with hands clasped, without their cloak.

(does one dress for prayer? or remove cloak and pray like a slave? depends on it being times of peace or suffering. ends with discussion about gift giving, and advising not to be like Jacob who made a favourite of Joseph by giving him a special garment, that ended in the people becoming slaves. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Friday, 12 October 2012

shabbat 9

thresholds in space and time.

and how broken scissors (or a loose belt) can impede the proper order to the afternoon

(finishing discussions about carrying in various domains, the talmud defines the domain of a threshold, the boundary space. the next mishna talks about activities one shouldn't start near the time of saying the afternoon prayer, lest they over-run and one misses Mincha. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

shabbat 8

the maximum heights and depths of public spaces

and the minimum dimensions of public or private domain.

(for english translation of the full talmud page, see here)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

shabbat 7

the stumbling bricks and thorns of public space.

if you can't walk through it, it's no longer public
...but what about the holes?

(and as everyone who has scrapped their shoe against a pavement knows, the presence of feces doesn't always prevent someone stepping where they shouldn't)

(for english translation of the full talmud page, please see here)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

shabbat 6

private and public spaces and all the domains inbetween

shabbat 5

when it comes to lifting and placing,
hands and water are significant places

(for english translation of the full talmud page, see here)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

shabbat 4

when determining if throwing is like carrying, various things are chucked into the discussion.
just take the deliberations with a pinch of salt.

and don't forget about the challot

(for english translation of this talmud page see here)

- because of the two-day chag, shabbat 5 & 6 will be post on tuesday night - chag samech

Saturday, 6 October 2012

shabbat 3

the body is fixed but the hands, being neither public or private, can wander.

or: why the rabbis don't like doing the hokey-cokey on shabbat

(continuing the discussion about carrying, compares a body being laden up by someone else then walking out into the public space - which is definitely forbidden - to a hand that extends out from private to public while holding something. for english translation of this full talmud page see here)

Friday, 5 October 2012

shabbat 2

2 -> 4

giving and receiving, public and private
the homeowner and the poor who remain outside.

(definition of carrying. the number of ways an object is transferred between a homeowner inside and a poor person outside. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

au revoir brachot

so long, farewell, auf weidersen, adieu...

so, we've gone from discussing when night-time begins and saying the shema, to learning about the omens and night-time messages that pop up in dreams.

we've tussled with the problems and pitfalls of having a physical body that defecates, urinates, ejaculates etc but also has a mouth that prays.

And on the way one Rabbi died while saying the shema, excommunication has been threatened as the importance of conformity to the group needs to be maintained, and prayer can be a form of protest as well as a praise of God.

it's been good getting to know you Brachot. goodbye. see you again some day

(the chavrutah/external voice fizzled out due to the disruption of my travelling and the chagim. sorry about that, hope to bring it back for Shabbat. please contact me if you want to be part of this)

brachot 64

the rabbi who was threatened with excommunication by the Torah scholars, teaches that Torah scholars should be builders of peace.

and peace is something to build, to go towards, a path - it's only a destination for the dead.

(for english translation of this talmud page please see here)

brachot 63

it's good to learn clean and careful cutting and crafting of precious things.
but precise and careful calculations of the calendar in your own space, away from the source, can get you in trouble with others.

so don't be foolish, best to study with the group, and not strike out on your own.

(for english translation of this page of talmud see here)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

brachot 62

the dangers of going to the toilet: snakes, scorpions & demons.
so, remember to face the fight, and face the right direction and hope you have some shelter,
like the protecting hand of R. Hisda's daughter.

(for english translation of this page of talmud see here)

brachot 61

the two faces of the two yods of the creation of the first human
the fiery shema of R. Akiva's dying breath.