Friday, 6 December 2013

yoma 27

after the slaughter and the blood has been spilled, what is left for a non-priest to do?


non-priests were permitted to slaughter the animal, but other parts of the avodah - temple sacrifical rite - were forbidden. this page discusses various stages of the avodah, if it would be a suitable job for a non-priest and justifying their lack of inclusion.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

yoma 26

with ruthless competition to be one of the 9 priests involved in the sacred work, make sure it is a priest who will do the job in accordance to how the rabbis & people want it done, and not waste water and etrogs

(counting how many priests are needed to bring the various parts of the sacrifice. and a story of a Sadducee priest who disagreed with pouring water over the altar so poured it on his feet instead. The crowd pelted him with etrogs)

apologies for picture quality. it has been photographed rather then scanned. I am away at the moment. i am in Israel where the lovely people at Ein harod Art Musuem will be showing 5 notebooks of the draw yomi project.

exhibition at Ein Harod

tomorrow I am carefully packing a few of the daf yomi notebooks and flying to Israel. They are going to be part of an exhibition at the Art Museum in Ein Harod. The exhibition is called Tosefta, Women Drawing Talmud. and it features my daf yomi drawings and the art of Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli. The curator Dvora Liss found 2 female artist who are both drawing the Talmud... The opening is this friday - the 6th december. so if you find yourself in the area, come by. it will be lovely to see you.

apologies for the late updating of this website. whilst keeping up with the daily drawings was a challenge. scanning and uploading was impossible. and unfortunately the white on black don't photograph as well as they scan. But I reconfigured something (not sure how, or what...) and my scanner now has a new lease of life... for now...

yoma 25

it all begins with the head

the bare head that indicates the start of the counting for the lottery.
and the animal head that begins the sacrifice.

(in the discussion of how to do the lottery, the priests would stand in a circle and would be counted off. the starting point was indicated by removal of a priest's hat.
There is also a discussion about what order the limbs of the sacrifice are brought to the altar. there are various systems of organising it. but they all agree. It starts with the head)

yoma 24

the non-priest might want to do the work of the priest, but it is punishable by death.

and the priest want to wear the sacred clothes and perform the tasks.

ordinary & holy
in people and in clothes.

yoma 23

caring more about the knife not becoming impure than about the dead child.

(horrific story to show how corrupt the morality of the temple was. during the competition of which priest got which job, one priest stabbed another. during the commotion of what to do, who to bring the sacrifice to atone for this, the dying priest's father realises his son is not yet a corpse and is concerned to ensure the knife is removed so not to become impure through contact with a corpse. it is a sharp shocking story, written in the Talmud about those corrupt priests who had their priorities all wrong... )

yoma 22

every leader needs a shameful past, to keep them in line and stop them being too arrogant.

(King Saul did not establish a regal dynasty because his ancestry was impeccable. David on the other hand was the descendent of various dodgy sexual encounters. This shameful past is described in the talmud as 'a box of creeping animals')

yoma 21

the temple ground that swallows up feathers, shards,



yoma 20

who is really louder - the cockerel who crows at night, just before dawn.
or the temple crier - whose shout has to overpower the sound of the sun moving across the sphere.

(discussion about the phrase 'keriat hagever' . the cockerel cries at end of night, just before daybreak. and the Temple crier was reputed to be so loud that he could be heard 3 parsangs away. Pah! that's nothing. the High Priest during the middle of Yom Kippur, while he was weak from fasting, could still make his voice heard 10 parsangs away. and the human criers have to overcome the noise of the sun moving across the sky during the day. - I like how the cockerel's mouth in the drawing is crescent/moon shaped. night-time. and the human mouth mid-shout is round, like the sun. Day.)

yoma 19

not all priests are joyously wrapped in white.

some have to wear black and grieve that they are disqualified blemished bastards.

and the angel with the cloven hoof ensures that things are done properly.

yoma 18

what sort of person would pay for an illiterate High Priest?!

... a woman. a rich woman....

yoma 17

half to the priests and slightly less than half to the High Priest.

mustn't be greedy....

yoma 16


separate from the temple in distance and in qualification. and yet remaining in contact.
the red heifer is offered away from the temple but in direct sightline.
the disqualified priest stays attached to temple service by checking for worms...

yoma 15

identifying what is where, orientation of the temple.

and what is sprinkled above and below.

yoma 14

something happens in-between the lottery, the selecting the jobs and doing the actual work.
things don't stay the same in the abstract theory to physical reality.
things go out of order

yoma 13

the High Priest must always be married.
so even when mourning his wife, he might be separate from the temple, but he is never alone.

yoma 12

once you have crossed the border and worn the belt of the High Priest - even for a day, there is no going back to the ordinary.

(the temple is on the border between Yehuda and Binyamin, with rivalry and jealousy and what bit of the temple is in whose bit. discussion about the High Priest's belt that is different from an ordinary priest's. And if a priest had to stand in for the High Priest, even if the substitution was just for a day, they don't go back to being an ordinary priest. But neither are they the High Priest. due to potential for rivalry and jealousy)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

yoma 12

(drawing to follow)

once you have crossed the border and worn the High Priest's belt, even if it was for just a day - there is no going back to the ordinary.

(this page begins with discussing if the city of Jerusalem belongs to all, and no one specifically. Or just the Temple Mount. Another opinion is that the Temple crosses the border between the tribe of Yehudah and the tribe of Binyamin. Binyamin is resentful and jealous that even though they have the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies in their land, the altar is in the part of land that is Yehudah. Jealousy and resentment come up later in the page when discussing the what happens to the priest who is temporarily standing in for the High Priest who has become disqualified on Yom Kippur. The substitute priest does not go back to being an ordinary priest. But neither he can remain a second High Priest. Jealousy and rivalry flare up so easily. In between these two cases of jealousy is trying to decipher the distingushing garment of the High Priest to the ordinary priest - all about the belt.)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

yoma 11

some buildings are too disgusting and disrespectful to have a mezuzah

and some are too holy.

so. the women's house, the place where women bathe and adorn themselves, where does that fit?

(trying to decide the principle behind the list of buildings which require a mezuzah and which don't. The out-house, the bath-house, tannery etc don't. Storehouses, storehouse used by women to adorn themselves also don't... the discussion revolves around ideas of residency and also dignity. The argument that some places are too disgusting to have mezuzah falls a bit flat when taking into consideration that the Temple did not have a mezuzah. The argument going that it was already a holy structure and the mezuzah is for mundane, but not too earthy, buildings. And it is interesting to note that it is specifically women's bathing and adorning venues that are discussed. From other parts of the Talmud it is clear that there were male bath-houses as well...)

yoma 10

the temple has no mezuzah because it was not a permanent residence.
the temple was destroyed by Rome.
it's not a permanent anything....

(but as for Rome, it's not permanent either, the sun will set on the destroyers...)

(this page identifies various nations from biblical characters. and the origin of Persia. who were involved in building the second temple, that was then destroyed by Rome. Also discussed is the Parhedrin Chamber, where the High Priest was sequestered for a week prior to Yom Kippur, whether or not it needed a mezuzah. One opinion is that it didn't, as it was not a permanent residency. This drawing shows the Arch of Titus, built in Rome after the destruction of the temple, looming over it is a giant, another character from this page who was so tall he wore the sun as a necklace. it is a little anachronistic as the giant mentioned in this page is a giant living in the land of Israel before it was conquered.... but every nation rises and falls. No one, even the giants, greatness lasts forever, the sun sets on all)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

yoma 9

those haughty women, in whose scented footsteps, lust and destruction followed.

(this page discusses the destruction of the two temples, comparing the two generations. the first temple was destroyed for idolatry, immorality and bloodshed. the second for senseless hatred. The immorality is described as haughty women, who would wear a lot of make-up and walk with scent in the feet, that drove the young men wild with lust. Interesting to note though is that this generation were seen by some as greater than the later, of second temple time. Resh Lakish is bathing again in the river, although this time he approached not by R. Yochanan but by Rabbah bar bar Chanina, who was from Bavel and therefore Resh Lakish would not speak to. the Jews of Bavel chose to stay there and not return with generation of Ezra and rebuild the second temple...)

yoma 8

immersing & sprinkling with ash
but can't erase God's name written on the skin
or the bribery and corruption in appointment of the High Priest

(this page discusses purification processes of immersion in water, and for the priests' preparations, sprinkling with ash. A side detail is that if someone has God's name written on their skin, they should be careful if immersing not to erase God's name. Later in the page is discussed the name that the chamber the High Priest was sequestered to makes a subtle reference that the appointment of High Priest was corrupted by money, and was just like the other regal appointments. The High Priest wouldn't survive the year. All that immersion and sprinkling can't purify and erase the sin of corruption in the leadership.)

yoma 7

you can hide and be silent about what is in the hand.
but cannot ignore what is broken on the mind.

(discussing if impurity is overridden or permitted when the priest is performing a rite on behalf of the community. if something is impure in the hand, and there is no substitute, the priest is to be silent and continue with the ritual. at the end of the page is discussed the tzitz, the piece of metal worn on the forehead of the High Priest. There is a debate if it always needs to be worn for offerings to be accepted. But all agree that on the forehead, or hanging on a peg, if the tzitz is broken the offerings are not accepted)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

yoma 6

comparing contact with a corpse and sex with a niddah...

but for the woman herself, it's as different as night & day

(comparing the impurity of a man who has sex with a niddah, and the impurity of contact with a corpse... yes, well.... they have the same length of time of impurity, can immerse during the day. but for a niddah, or a woman who has just given birth, they have to wait until night before immersing.

it's a bit of a tricky and problematic comparison....)

yoma 5

not everything is essential in the ritual

- except for the blood

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

yoma 4

R.Yohanan v. Resh Lakish
temple or mountain

arguing about the derivation the 7 day preparation time for forming a cloud of incense on Yom Kippur.

derived from the descent of another cloud.

but was it on the newly made temple, or on Moshe at Sinai?

(R. Yohanan argues that the derivation of the 7 day sequestering/prep time for the High Priest on Yom Kippur is derived from the requirements of the inauguration service. Resh Lakish derives it from Moshe being in a cloud at Sinai before God called to him. One of the unique features of the Yom Kippur temple service is that the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies and perform a ritual with incense that would cause a cloud of smoke to rise. cloud rising to echo the cloud descending. but which cloud and where?)

yoma 3

how hands-on is making as opposed to taking?

whose hand pays when something is taken?

(this page continues to debate the connection between Yom Kippur temple service and the inauguration service of the Temple, both having a 7 day sequestering of the High Priest. other festivals than Yom Kippur are suggested but Yom Kippur the High Priest has to "take for yourself" implying that some of the offerings are paid for by him, not from the communal funds. but this is compared to "make for yourself"with other obligations and cannot be concluded that taking is the same as making when it comes to payment. It stuck me that when something is taken it is held tightly. but when it is made, obviously depending on the technique but in general the hand needs to slightly looser, allowing for the object to become it's own thing.)

yoma 2

lining up the replacement brides.

but how many can drop dead in a week? if it goes on for ever, that's a lot of dead women.

(both Yom Kippur and the ritual of the red heifer, require a preparation time of 7 days. part of which is to appoint a successor should the High Priest die suddenly. also planned is the High Priest's wife's replacement, should anything happen to the High Priest's wife. and then the replacement for the replacement etc....)

Monday, 11 November 2013

goodbye shekalim

from the message going out on the 1st of adar announcing the collection of the half-shekel, to the bitter reality that in a post-destruction world where the half-shekel is no longer used. The practicalities of collecting money from people who live scattered apart, from jerusalem and beyond, including Bavel, the place of exile - which is discussed on the first page, and the last page which faces up to a world without the Temple. But there is not cause for despair as there is on the last page some hope that the Temple will be rebuilt. This section of the Talmud is focused on the temple, it's donations and process of making things holy. But it concludes acknowledging that all that discussion is now over. It is practically irrelevant.

I decided to do this section of the Talmud in collage. it was a bit of a whim but has greatly affected how I reply to the text. Do I just make a pile of objects and images that are referring to in the learning? or to think differently about each page. some days I have felt that if only I was tackling this section in another way - pen & ink - then the drawings would have been much much quicker.... each section of the Talmud brings its own character. and this bit is quite strange. It is the Yerusalmi not the Bavli Talmud. a whole different style. and just as i got used to it, it was over.

oh well. onwards to Mesechet Yoma...

shekalim 22

inside or outside

the destruction makes the half shekel redundant for now
but keep it around, might be useful in the future.

(after discussing how and where to dispose of meat that has become impure, and where to place various offerings on the ramp in the Temple, this page discusses what happens to various obligations once the Temple is no longer present. Debated are the half-shekel and the first-fruits, and if they can become consecrated and kept waiting until the Temple is rebuilt.)

shekalim 21

pure blood and spittle on the streets of Jerusalem

and the hungry lions who are beautiful embroidered.

(this page discuss if spittle is found on the streets on Jerusalem it is presumed to be from a pure person. this page also repeats the case about discussing the amount of blood from a carcass of a donkey - or is any amount of blood considered pure. the donkey's blood comes from the gentile part of jerusalem where donkeys were fed to lions. Lions also crop up at the end of the page in the description of the beauty and craft of the curtain covering the Holy of Holies.)

shekalim 20

throwing it all away

discarding meat, money and meal-offerings that have lost their identity and origins

shekalim 19

lost & found

finding money and meat in the street

Thursday, 7 November 2013

shekalim 18

refining and reducing

refining gold down to it's essential pure weight


the amounts for the min. donations of stuff for the temple

(this page describes the menorah made of pure gold, when gold was refined down to it's essential weight. also on this page is the minimum amount of frankincense to be donated - a fistful. although there is a discussion as to whose fist this is referring to)

shekalim 17

the temple had only one key, but thirteen gates...

what trickled, then gushed out after the key was thrown to heaven?

(this page continues the list of the 13 temple gates, including the water gate. there is a brief description that in the future a thin trickle of water will flow out from the Holy of Holies, expanding to eventually forming a strong unstoppable current. there is another story that when Jehochian, one of the last kings of Judah, realised that the Babylonians were coming and the temple will be destroyed, he took the temple key and threw it up to heaven. a hand came out and caught it. After the destruction of the temple, the tribe of Judah - the Jews - went to Babylon... and thus began diaspora.
The 13 gates in this collage are 13 frontispieces from various editions of the Talmud. which often depict a gate. and on whose pages a single verse can expand into a wide ocean of interpretation and discussion....)

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

shekalim 16

fire & water

the king's reign and dynasty begins with oil, anointed next to water.
to lead a people whose defining book began with white and black fire amongst the waves of the great sea.

(discussed on this page is the ark and it's contents. a horn of anointing oil was kept in the ark. this oil was used to anoint kings at the beginning of their dynasty, establishing their monarchy, the ceremony to be done next to a river. Also in the ark are the tablets, both the broken first set and the whole second set. The tablets are described as being engraved with letters and details in-between like the small and large waves of the great sea. I am struck that the kings, and priests, were anointed with oil. making them highly flammable... to be leaders of a people whose Torah is described as white fire engraved on black fire.)

Monday, 4 November 2013

shekalim 15

need for discretion & secret places:
the place to give and receive charity
the hiding place of the ark.

(two places of secrecy. the chamber of secrets where people give charity anonymously and others come and take when in need. the other place is where the ark was hidden. but there are two deaths on this page. one is a man who was covered in boils and appealed to Nahum of Gam Zo who was taking a gift to his father in law's house. Nahum didn't stop and the man died. Nahum cursed himself and felt responsible for this death. appealing directly to others for charity can be fatal if the vital needs are not met. The other death is a priest who, when working in the temple, noticed one of the flagstones was uneven, realised this is where the ark is hidden, went to tell someone and a fire came out and burnt him. if only things were kept within the hidden secret chamber)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

shekalim 14

some things are family secrets & unknown stories - like what really happened to the bride..

but when it comes to money matters, information needs to be shared and checked.

(this page details the list in the mishna of who does what in the Temple. Nehuya dug wells for the pilgrims, as he knew where the water was. but his son dies of thirst... a story is told of another well-digger whose daughter was swept away by a river she was crossing on her way to getting married. the man refused to be consoled and there was a rumour that she had survived the river, either by clinging onto a branch or by an angel in the form of R. Pinchas b. Yair.. later in the page we hear of two families, the ones who make the shewbread and the ones who prepare the incense, refusing to teach others their techniques. In contrast to this is the principle that when it comes to communal funds there should be at least 2 officials to check the accounts.)

shekalim 13

counting & classifying, listing & structuring
- this is what counts as learning and wisdom

but sometime information is only known by those who can understand what is said through the hands

(this page describes scribes as those who count ie they numerically order, list and catergorise Torah. the ability to abstract and structure Jewish law and learning. but there are 2 very similiar stories of a drought and mute communicating through hands and gestures where barley is growing.)

Friday, 1 November 2013

shekalim 12

waiting for the blemishes to appear
deconsecrating the sacred.

(both the priest and the animal offering have to be without blemish. this page discusses the different situations and solutions of property consecrated to the temple, but not used as sacrifices - turned out to graze til blemishes appear? used to pay the artisans?)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

shekalim 11

what the mother gives to her son, the priest, actually belongs to all.
but, the leftover incense is gathered together and is given as payment to one particularly special family.
not to all....

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

shekalim 10

the money-changers role in paying the workers before the work was done, keeps the money circulating and no misuse of temple property.

(the stonecutters for the temple were paid from the temple treasury. the wages would be paid by the money changers. once the work was done, the money from the treasury were piled on the stone, transferring sanctity from coin to stone. these coins then went to repay the money-changers)

Monday, 28 October 2013

shekalim 9

having a head of bread leads to lack of clarity about the measures of wine and blood.
and lack of clarity leads to frustration and kicking out
and lack of clarity about the mitzvot ultimately stops the dead being resurrected and prevents Eliyahu coming.

(in discussion about how much blood in a mule's carcass needs to be there for it to be impure, R. Beivai kicks R. Yitzchak b. Kahana in frustration. he explains this lashing out that he was frustrated, lacked clarity and peace of mind, anxious like someone who relies on buying bread for immediate food rather than buying wheat for a year. the discussion compares the measure with the minimum amount of wine carried on shabbat before being liable for carrying on shabbat. Later in the page there is a chain of events that begins with clarity of mind about the mitzvot leads to cleanliness, purity, holiness, and ultimately, resurrection of the dead, and Eliyahu announcing the Messiah)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

shekalim 8

the responsibility is on the money collectors to appear to be trustworthy, so no pockets or places to hide coins.

but curses on the Matronita who pointed out R. Yona's shinning face, and his seven week hangover.

(bit of a double standard on this page. begins by discussing that the people who collect the communal money cannot wear anything within which coins could be hidden, so they cannot be accused of stealing. the responsibility is with them not on the viewer. Later in the page a Matronita remarks on R. Yona's shinning face and speculates that he is drunk. This is R. Yona who has a hangover til Shavuot after drinking 4 cups of wine on Pesach. R. Yona does not take responsibility for his misleading appearance, says his face shines dues to his wisdom, and curses her.)

Saturday, 26 October 2013

shekalim 7

when one quotes the dead
you mark their grave
and give them wine to drink beyond the grave

(following the previous discussion about what to do with money leftover from setting it aside for various offerings, the talmud now discusses using money leftover from other mitzvot - freeing captives, burials, etc. there is a comment that one does not need to erect a monument on a scholar's grave as their words are the mark, and how they will be remembered. Later it is described that when one quotes a dead scholar, it is as if the dead are drinking wine in the grave)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

shekalim 6

when spare change becomes money to burn.

the spare change that is leftover after you've given to the temple, depending on how you count your money and what you are buying, that change isn't spare but belongs to the temple.

this page discusses the situations when one has set aside money for offerings of one type or another to the temple, it hasn't cost as much as the money set aside - what to do with this money? is this money consecrated to the temple and can only be used for offerings, or it yours to spend....  depending on how you count the coins, or on what offering, it's consecrated and should go to the temple.

shekalim 5

when does something become Temple property?
when it is given, or when it is received?
- what if it never made it?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

shekalim 4

because coins come in different measures and sizes, certain people need to add a little extra to make it equivalent to the fiery coin found under God's throne.

(discussion about the premium added to the half-shekel, to compensate for the variants in the size of coins. as for the half-shekel, description of God showing Moshe a coin of fire from beneath God's Throne. Even God finds loose change at the back of the sofa....)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

shekalim 3

the 15th of Adar was a busy day..
setting up the money-changers' tables, marking out graves, piercing ears, civic repairs, making the Sotah drink...
it's a lot to do with a Purim hangover.

(this page lists various activities that happened on the 15th of Adar - repairs to public structures - roads, wells, graves etc; hard to see how piercing slaves' ears and making the Sotah drink the bitter water is for the public good. but that's hangovers for you. - and yes this is a little bit anachronistic. Sotah was done in the 1st temple, and Purim happened after the temple was destroyed... but Sotah is a little bit anachronistic)

Monday, 21 October 2013

shekalim 2

on the first of Adar:
announce the annual collection of money from different lands
& announce the prohibition of mixed planting

(Shekalim deals with the communal fund that pays for the communal offerings in the temple. all men had to give half a shekel on the 1st of Adar so that the funds would be there for Nisan. Discussed on this page is the notion that money from those living far away from Jerusalem, eg the Jews in Bavel, would take a while to get to the temple. Hence the different currencies in the collage, in a fruit/grape like arrangement echoing the other announcement on 1st Adar about mixed planting - mixed currencies)

I decided to do mesechet shekalim as a collage because... well... for no good reason other than when I have explained this project to others and mentioned that I will be tackling each section with different drawing materials eg, pencil, ink, biro, watercolour, sepia, I always say: except for collage... and so I thought: why not collage?
dadaaa - collage. Shekalim is short, only 21 pages. how tedious can it get?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

goodbye pesachim

goodbye mesechet pesachim....

from searching for chammetz during the Or, light, which is night, to ruling that hands might become impure at midnight. Mesechet Brachot has basically covered, with quite a lot of diversion into demon territory, the 24 hour cycle starting with the eve of Pesach, 14th Nisan, til midnight on first night seder night, the 15th Nisan. 

it has been a packed 24 hours over the 120 pages, and there has been slightly strange feeling time throughout. Outside of daf yomi it has been summer going into autumn, with the festivals of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succot and yet been learning and thinking about seder night. But there was one day during succot where the daf mentioned lulav and etrog.

and this mesechet I have been very pushed for time. with my work at JW3 that opened to the public a few weeks ago, with travel to New Zealand, Israel - hey, on a bad day the North Circular in London can turn a long journey into something truly tedious. Regular readers may have spotted some gaps. apologies to those who have been following this blog. Whilst I largely kept up with the drawing-a-day routine, uploading those drawings to this blog was sometimes just that one task too many on my to-do list.... 

Goodbye mesechet pesachim, with your insights into Temple life, demonology, and learning that in every generation on seder night, somebody dozed off or fell asleep.

onwards - to mesechet shekalim....