Thursday, 28 February 2013

shabbat 148

using something that belongs to someone else on shabbat. borrowing or loaning?

what makes it formal? writing it down, or standing up in court?

(the prohibition of commercial activities on shabbat. can borrow something but not take out a loan. defining the difference. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

apologies for the picture quality, these are photographed rather than scanned. I am in new york for the week, and may have sporadic internet access while I am here. I will still be drawing, just might not be able to upload them everyday.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

shabbat 147

grooming, cleaning, and looking beautiful

taking care of the body and taking care of clothes.

for english translation of this talmud page, see here

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

shabbat 146

making a hole & turning an object into a vessel.

like a spear puncturing a barrel. the snake pierced Eve, and contaminated her children, humanity as vessels of lust.

until they stood at Sinai.

(this page discusses if one is permitted to make a hole in a container to get access to the contents. but the page begins with R. Yohanan saying that when the snake pierced Eve, it contaminated humanity with lust, which was only removed for Israel when they stood at Sinai. for english translation of this Talmud page, see here)

Monday, 25 February 2013

shabbat 145

drawing the line when one can speak and when to remain silent.
hearing something from others can be equivalent to seeing with the eye, when there is a continuous line of reliable teachers and students, and no women.

but for R. Yohanan. the dividing line is that one can only speak when you truly know something. like you know that sleeping with your sister, your very beautiful sister, is forbidden.

(in the discussion about if one can squeeze fish for brine, R. Dimi defends his quotation from Rav citing a reliable chain and says that he saw it with his eye. there is a debate if hearsay testimony is permitted in the case of being a witness that a woman's husband is dead and she can remarry. or perhaps that is the only case when a woman's testimony is valid. Later in the page, R. Yohanan overhears two rabbis discussing differences between Bavel and Israel. He rebukes them for their ignorance by citing that should only speak when the matter is obvious, as obvious as sleeping with your sister is forbidden. we know from Bava Metzia that R. Yohanan thought his sister was very beautiful, more beautiful than him... for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

shabbat 144

what makes a liquid something significant and noteworthy?

can the individual define a case? like a drop of red can stain water

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

Saturday, 23 February 2013

shabbat 143

squeezing liquid from a food

that may make even bread unusable

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

Friday, 22 February 2013

shabbat 142

strange way to move and sort objects
by shaking
or using a baby

for english translation of this talmud page, see here

Thursday, 21 February 2013

shabbat 141

taking care of shoes
& the perils of wearing new shoes, broken shoes or ill-fitting shoes on shabbat

(this page discusses various aspects connected with shoes. how to clean shoes on shabbat, and not wearing inappropriate shoes that may break, fall off or just be uncomfortable, and would cause the wearer to take them off and carry them. women's shoes are identified as women are particular in wear correctly fitting shoes. Included on this page is advice about applying oil to new shoes to soften the leather. Having recently purchased a pair of doc martens, I appreciated the advice on websites dedicated to how to break in DM's, apply baby-oil. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

shabbat 140

cure for a heavy-heart

& R. Hisdah's advice to poor students to keep body & soul together
and to his daughters, to hide their bodies

(on this page a drink made from fennel water as a cure for a heavy-heart. and R. Hisdah gives advice to be frugal for poor torah students, and to his daughters to be modest and not reveal their bodily functions, and that concealment is more enticing. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

shabbat 139

when society crumbles, look to the leaders and officials for who to blame.
and to the torah scholars who keep the corrupt judges, and people, in ignorance.

and know when and how to filter out the dregs.

(this page continues the discussion about Torah being forgotten and holds Torah scholars do not teach properly, only teach selectively, and keep the judges, and people in ignorance. later in the page is taught the prohibition of filtering the dregs from wine on Shabbat. selecting, choosing one over the other.  In the drawing there are 3 seated figures, a bet din, a Jewish tribunal is usually made of 3 seated judges. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Monday, 18 February 2013

shabbat 138

perils of wearing a big hat in the wind & forgetting torah

things leave our head, and there is no shelter

(the prohibition of building a tent, including discussing if a big hat with a wide brim is like a tent. and what happens if it blows off in the wind. and later on in the page, quotes Rav famous teaching that Torah is destined to be forgotten. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

shabbat 137

drops of blood become stars in the heaven

"were it not for the drops from the blood of the covenant the heaven and earth would not be sustained"
from the blessing said at a brit milah

for english translation of this talmud page, see here

Saturday, 16 February 2013

shabbat 136

male or female
dead or alive

some things exist in the grey space in-between.

(this page discusses if transgender is considered male for circumcision but not male for other issues. and if a baby who dies before 30 days could have considered to have lived, or are they like a stillborn. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Friday, 15 February 2013

shabbat 135

we are all enslaved in one form or another.

if the mother is a slave then the baby is circumcised at 1 day
but if the mother is an eved hashem - slave to God, and accepted Sinai, then the baby is circumcised at 8 days.

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

Thursday, 14 February 2013

shabbat 134

who knows best?

Abaye learns from his mother how to care for a newborn.
whereas, R. Natan instructs mothers who come to him for guidance.

who is the expert?

(this page has a few instances of caring for a newborn. specifically around circumcision, and more generally. Abaye lists various things he learnt from his mother about caring for a newborn, including when to delay circumcision. R. Natan speaks of 2 instances where he advises to delay, the mother is nervous about circumcising her son as she has 2 other children who have died. The connection between mother and child does not always mean mother knows best. it depends on what the mother has been through... this drawing is based on the first photo of me holding my own newborn babe... I'm not sure I knew best.. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

shabbat 133

inky fingers & blood on their hands
3 types of skilled professionals: the sofer, the mohel, and the doctor

the sofer can make the mitzvot beautiful
but the mohel can be excommunicated and struck off
and the doctor can be made redundant if the rabbis teach all the healing secrets

(the sofer, an expert scribe, is an example of making mitzvot beautiful to God. if the mohel does not complete the circumcision he is punished with karet, excommunication. if he endangers the infant he is to be removed from his position. later in the page Abaye and Rava explain what makes a healing bandage. the doctor of Mehoza's son are upset as this would deprive them of a livelihood.  for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

shabbat 132

going round in circles

trying to derive the connection between brit milah and shabbat. can follow various paths but comes back to the number 8.

(the obligation of circumcision, brit milah, on the 8th day overrides prohibitions of shabbat. the discussion uses various methods to find a textual source, with words and comparisons to other commands. but the discussion circles back to the verses that say "on the 8th day." for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Monday, 11 February 2013

shabbat 131

special cases.

explaining R. Eliezer. when performing a mitzvah overrides shabbat prohibitions.

and what cases can and cannot be used to derive this principle to apply to others.

(although performing a circumcision is prohibited work on shabbat, the obligation to do this at 8 days overrides shabbat. R.Eliezer holds that other obligations also override shabbat but each need to be derived on a case by case basis as they each have unique aspects to them. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

shabbat 130

knives for a shabbat circumcision should be carried uncovered.

but wouldn't it be safer to always carry them covered, despite the political context

(this chapter discusses performing circumcision on shabbat. it begins with R. Eliezer saying that one should carry the knife uncovered on shabbat. but if it is dangerous to do so, because there is a decree banning circumcision, then one should carry the knife covered. for english translation of this page, see here)

shabbat 129

(bloodletting diagram from 1517)

'red replaces red' - drinking wine post-bloodletting. may not help you but drinking til it comes out your ears and your spleen is swimming in wine, you probably won't notice the damage.

(bloodletting. the days of the week and month that would be dangerous to do this. and what to do after one's bloodletting session. it is bizarre to think today that this was a cure, and remained part of medicine even up to 19th century. today bloodletting and cutting to relieve pain is called self-harming. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Friday, 8 February 2013

shabbat 128

establishing the bond between mother and newborn.

and letting go.

(this page discusses that one is able to help an animal to give birth on the sabbath, and suggestions of how to encourage the mother to bond with the newborn if the mother is showing that she is distancing herself from it. earlier in the page when discussing about carrying various animals on shabbat, it compares them with a woman who helps her child walk, and permitted to carrying them on shabbat in public domain only once they are able to lift their feet up and walk independently. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Thursday, 7 February 2013

shabbat 127

is it so unrealistic to hope that what type of hospitality goes on behind closed and locked doors is NO ONE's business. and there is no need to speculate and judge. even favourably.

so, if you are going to tell a tale, tell a nice story.

(included in the list of things one is rewarded for both in this world and in the next world are hospitality and judging other people favourably. Some examples are given of people judging favourably being blessed that others should judge their actions well. Two of the examples are of men being alone with a woman overnight, one a freed slave, the other a Roman woman. In both stories the men go to immerse themselves in the mikveh, something happened that made them ritually impure. They ask their students what they thought went on and the students reply with various theories, but do not accuse them of sleeping with these women. The rabbis confirm these theories and bless the students for judging favourably... who knows what really happened. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

shabbat 126

action v thought
not necessary to do something, just thought can create a reality.

but telling a story is always more compelling.

(discussing about planning to use certain things on shabbat, if just designating them in thought is enough or do you have to perform an action to prepare them for use. there is a disagreement between 2 anonymous texts, the talmud decides that the one which tells a story of something happening makes a stronger case. for english translation of this page, see here)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

shabbat 125

and the discussion of 'what is an object' continues
what is not a vessel?

if it is made from raw materials, too small to be useful, or attached to the ground.

but if the broken part of a vessel can be used in same way...
...then it is the same type of vessel.

just smaller

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

Monday, 4 February 2013

shabbat 124

an object can be moved on shabbat if it is needed, or it's place is needed.

but the object cannot be moved to the shade to protect it from the sun.

(drawing shows fabric rotting and decaying in a similar pattern to sun damaged skin-cells. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

shabbat 123

professional knives need to stay sharp and so shouldn't be used on shabbat.

so, don't touch or even move the shoemaker's knife, the butcher's knives, the carpenter's drawknife; or paper-cutter's knife.

(this week, I couldn't find the scalpel I use for paper-cutting, so had to buy another one. so if you earn your living from your tools, best not to use them for just anything, as might lose them as well as damage them...)

Saturday, 2 February 2013

shabbat 122

very big hammer
very small nut

using tools that are designed for labour that is prohibited on shabbat.

Friday, 1 February 2013

shabbat 121

getting one's hands dirty...

cover up or remove.

dealing with the murky and harmful stuff of life. deal with it straightaway, with the hands. but it needs to be dealt with.

(discussion about having God's name written on one's skin, should it be covered before immersing in water. or is immersion in water something that needs to be done immediately and so doesn't need to be covered. later on the page there is a discussion about covering feces or scorpions with a bowl. or can they be carried out immediately as it is disgusting. or killed immediately as act of prevention. for english translation of this talmud page, see here)