Talmud Tips

For the week ending 23 February 2013 / 12 Adar I 5773

Shabbat 142 - 149

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Handling muktzah in hand of child or on top of barrel of fruit
  • When muktzah can be moved by placing child or bread on it
  • Removing bones and shells from a table and using a sponge
  • Saving wine running out of a broken barrel
  • Making juice from fruit and using juice which came out of it
  • Squeezing out the liquid from fish, pickled and cooked vegetables
  • Soaking and rinsing foods with hot water
  • Two ways of viewing the Sages of Babylon
  • Two views on when our people shed mankinds primeval impurity
  • Breaking open a container to enjoy its contents
  • Avoiding something done privately because publicly it arouses suspicion
  • When clothes can be considered forbidden to carry
  • Drying a wet body and carrying the towel
  • Bodily care and dangers of indulgence
  • Borrowing food and drink from a neighbor
  • Forbidden reading and division of food portions
  • The horrors of Nebuchadnetzer

When Clothes "Make the Man"

  • Shabbat 146b

Why are the Sages of Babylon so particular about their dress?

This, among other differences between Eretz Yisrael and Babylon, were being discussed by two Eretz Yisrael Sages, Rabbi Chiya bar Abba and Rabbi Asi. These two disciples of Rabbi Yochanan speculated on these matters while their master was dozing nearby.

The reason they came up with was that the Sages in Babylon were not sufficiently great in their Torah knowledge to merit the respect of the public and therefore relied on the dignified appearance they made.

Rabbi Yochanan overheard their explanation and, upon fully awakening, rebuked them for reaching conclusions in matters in which they lacked clarity of understanding. When asked for his own answer, Rabbi Yochanan took a more generous approach to these foreign Sages who were sometimes viewed as competitors to the Eretz Yisrael Sages.

"Because," he explained, "they are not in their own country. This is the meaning of the folk saying that in my own city I am respected for my name alone but outside of it I have to rely on my attire. "

What the Sages Say

"Travel to a place where you can study Torah with others and do not say that the Torah will come to you; for your colleagues will ensure that you hold on to your Torah knowledge and you must not rely only on your own intelligence."

  • Rabbi Nehorai - Shabbat 147b

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