Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beginning with Berakhot

The Talmud Bavli begins with an important question: תנא היכא קאי? Literally, "where was the Tanna standing" when he started this discussion?

The question applies directly to the opening line of the Mishnah, about the times for keri'at Shema at night. The Gemara answers that the Tanna was coming from the verse in the Torah that requires keri'at Shema twice a day.

But the question also applies to the first perek, the first massekhet, and the first seder. Why do we begin the Talmud here? Why with Shema? Why with Massekhet Berakhot? Why with Seder Zera'im?

Hello World!

The 13th cycle of Daf Yomi begins on Friday!

There are so many tools out there now—Artscroll, Mesivta, Steinsaltz, this thing called the Internet, these things called sefarim—I'm thinking that I'll find something to write about once a week or so.

There's no plan other than that. We'll see where this goes.

Mazal tov to all the mesayyemim and hatslaḥah (or hatzlochoh, not even sure what voice I'll be using) with the upcoming cycle!