Today’s daf has so many fascinating Halachot that I found it very hard to choose which idea to share. It is the first source in Shas to talk about respect for holy objects and ideas surrounding the issue of modesty. The daf contains the first reference to the prohibition on men listening to women singing.
Instead I was fascinated by the following:-
רבי אבא הוה קא משתמיט מיניה דרב יהודה, דהוה קא בעי למיסק לארעא דישראל, דאמר רב יהודה: כל העולה מבבל לארץ ישראל עובר בעשה, שנאמר: (ירמיהו כ”ז) בבלה יובאו ושמה יהיו עד יום פקדי אותם נאם ה.
“Rabbi Abba was avoiding [being seen] by [his teacher] Rav Yehuda, [as Rabbi Abba] sought to ascend to Eretz Yisrael [and his teacher disapproved], as Rav Yehuda said: anyone who ascends from Babylonia to Eretz Yisrael* transgresses a positive commandment, as it is stated: “They shall be taken to Babylonia and there they shall remain until the day that I recall them, said the Lord” (Jeremiah 27:22)”
*This is only talking about a period when the temple is not functioning in Jerusalem.
It has always struck me as strange that the Babylonian Talmud takes precedence over Palestinian/Jerusalem Talmud and many answers have been given for this. This section of the Talmud clearly states that Babylonia was a crucial centre for Jewish existence in post biblical times. This prohibition was unique to Babylonia and whilst it may not have been normative practice the sentiment of Rav Yehuda is clear.
I have a passion for books and will on occasion introduce a book that may be of interest. I have a wide taste in Jewish subjects and authors and will try and state as much as I can about the book/author etc for you to decide whether it is “kosher” enough for you 🙂
Title: A Journey Through Torah: A Critique of the Documentary Hypothesis
Author: Ben Zion Katz
Publisher: Urim (one of my favourites)
This is a short book (just over a hundred pages and lots of footnotes) which attempts to tackle a big subject. I consider it an important subject which is not dealt with often enough in the orthodox world. It is not the easiest book to read as in places it is a list of counter arguments to the proponents of the documentary hypothesis. To do it justice it may be best to learn sections with a Tanach open in front of you. The summary at the back of the book says it all really.
“The Torah is the basis of all Judaism. In traditional Jewish thought, the Torah is considered to have been dictated by God to Moses, and the text of the Torah that we possess is considered to be a record of that revelation. It has been claimed that modern, critical scholarship and traditional Judaism are irreconcilable. This book demonstrates that modern biblical scholarship is not as scientific as its proponents make it out to be, while traditional Jewish exegesis is more critical than is commonly appreciated. A synthesis of the two approaches is presented in the concluding chapter”.
Bold statements – you will need to read it to see if you agree!