Abundance in Ancient Israel: Talmudic Accounts of Extraordinary Fruits and Families (Berakhot 44a)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
2d ago
Outline The nature of the fruits of Genosar The effects of the fruits of Genosar King Yannai’s city on King’s Mountain that produced 600,000 bowls of sardines weekly for those cutting figs off the trees King Yannai’s tree on King’s Mountain that produced 40 se’a of pigeons from 3 broods each month 80 pairs of priestly brothers married to 80 pairs of priestly sisters in Gufnit The passage Berakhot.44a.3-6 The nature of the fruits of Genosar The Talmudic passage describes the extraordinary nature of the fruits of Genosar:1 Rabba bar bar Ḥana narrates that when visiting R' Yoḥanan to ..read more
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Mapping the Afterlife: The Locations of the Entrances to Gehenna and the Garden of Eden, and the Names of Gehenna (Eruvin 19a)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
3d ago
Outline The locations of the entrances to Gehenna The Names of Gehenna The location of the entrance to the Garden of Eden The passage Eruvin.19a.12-20 The locations of the entrances to Gehenna R' Yirmeya ben Elazar teaches that there are three entrances to Gehenna: in the wilderness, the sea, and Jerusalem.  This claim is questioned in the Talmud, which brings up an additional possible entrance mentioned by R' Maryon (רבי מריון) or Rabba bar Maryon (רבה בר מריון), citing the school of R' Yoḥanan ben Zakkai (בי רבי יוחנן בן זכאי). They describe two date trees (תמרות) in the valley ..read more
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Supernatural Fruit and Fatal Beauty: R' Yosei of Yokrat, the “merciless” sage who wished his son and daughter to die (Taanit 23b-24a)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
5d ago
Taanit.23b.15-24a.5 Pt1 The Talmud recounts a story about R' Yosei bar Avin, who at first studied with R' Yosei of Yokrat, but at some point left to study under Rav Ashi.  Rav Ashi did not initially recognize him. One day, R' Yosei bar Avin qualified Rav Ashi's statement about a certain Shabbat law cited in the name of Shmuel (I elide this part, which is technical and not related to the story). Rav Ashi (who, as mentioned, didn’t recognize him) questioned why this unknown questioner didn't attribute this statement to R' Yosei bar R' Avin! To which R' Yosei bar Avin revealed his identity ..read more
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Perilous Pairs: More on the Dangers of Pairs, Demons, and Witchcraft (Pesachim 110a-b)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
6d ago
See footnote for alternative titles.1 See also my previous piece on the danger of “pairs”, also from this same sugya. Outline Incident with Rava bar Livai after drinking “pairs” Demons harm those who perform actions in pairs Remedy for one who inadvertently goes outside after drinking an even number of cups of wine An incantation against witches, from the chief witch The danger of pairs in Eretz Yisrael; Rav Dimi from Neharde’a “Consuming two eggs, two nuts, two cucumbers, and ‘another thing’ is dangerous in pairs” Intro The Passage Pesachim.110a.10-110b.3 Incident with Rava bar ..read more
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Pairs, Planks, and Potions: Three Talmudic Tales of Witchcraft (Pesachim 110b and Sanhedrin 67b)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
1w ago
See also my previous piece on the story in the Talmud Yerushalmi of Shimon ben Shetah and the 80 witches of Ashkelon. Story of a woman using witchcraft to kill her ex-husband (Pesachim 110b) Pesachim.110b.5-6 The Talmud tells a story of a man who divorced his wife, who then married a wine shopkeeper (חנואה). The first husband frequented the shop to drink wine. His ex-wife attempted to harm him through witchcraft, but these efforts failed, as he was cautious about “pairs”.1  One day, he drank excessively, losing track of pairs after 16 cups. In his drunken state, he unwittingly left the sh ..read more
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Explosive Endings: Two Talmudic Tales of Supernaturally Killing Via Explosion (Shabbat 30b and Moed Katan 17a-b)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
1w ago
For other stories of supernatural explosions, see my piece on Rava and Bar-Sheshakh (פקע עיניה), and my forthcoming piece on the sugya at the end of Tractate Pesachim (פקע שידא and פקע חביתא) Story of Supernaturally killing someone with wine (Shabbat 30b) Shabbat.30b.8 The Talmud recounts incidents where Sages dealt with people making potentially very harmful false claims about their families’ personal statuses. One man claimed that R' Yehuda HaNasi's wife and children were his.1 R' Yehuda HaNasi offered him wine, which caused the man to burst and die after drinking it.  Similarly, anothe ..read more
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Rabbis Incognito: Generic, Anonymous, and Group Referents in the Talmud
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
1w ago
Intro Within the Talmud, various referents are used to attribute statements, teachings, and opinions. These referents can be generic, anonymous, or represent groups rather than individuals.1 Outline Rabbanan (רבנן) - Rabbis Chachamim (חכמים) - Sages Mar (מר) - [the] Master V'yesh Omrim (ויש אומרים) - And Some Say Beit Midrash of Rabbi/Rav (דבי רבי / דבי רב) - The School of Rabbi/Rav Acherim (אחרים) - Others Savi/Zekeni (סבי / זקני) - The Elders B'Maarava (במערבא) - In the West No identifier at all Rabbanan (רבנן) - Rabbis The term "רבנן" (Rabbanan) is best translated as "th ..read more
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“Teach me the Book of Genealogies”: Anecdote of R' Simlai and R' Yoḥanan (Pesachim 62b)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
1w ago
Intro R' Simlai approached R' Yoḥanan and asked to be taught the Book of Genealogies (ספר יוחסין), understood to be a midrash on the biblical Book of Chronicles.  R' Yoḥanan inquired about his origins and current residence, and upon learning Simlai was from Lod and resided in Neharde’a, he refused, citing a tradition against teaching Lodites and Neharde’ans.  R' Simlai persisted until R' Yoḥanan reluctantly agreed. Simlai then requested to learn the Book of Genealogies in 3 months. R' Yoḥanan, exasperated, threw a clod of dirt at him and explained that even Berurya, a highly capable ..read more
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The Purse, the Grave, and the Lentil: A Dramatic Talmudic Tale of Trust and Treachery (Yoma 83b)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
1w ago
Intro Hebrew Wikipedia, שם המעיד על בעליו – ויקיפדיה, my translation:1 A name that reflects its bearer is a name of a person or place which, according to the principle of “names have an impact” (שמא גרים - Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berakhot, 7a, and the Latin equivalent: nomen est omen = "the name is a sign"), indicates the traits or essence of its subject.  The Passage Yoma.83b.12-17 Pt1 R' Meir, R’ Yehuda, and R' Yosei2 were traveling together. R' Meir had a practice of analyzing names to discern a person's character, while the other two did not. They sought lodging at an inn, and w ..read more
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“Today is Yom Kippur, and several virgins had sex in Neharde’a”: Anecdotes of Sinning on Yom Kippur (Yoma 19b-20a)
Talmud & Tech
by Ezra Brand
1w ago
The Passage Yoma.19b.15-20a.1 Pt1 The Talmud recounts that some of the prominent men of Jerusalem (יקירי ירושלים) would stay awake all night, so that the High Priest would hear the noise of them talking, and not fall asleep due to the city's silence.  Abba Shaul taught that this practice was done outside the Temple (גבולין) as well, as a remembrance of the tradition, but it led to sin.  מיקירי ירושלים לא היו ישנין כל הלילה,  כדי שישמע כהן גדול קול הברה  ולא תהא שינה חוטפתו.  תניא,  אבא שאול אמר:  אף בגבולין היו עושין כן,  זכר למקדש,  ..read more
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