Saturday, October 26, 2013

Finishing Tractate Pesach

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: On the Origin of Passover’s Four Questions and the Renewal of Miracles. The Talmud is not a literary text, yet its role in maintaining the continuity of Jewish history is undeniable. Excerpt:
The last pages of Pesachim, I find, are suffused with a kind of celebratory, homecoming feeling, as the rabbis finally bring the discussion around to the Passover Seder—something that, after 1,500 years, is still familiar to every practicing Jew. In fact, it is thanks to the Haggadah that most Jews know at least a little bit of the Mishnah, though they may not recognize it as such. Not until I started reading Daf Yomi did I realize that the Haggadah passages that begin “Rabban Gamliel used to say,” or similar phrases, are actually quotations from the Mishnah, following the standard pattern for attributing opinions to a sage.
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.