Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Talmud on eating leaven of a non-Jew on Passover

PASSOVER IS COMING: Hametz Owned by a Non-Jew May be Eaten on Passover?! (Dr. Joshua Kulp and Dr. Jason Rogoff,
A striking talmudic passage asserts that it is biblically permitted to eat the ḥametz of a non-Jew on Passover. How are we to explain this strange claim? What might this development teach us about the dynamics of rabbinic texts?
In this essay, we will demonstrate how the Talmud’s surprising position does not reflect a fundamental legal change in the halakhot of ḥametz on Passover. Instead, it is the result of a series of literary and interpretive impulses, which carry unintended, and in this case extreme, consequences. Tracing the development of this remarkable talmudic assertion will give us a window into how complex chains of rabbinic literary processes can sometimes lead to strange conclusions.
A technical essay, but one that illuminates the process of internal exegesis in the rabbinic literature.