Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Daf Yomi begins Avodah Zarah

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: The Talmud’s Revenge Fantasies. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ the oft-banned tractate that indulges a God ‘making sport’ with the enemies of a persecuted and oppressed people.
This week, Daf Yomi readers began Tractate Avodah Zarah, the section of the Talmud devoted to the laws forbidding idolatry. As we already learned in Tractate Sanhedrin, avodah zarah—literally, “strange worship”—is one of the most serious sins in Jewish law. Not only are Jews who worship other gods liable to be stoned to death, but Jews must avoid even mentioning the names of those gods, in accordance with Exodus 23:13: “Make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard out of your mouth.” In the Roman Empire, where images of gods were omnipresent and pagan festivals governed the calendar, this would have presented a constant challenge.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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