Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Talmud and sacred airspace

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Cooking Times and Air Rights. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis determine the finer points of animal sacrifice and follow their logical reasoning to the limits of the absurd.
Tractate Zevachim is all about the recognition that, when human beings come together to slaughter animals, things will sometimes go wrong: An animal will wander into the wrong area of the Temple, or the blood will spill on a priest’s robe, or a burning limb will fall off the pyre. A realistic Judaism has to make provisions for what to do when the physical world fails to obey the strict laws of the spiritual world. Rather than see such ruptures as defeats—evidence that the physical can never achieve the perfection of the spiritual—the rabbis see them as opportunities. By extending the safety net of the law to cover moments of error and lapse, the Talmud brings them back within the orbit of the divine.
Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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