Since I began the Daf Yomi cycle, I’ve been wondering how accurately the Talmud reflects the actual practices of the Jews of its time. The rabbis in the Talmudic academies spent their lives learning the complex laws governing everything from Sabbath boundaries to ritual sacrifices, and even they often disagree on the exact scope of those laws. How could the average Jewish farmhand or wagon driver be expected to know all the details, much less to observe them? The question is especially interesting for modern American Jews, who generally don’t observe Jewish law very carefully, but still see themselves as part of a Jewish community. Was it the same for our ancestors in ancient Babylonia?Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links. An earlier column that also deals with the am haaretz (am ha-aretz), the "people of the land," was noted here
The question is impossible to answer fully, but the Talmud offers some hints. ...
I am currently well behind on these columns. I will catch up as time permits.
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