Monday, August 3, 2015

3 years down, 4.5 to go

If you have been around long enough to follow this thread, then you know this is about the Daf Yomi which I am just about at the half way point.

The 7 and a half year cycle to read and learn through all of the Babylonian Talmud.

My posts from the 1st year anniversary and 2nd year anniversary in case you want to know more about it all.

What have we learned this year?

Currently we are in the midst of Nedarim or loosely translated as vows and not just simple things but serious "I will not do this EVER" type vows. And of course, how to get out of these vows, if necessary and the consequences of making such vows.

Last August we were just finishing Megillah all about Persia, Purim, Esther and Mordechai and of course the good and bad ways of the world.

We rolled into Moed Katan which discussed the interim days known as Chol Hamoed, which are the middle days between the beginning of the holiday of Passover and Sukot and the ending of them. Naturally there are discussions about cooking, carrying, what prayers to say, or not and a very practical book.

Next up was Chagigah which went into more details around the 3 Pilgrimage festivals, Passover, Shavuot and Sukot. More stories than laws and discussions about the creation of the world, the universe and some similar mystical/mythical (depending on your view) topics. It then leads into a discussion on ritual purity.

The next section was Yevamot, the first tractate in the section called Nashim or Women. Yevamot deals with the Levirate marriage. Levirate marriage, for those that don't know, this is a simple explanation, is when a man dies and has no children to carry on his name and if he has a brother that brother would take the widow as a secondary or primary wife and have kids. While this may sound crazy to modern people, the laws around this are still followed, not the polygamy stuff, but there are documentation required to be satisfied, think of it as a prenuptial religious relinquishment. It is an interesting tractate once you understand all the relationships and names for everyone. There is a study guide that all it has is charts of who/how can be married to each other. It is that complicated to follow the lineage.

And just before Nedarim we did Ketubot. I had previously learned Ketubot, which is about marriage, marriage contracts, dowries, divorce, age of consent and documentation. The marriage contract in Judaism is called a Ketuba and tends to be elaborate artistic efforts surrounding the actual text. Like ancient illuminated manuscripts, this tradition continues on to this day. I'd show you mine, but it is still boxed as we never unpacked the hanging items when we moved. Google has numerous images here.

While I don't get to do it every day, I tend to catch up a lot on shabbat.

This year coming up will include some out there topics, like Nazir on Nazirites and Gitin which is about divorce.

Here's to 3 and a half more years

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