Job in the Synagogue

Many books of the Hebrew Bible are read in synagogue. The Torah is read in full on a yearly cycle, with one of 54 Torah portions read each week (sometimes two are combined so that the Torah is completed in the year). Likewise, selections from the prophets (haftaraot) are also read each week. Five megillot […]

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Summary of the Book of Job

Job is one of three books in the Bible which, collectively, are known as the Wisdom Literature. (The other two are Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.) Unlike the other books of the Bible which deal more specifically with the Jewish people, these deal with universal questions about justice, piety and the nature of the universe. In fact, […]

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Who Was Job’s Wife?

Job’s wife has no name and only a single line in his story, and yet I find her unforgettable — one of the most enigmatic characters in the entire Bible. Recall that Job’s story begins when God makes a bet with Satan that his pious servant Job will continue to be faithful even if his […]

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Beitzah 29

In a mishnah at the bottom of yesterday’s daf, we learn a fairly straightforward rule: A person may not say to a butcher on a festival: Weigh for me a dinar’s worth of meat. But the butcher may slaughter an animal and apportion it without stipulating a price. As has been well established by our […]

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Beitzah 28

Today’s daf introduces us to two people we may not have met before in our journey through the Talmud — Rabbi Malkiyu and Rabbi Malkiyah. Neither appears a lot in the Talmud, so their mention here is an opportunity to explore them in more depth.  We first meet Rabbi Malkiyu, a fourth-generation Babylonian Amora (later rabbi) in […]

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Beitzah 25

Don’t chew with your mouth open. Keep your elbows off the tables. Don’t begin eating until everyone’s been served. Every community has its guidelines for proper manners. Today’s daf takes a breather from detailing halakhic requirements to consider some of these softer rules in rabbinic life. Here is how the rabbis come to the discussion: A mishnah […]

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Beitzah 22

Today’s page is governed largely by two mishnahs about Rabban Gamliel. The first lists three stringencies that he held — aspects of festival observance that he followed in accordance with the opinion of Beit Shammai and not Beit Hillel. (They were: Not insulating food cooked on the festival to enjoy on Shabbat, not setting up […]

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