Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday's Thoughts on the Daf - Sanhedrin 32

Sanhedrin 32 contained another of those "the daf laughs at you" moments. As you may recall from prior posts, Doniel H. (now Rabbi Doniel H.) and I, when we were learning daf together two cycles ago, came up with the theory that occasionally the daf laughs at you. The daf yomi cycle is a seven and a half year cycle where all of shas is learned, two sides of a page per day. Occasionally, one will come across a daf where the week's parsha is referenced or there is a pshat about an upcoming holiday.

Sanhedrin 32 had an extreme "the daf laughs at you moment" as the gemara gave an example of a loan document which was dated the First of Nissan. And as anyone who went to shul knows, Tuesday March 16th this year is the First of Nissan.

On Sanhedrin 32b there is a discussion of how Jews when they were living under the rule of a government which forbade the practice of religion, would give covert signals that there would be a bris or a wedding. Evoking thoughts of "one if by land, two if by sea" the gemara states that if the sound of the mill was heard loudly in Bornei it was a sign there would be a bris. Rashi explains that the sound was symbolic that medicinal herbs were being ground for the bris.

The gemara also mentions that excessive candles at a seemingly improper time was the sign that there would be a wedding. Tosafos (d'h Or) states that this is the source for the custom to light candles at a bris, although I personally have never seen this custom in practice.

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