Category: Rabbinic Literature

Beer, Wine, and Bal Tashchit in the Talmud with Professor Tanhum Yoreh

The newest episode of Jewish Drinking: The Show is now out! With featured guest Professor Tanhum Yoreh, Rabbi Drew Kaplan discusses Rav Pappa’s statement in the Talmud that, if one could drink beer or wine, yet chooses wine transgresses the rabbinic prohibition against wastefulness (Shabbat 140b). Having written his doctoral dissertation on bal tashchit, Professor […]

Were Grapes the Fruit that Adam and Eve Ate?

Although I know you’re probably thinking “What does the fruit that Adam and Eve ate have to do with drinking?” And that’s a great question! Wine/Grapevine? It turns out there is a rabbinic text that associates wine with this fruit (bBerakhot 40a & bSanhedrin 70a-b): תניא רבי מאיר אומר אותו אילן שאכל אדם הראשון ממנו […]

Initial Considerations on the מסובין Incidents in the Tosefta

There is a curious story in the Passover Haggadah that I wanted to explore: מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־עֲזַרְיָה וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְרַבִּי טַרְפוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ מְסֻבִּין בִּבְנֵי־בְרַק וְהָיוּ מְסַפְּרִים בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם כָּל־אוֹתוֹ הַלַּיְלָה, עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ תַלְמִידֵיהֶם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶם רַבּוֹתֵינוּ הִגִּיעַ זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁל שַׁחֲרִית The incident of Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi […]

Drinking & Praying? How Do the Rabbis Approach Drunken Prayer?

With Purim upon us this week and the attendant drinking that occurs, it’s fitting to wonder about the appropriateness of praying while intoxicated (or its inappropriateness). So: what do the Talmudic rabbis have to say about it? Tannaitic Exemption One clear tannaitic text that discusses this issue finds that one should not pray while drunk […]

“והשתיה כדת”: Considering Rabbi Meir’s Reading [Megillah 12a]

Recently, someone pointed out to me a curious drinking text related to Purim (Megillah 12a): והשתיה כדת – מאי כדת אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי מאיר כדת של תורה מה דת של תורה אכילה מרובה משתיה אף סעודתו של אותו רשע אכילה מרובה משתיה “And the drinking was according to law” (Esther 1.8) – What […]

Abba Shaul’s Bone Forensics Concerning Wine [Niddah 24b]

A rather curious text occurs featuring Abba Shaul discussing his experiences as someone who buried corpses (Niddah 24b): תניא אבא שאול אומר קובר מתים הייתי והייתי מסתכל בעצמות של מתים השותה יין חי עצמותיו שרופין מזוג עצמותיו סכויין כראוי עצמותיו משוחין וכל מי ששתייתו מרובה מאכילתו עצמותיו שרופין אכילתו מרובה משתייתו עצמותיו סכויין כראוי עצמותיו […]

Drinking on Purim [Megillah 7b]

Introduction One of the more familiar aspects of Purim practices is getting drunk, with Purim being one of the most drinking-heavy days on the Jewish calendar. While neither the Mishnah nor Tosefta mentions any such practice (focussing mostly on reading of Megillat Esther and secondarily on providing financial assistance to the poor), a couple of texts […]

Storing Beer in Jugs that Had Been Gentile-Owned [AZ 33b]

A huge concern for the rabbis was the consumption of gentile wine, as it could be used in libations, which was a problematic issue for the rabbis. In a discussion of using jugs that gentiles had previously owned (beginning on the bottom of AZ 33a (starting with תנו רבנן: קנקנים של עובדי כוכבים)), while the […]

The Amoraic Prohibition Against Gentile Beer? [AZ 31b]

A curious text emerges on Avodah Zarah 31b: אתמר מפני מה אסרו שכר של גוים רמי בר חמא אמר רבי יצחק משום חתנות רב נחמן אמר משום גילוי It was stated: On account of what did they forbid gentiles’ beer? Rami, son of Hama said from Rabbi Yizhak’s name: “On account of [inter]marriage.” Rav Nahman […]

Back To Top