Monday, 29 June 2015

Nedarim 37: Educating Children on Shabbat

Addressing the question of ways that one might benefit even though a vow forbade it, our last Mishna included the idea that one cannot teach Bible directly to that person.  However, he can teach Bible to his sons and daughters.  Today's daf digs into that question.

Some competing facts that are presented or understood through today's daf:

  • Teaching is work and should not be done on Shabbat
  • Teaching verses for the first time is difficult and will take away from rest on Shabbat
  • children are generally taught Bible through repetition of one verse until children can read and understand it on their own
  • Repeating verses already taught is permitted on Shabbat
  • Teaching minors is different from teaching adults, though sometimes similar guidelines are used when discussing teaching children and Torah scholars
  • If one is paid for teaching children Bible on Shabbat, they are paid for watching, not teaching, but payment for 'work' on Shabbat is forbidden
  • If work is done on Shabbat by a Gentile, it is not paid work OR it is lumped in with other work over a longer period of time
  • If something is stolen or broken on Shabbat, the volunteer is not held responsible
  • If something is stolen or broken on Shabbat, the paid person is held responsible
  • Perhaps the Mishna is referring to learning Bible without cantillation notes and punctuation 
  • Children might not learn well on Shabbat because they eat more than usual and are sluggish
  • Children should not refer to girls - they stay home anyway
  • Rav and Rabbi Yehuda discuss whether or not cantillation is a necessary part of learning Torah
  • Words are written that are not spoken; other words are spoken that are not written (proof texts are shared)
A fascinating digression!

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