“Everything came into being through God’s word” (36a-36b and 37a-37b)

I read yesterday’s daf and today’s daf carefully and I understood that this is all about making distinctions.

When is something one thing and when is it something else entirely? For example, when is the caper or the pepper a vegetable and when is it a tree? The distinctions matter because they have implications for the types of blessings that are said. And furthermore, it matters if you are within the land of Israel or outside as you need to know whether you are obligated to tithe or not.

Similarly, when there are mixtures of things, what is considered the primary ingredient? 

These two dapim are all about distinction and discernment. While the specific distinctions being discussed don’t speak to me all that much, the dance of discernment does. 

So – for example when is the hand gesture a sign of kindness and when it is a sign of weariness or sadness? When is the tapping of your foot a sign of enthusiasm and when is it a sign of impatience?

How do you distinguish the look that is friendly from the look that is questioning or challenging? Which of the many muscles around the eye need to be held in just this way to convey one or the other? 

Discernment is a skill that one develops over a lifetime. What matters as well is to figure when distinctions matter and when they don’t.

Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

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