Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shabbos: Out On a Limb

I continue to read the daf, but I haven't posted in over a week. I assure you it is not because of diminished interest in the text. Rather, I have been focussing on preparing for the course I am offering next week at the National Havurah Institute. (And this may be my last post until after the Institute, so please don't think you're looking at an abandoned site if you don't see anything new here until August 8.)

Reading folio 78 last week I was rather annoyed by the argument as to whether one is liable for the large limb of a day-old infant or the small limb of an adult until I considered the text in the context of the Rove affair. What is the measurement for liability in the case of Karl Rove: (a) the large limb of a day-old infant (any member of the staff who committed a crime) or (b) the small limb of an adult (any member of the staff who was negligent with classified information)? The former is the latest benchmark advanced by the President and the latter is the standard applied to government employees by the Office of Special Counsel.

So, it is clear that the lenient and the stringent enforcers continue to argue even as they did in the days of the Sages. The difference between then and now is that it is no longer possible as it was in days of old to identify the teacher by his ruling, for here the stringent one's leniency is a shonda.