Monday, April 21, 2008


I'm Blogging from a New Location ...

... don't get your hopes up, though -- I've not made my triumphal return to the NYC area yet, but I'm now in the new FSU chem building! Hurray! I guess ...

Anyhoo, you'd think someone would have already done this, but, in honor of being the day after a festive meal -- a Talmudic treatise on the acquisition of leftovers (written whilst waiting for the movers to need us to kibitz):

Moochim 1a

Mishna: Leftovers may be acquired via 4 virtues: by helping out with the dishes after the meal, by helping to prepare the festive meal, by leading the grace after meals particularly quickly but with a beautiful and understandable voice and by being a student. R. Moocher adds, by being a begger so that the master of the house may fulfil the obligation. But the sages disagree, saying the truly needy would not sit down to eat.

[The] Gemara [begins]: Which obligation? Rava states the meal refers to the seder and says the obligation is to feed the stranger, for you were a stranger in the land of Egypt. Ravina says the meal is Sukkoth, thus the true begger would not sit, lest he dwell in the sukkah and thus no longer be in need [of housing].

Come and hear, how the grace after meal acquires leftovers, as it is said, "feed me with my portion that I may not be full and deny Thou". Feed me with thy portion refers to what is ate at the meal as well as leftovers. For he that saith grace is evidently not full and thus may not have had his portion, the remainder of which he taketh home in a doggy bag even if he hath not a dog.

It was taught in a Baraisa that being a student (*) acquires leftovers as it is said "everyone thirsts for water". The Torah, being as sustinance, is acquired by a student. Moreover, the study of Torah is rewarded in this world as well as in the world to come. "This world" refers to the meal, "the world to come" to the leftovers.

R. Moocher was once invited to a banquet at the home of a gentile. He ate heartily and was asked to lead grace. Having led grace so beautifully, the mistress of the house proceeded to give him food but then stopped -- "how will you eat it, as your home is kosher?". Whereupon R. Moocher accepted the food saying "I have paper plates and plastic flatware and shall eateth of the food over foil".

(*) Rashi notes that the Amorim are saying that one acquires leftovers by being a student not that the state of being is one of leftover acquisition. The tosaphos expand "come-on Gramps, everybody knows that -- the most important question is who taught how grace acquires leftovers. It is R. Pappa who obviously had some of his own beer when he made that argument"


I hope all are having a happy Pesach!

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