Halakhah Highlights

Common Customs

למען תזכרו The common practice of enunciating the letter zayin in tizkeru found in the Shema is not found in the Talmud Bavli but has its origins in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Reviewed by Rabbi Yisroel Belsky)

Minimizing Speech on Shabbath. The Talmud Yerushalmi shuns excessive speech on Shabbath and was used by most Sages to interpret an ambiguous passage in the Talmud Bavli which ultimately became codified as the law

How loud should one Pray? Although it is generally agreed that one may not pray the Amidah in one’s heart but one’s lips must be mobile there was disagreement as to whether one should or may make his prayer audible to  the ear. (berakhoth 2:4)

Makom Kavua. The optimal manner of prayer is usually thought to be in a designated seat within a designated Synagogue. This common practice is based on the Talmud Yerushalmi while the Talmud Bavli is ambiguous as to whether a designated seat is required.

Gazing at the candle and wine of Havdalah. The widespread practice of the responders to the Havdalah gazing upon the candle and wine of Havdalah is not mentioned in the Talmud Bavli but has its origins in the Talmud Yerushalmi.

אין מברכין על הנר עד שיאותו לאורו The widespread custom to gaze at our fingernails to the light of the Havdalah candle appears to have its roots in the customs of the Land of Israel and was already in practice in certain communities already during the time of the Geonim. The Geonim themselves attest that the custom was not practiced in the two ancient Academies.

Covering Haloth at Kiddush. Although the Talmud Bavli mentions that we  cover the table when reciting Kiddush, the reason for doing so, so that the bread not see its “embarrassment” is attributed to the Talmud Yerushalmi by a number of Medieval authorities.

Tasting Shabbath Food. The widespread practice of tasting Shabbath food on Shabbath Eve appears to have its origins in the Talmud Yerushalmi or in the general custom of Eretz Yisrael.

Abstaining from sleep on Rosh Hashanah. The widespread practice of abstaining from sleep on Rosh Hashanah lest his fortune decline appears to have been a long standing custom originating in the custom of the Land of Israel.

Delighting Children on Yom Tov. Including children in the rejoicing of the Holidays is a common practice codified in Jewish Law has its origins in the Talmud Yerushalmi. The Talmud Bavli, it appears does not include children in the obligation of rejoicing.

Visiting Graves

The Prohibition of Touching Mukzeh

Women Going Out Adorned. The Rabbis considered a woman’s modesty to be her primary trait. Some differences existed between the sources as to the reason that it was considered so important. Most sources found a practical rather than a virtuous purpose in a woman minimizing her attractiveness to men other than her husband.

Moses the Priest

Kiddushin Among Gentiles There are many differences in the way the  Talmud Yerushalmi views gentile marriage  in comparison with Jewish Marriage. For example, the former is merely  a social institution effected and contingent upon the sole action of sexual relations. Absent is a multi-stepped legal process of the Jewish People known as kiddushin. (Kiddushin 1:1)

The words of the Torah are Poor in one Place but Rich in another

  • Selling Hametz to a Gentile (Pesahim 2:2 13a)
  • Knocking on a door on Shabbath. The Talmud Yerushalmi disputes whether knocking on the door with one’s fist is permissible on Shabbath and rules in the negative (Betzah 5:2 20a). This accords with ‘Ulla in the Babylonian Talmud (Betzah 36a) whose ruling was followed by some of the Rishonim (such as Rabbenu Hananel).
  • Displacing Laws for the Reverence of the Public. (Berachoth 3:5 24a) The Talmud Yerushalmi and Talmud Bavli differ in the force of respecting the public, whether it can override even Biblical commandments or only Rabbinic ones.
  • Thinking Torah Thoughts in the bathroom (Berachot 3:4 26b). The Talmud Yerushalmi appears to maintain that it is permissible to think about Torah in the Bathroom while the Talmud Bavli takes it as a given that it is prohibited.
  • Engaging in the needs of the public is like engaging in the Torah (5:1 37a).
  • Praying in a loud voice (Berakhoth 4:1 29b). Both Talmudim disallow praying in a loud voice under normal circumstances. The Talmud Yerushalmi permits praying in a loud voice in order to teach his household the prayers. The Babylonian Talmud only allows it as a last resort if one is unable to concentrate unless he raises his voice.
  • Reducing a Sage to Build a Sage.
  • A father is obligated to his child (674)
  • The Origin of the Three Daily Prayers (Berachoth 4:1 29b). 1)Three times that the day changes.2) Three forefathers 3) Daily Sacrifices (Temidin)
  • Mar’ith Ayin (Shabbath 3:2, 22b)
  • One who is uncertain about Shabbath (Shabbath 7:1, 41a)