Siyyum on Daf Yomi Berakhot, 5780
The project of the Gemara is a project of precision. No detail is too small, no definition not worth defining. From the concrete—what qualifies as eating and on what food is one obligated to bless (48b)?—to the abstract—what does it mean to stand to pray from a place of koved rosh (Mishnah 5:1)? The rabbis of the Gemara attempt to make clear all that which is unclear in the Mishnah, to know all that which is unknown, even—and perhaps especially—when that involves the unknowable. And, yet despite this effort to define and quantify every term, time, and entity, Massekhet Berakhot offers us multiple aggadic stories in which the rabbis find themselves at a loss when it comes to all that they don’t know. How do we make sense of this?