There is a kind of social media tradition about a “throwback Thursday” when people are posting events/ pictures that remind them and others of the days gone by. But, I decided – why wait if something interesting brings you back to the best days of your life?
This summer, as I said many times, of course, I was privileged to study at Pardes, Jerusalem. I rented a small place on Dostai street. Since the whole area of Katamon neighbourhood of Jerusalem is full of streets with Biblical or Talmudic names, I assumed that Dostai may be the name of a long gone rabbi. However, I wasn’t sure, as usually, there is a title before the name of the rabbi or a king, like Rabanan Yohanan ben Zakai street or Hizkiyahu ha-Melech street. So, I was confused. Until yesterday.
I am not learning Talmud all the time (not yet, at least). However, I subscribe to the daf yomi digest, written by a very secular (at least I feel so) Jew, Adam Kirsch, Tablet writer. While I am not in sync with the magazine’s general approach, or Adam’s interpretations of the Talmud, especially the headlines he chooses, I appreciate the opportunity to have a quick overview of the week’s daf readings practically standing on one foot on my way back home from work in the subway.
So, yesterday I read Adam’s last post about “Eye for an Eye”. And right in the middle, it talks about a Rabbi Dostai ben Yehuda! Talk about reminiscing! It felt like I was walking to “my place” from class again. However, “there are no rules in the Talmud”, as Yaffa Epstein says. So, when I started looking for Rabbi Dostai, I found two. Both are Tannaim, meaning they are the ones responsible for the start of the whole Talmud, it’s first part, Mishna. One, Rabbi Dostai ben Yehuda, who is mentioned in the daf Adam is reading, is the Tanna of the latter half of the second century. He was the author of several halachic sentences, the other- Rabbi Dostai ben Yannai, was a rabbi in Eretz Yisroel, and a friend of Rabbi Meir baal ha-Nes himself. I am thankful to my teacher at Pardes for pointing me to the right direction for this mini-research.
If anyone out there in the blogosphere knows more about both of these rabbonim I would appreciate any comments on the subject.
Meanwhile, I am feeling nostalgic.