Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Soul

The words of our Sages in the Talmud were written with the utmost precision and exactitude. Thus, when encountering perplexing statements in the Talmud (as in the subject of this class) it is a grave error to consider that the authors made a mistake or even to only study the statement superficially without straining to understand the true meaning and intent. Often the wisdom of the Talmud is concealed beneath a thick layer of profundity, and only after digging fastidiously will you begin to understand the unfathomable depth of the the words.

In the very first book of the Talmud, Tractate Brachos, we find this incredibly confounding statement:

שלשה מעין העולם הבא, אלו הן: שבת, שמש, ותשמיש. תשמיש דמאי? אילימא תשמיש המטה – הא מכחש כחיש? אלא תשמיש נקבים. (ברכות דף נז:)

Translation in English: Three things are a measure of the World To Come. They are: Shabbos, the Sun, and tashmish. What does tashmish mean? If you say tashmish hamita (sexual intercourse), it weakens. Rather, it must be referring to tashmish nekavim (bowel removal).

Join us as we attempt to unravel this intriguing but puzzling gem of Talmudic wisdom.