My brilliant and zany friend now has a blog called Kaspit! Kaspit isn't my friend's real name, of course. Kaspit (by my friend's coinage?) is the Hebrew word for Quicksilver. Kaspit's blog is about Jewish law, comic books and public policy, among other things. You may have seen other blogs on classical rabbinic literature, but I doubt you've seen anything quite like this . . .
Here's a little from Kaspit's inaugural Daf yomi commendiary:
Let us try a Daf Yomi commendiary.1 A running commentary on the daf yomi. Daf yomi is the "daily page" of the Babylonian Talmud read by many Jews in synch with a 7+ year cycle. This reading is a "spiritual exercise" and, for some of us, the reading may veer off-schedule and out-of-synch. In this commendiary, let's bring the textual into the material.This one is going to be fun . . .
Why Quicksilver? Quicksilver is a living marvel, a mythic protagonist but also an antagonist, a pollutant when "out of place". (M. Douglas) Has it healing properties? Good as gold, or at least as silver. But quicksilver may be more susceptible to impurities like any liquid. It is hydrargyrum, silver water, silverfish. D/b/a mercury, Mercurial, toxic speech, poison. Do not incinerate: flesh and organs are vulnerable to trace amounts of quicksilver, Hg. So always again we ought to divine and interpret the traces, as when quicksilver slips through our flesh and texts, and we have to chase after both the Mercury and the Hermes.
Reading Talmud between the Greek and the Roman, the philosophical and the material, between their Hermes and Mercurius. Yes, it’s an endless hermeneutical Job to fall into both the textual and the toxical depths. A hermercurial critique.
Hermes, a wing-footed, mad-hatted herald, a cunning and clever sort, who also happens to be the god of Commerce and of Science. Yes, and he’s leading us all the way down to Hades. Thus the Greeks.
Mercury, god of merchandising. The sages do know Mercurius, the Roman God of wayfarers, merchants2 , commerce, mercantilism, free trade zones and Capitalism. The sages “apparently considered [Mercurius] almost synonymous with idolatry.” (Per I.G. of EJ) When the sages fulminate about Mercury, might their texts3 be tackling bigger targets?
(Read the whole thing.)