A statement about prohibited Shabbat lamp fuel – for ritual reasons – evolves into a discussion about the possible dangers of impaired fuel as an alternate reason for its proscription. Then, ostensibly to demonstrate the nature of its specific volatile flammability, the Talmud shares an awful mother-in-law story! We conclude with a fascinating interpretation of Scriptural descriptions about the period of the Babylonian Exile, which sheds light on relevant particulars of ancient Israel’s unique gross national products. (Tractate Shabbat 25B-26A)

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