Circumstantial Indeed

Babylonian beer is not really a theme that I want to explore much more, but I couldn’t let this little finding pass unnoticed. Leafing through the new edition of the Encyclopedia Judaica, I stumbled upon a Talmudic discussion on sickness and health, life and death. The Sages, who lived in Babylon and Palestine, albeit some 2200 years later, considered Babylon a healthy place. Leprosy, for example, is not heard of over there, so R. Johanan (of Tiberias) says,

“because they eat turnips and drink beer and bathe in the Euphrates”
(Babylonian Talmud, tractate Ketubbot 77b).

Circumstantial, as I said.

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