Ask The Rabbi

Where's Page One?

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Topic: Gemorah Starting with Page Two

Michael Braitman from Pittsburgh, PA wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Why does each tractate in the Talmud begin with the page number of two (beit) and not one? Thank you.

Dear Michael Braitman,

The real reason is because the front page of the volume is considered page one. Look at printed books today, Jewish and secular, which usually begin with page nine because of all the pages before the beginning of the actual book.

I once heard a "cute" explanation of why they began with page two: When a person sits down to study, even though he has not yet begun to study, yet he has overcome his evil inclination by merely opening the book of Talmud. This is considered as if he has begun already, and that is the "first page."

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