Talmud Measures

Talmud Measures


Talmudic Measure
Modern equivalent
Equivalent to
Also equivalent
Familiar equivalent
Thumb-breadth 2cm Cherry
Handbreadth 8cm 4 thumb-breadths Credit Card
Handspan 24cm 3 handbreadths 12 thumb-breadths 11 Piano Keys
Cubit (Large) 48cm 2 handspans 6 handbreadths Ruler, Carry-on luggage
Short Cubit 40 cm 5 handbreadths 16 inches Pizza

Talmud incidences of measure (a visual concordance)

Talmud measure
Pictorial reference
Approximate equivalent
Eruvin Daf reference
1 handbreadth Credit card 8cm/3.1” 4, 5
3 handbreadths 11 Piano Keys 24cm/9″ 4, 5, 9
4 handbreadths Face shield 32cm/12.6” 3, 4, 5, 6, 9
4 x 4 handbreadths Chess board 32 x 32cm/12.6” 9
9 handbreadths Traffic cone 72cm/28” 4
10 handbreadths Long shoehorn 80cm/31.5” 3, 4, 5, 8
Log Drinking Glass 310 millilitres/10.5 fl oz 4
1 cubit Carry-on luggage 48cm/18″ 4, 9
4 cubits Bed or Grizzly Bear 192cm/6.25’ (feet) 3, 5, 8, 9
5 cubits Patio Dining Table 240cm/7.9′ (feet) 2
10 cubits Conference Table 480cm/15.7’ (feet) 2, 5, 6, 8, 9
12 cubits Large LED-Wall Screen 576cm/19’ (feet) 3
15 cubits Shuttle Bus 720cm/23.6′ (feet) 2
20 cubits Caravan Awning 960cm/31.5’ (feet) 2, 3, 5
40 cubits Articulated Bus 1920cm/60′ (feet) 2, 3
2000 cubits
Free suspension part of Sutong Bridge
960m/0.6 mile 36
se’a Stock Pot 7.3L/1.9 gallons
40 se’as Hot water heater (tank) 288L/76 gallons 4
Kav Quart of fruit 1.2 litre/1.1 dry quart 29
Maneh Pound of Butter 500 g/1lb/500ml/2cups 29
Cor/Kor 55 gallon drum 220L/55 gal/30 se’as 36

One Fish, Two Fish, Bred Fish, New Fish

Scientists have been formulating “Frankenfoods” for decades now. There is validity to a certain amount of genetic modification; after all, we wouldn’t have today’s plump corn or watermelons or eggplants without selective breeding by ambitious (and hungry!) farmers over centuries. Nowadays, the GMOs we hear most about involving splicing genes from one incongruous species to another, which freaks some consumers out. But the unifying force in most of these attempts is the deliberate intention — which makes the news that scientists have accidentally created a new type of fish hybrid in an effort to save one of the parent species all the more surprising!
The task they set out to do was bolster the numbers of Russian Sturgeon, a fish prized for its caviar, but critically endangered due to overfishing, destruction of habitat, and pollution. A team of Hungarian scientists attempted asexual reproduction of the fish, using the sperm of another species, the American Paddlefish, to prompt the development of Russian Sturgeon eggs — a process known as gynogenesis.
Unfortunately, the Paddlefish and Sturgeon were genetically closer than the scientists thought, and instead of gynogenesis, good old-fashioned sexual reproduction took place, producing a hybrid now known temporarily (and cutely) as “sturddlefish.” And this may not be a bad thing:
“Each of the resulting fish look a little different, most of them bearing a stronger resemblance to the sturgeon (which was, of course, the whole idea). But if the offspring adopt the paddlefish’s dietary habits instead of the sturgeon’s, then the hybrid fish could greatly benefit the environment: Sturgeon have a diet of larger crustaceans while paddlefish feed on smaller organisms like plankton, making the latter’s diet more sustainable in the long run. (Microscopic organisms don’t have to be shipped in to feed the fish, meaning fewer carbon emissions.) Cheap diet + expensive roe = money in the bank.”
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about invasive species in my neck of the woods — so it’s refreshing that this particular goof in animal management might turn out well for a change.  And if it leads to stability for a food fish that we humans are responsible for destabilizing, all the better!

Chocolate Chip Redesign Overclocks the Humble Cookie

Here at the DFC test kitchens, David is the baker, while I fall decidedly into Camp Cooking. When it comes to baking, I usually only have patience for the sampling and critique of the results! David’s chocolate chip cookies are particularly legendary: as he did with our barbecue sauce, he spent years refining his recipe, experimenting with the chip to dough ratios and finely calibrating the sugars to yield the perfect chew.
But what he hasn’t done is engineer the ingredients themselves. Leave something that “disruptive” to chocolate-chip-cookieness to Tesla senior industrial designer Remy Labesque. He moonlights as a chocolate expert and has collaborated with California chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate to create the ideal baking chip.
While his chip still involves quality chocolate, Labesque’s innovation lies in its shape. The traditional teardrop shape is an artifact of the industrial process — it’s the easiest way for a machine (or a human artisan like Dandelion’s head pastry chef Lisa Vega) to fire out hundreds of chips in one go. But Labesque thought the dense, uniform shape lacked texture and was unsuited to the flat planes of a cookie. So, he set out to reconcile his dreams of the ideal melty cookie morsel to the industrial reality — or really, vice versa. The result: a modernist-looking, flat, faceted square chip, with two balanced pairs of thin and thick edges.
At Dandelion, the design brief was to make ‘the best chip for the experience of tasting chocolate,’ says chef Vega. Experts claim the way to do that is to let it melt on your tongue.

Each time a prototype came off the line, Vega would start baking. ‘They stay whole, but once they’re baked, the center of the chip gets soft,’ she observes, a benefit for experiencing the chocolate’s texture. Labesque designed the thin, melt-in-your-mouth edges to be sturdy enough to hold their shape in baking and not to break when the chip is unmolded. […]

Dandelion currently sells its ‘facets’ in three distinct, 70% single-origin, types: from Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Madagascar. Additional single-origin styles are planned for the future. The lengthy research and development and ingredient sourcing comes at a cost: a 17.6 oz. bag of the chips goes for $30.”
Coming from an IT background, I’m already a big proponent of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I never thought that the chocolate chip was broke. Labesque and Vega have helped me rethink this — and I can never fault someone for following their passion, as niche and privileged ($30 USD a bag?) as it is. But none of us regular folks should let that stop our cookie perfection dreams: The original Depression-era chocolate chip cookie recipe used chopped up chocolate bars — it’s built to use what you have. A regular-shaped chip will never spoil a chocolate chip cookie, as long as you infuse the recipe with your own magic as well!