Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My Talmud

Part of the final assignment for my Intro to Talmud class last term was to create a fictional Talmudic passage (sugya). The content was left to our imagination so long as the form mirrored that of the actual Talmud. What I came up with was more than a little silly, but I receieved full credit on it, so it can't be that bad, right?

Mishna: Rav Lao Tzu taught “Not going out of the door I have knowledge of the world. Not peeping through the window I perceive the way of heaven. The more one wanders to a distance the less he knows.”

Gemara: “Not going out of the door I have knowledge of the world” But how can one have knowledge of the world without leaving one’s home? Rabbi Schlomo taught that this doesn’t refer to leaving one’s home, but rather going out the door of the synagogue. For everything one needs to know about the world is contained in the Holy Torah in the ark. However, Rav Shemp taught in the name of Rav Lawrence that “door” need not refer to the door of a synagogue. Many people have copies of the Torah, Tanakh and Talmud in their homes, therefore one could learn from the Holy Torah in one’s own home and never leave (and therefore never enter the synagogue). Rabbi Eliyahu of Albania disagreed saying that this passage doesn’t refer to knowledge of Torah at all. Torah knowledge is covered in the next sentence as the perception of “the way of heaven.” If knowledge of the world was Torah knowledge then why also speak of the knowledge of “the way of heaven”? Rabbi Scotius responded that the Torah contains all knowledge of heaven and earth, therefore it holds “knowledge of the world.” But Rabbi Eliyahu countered that if this referred to Torah knowledge that there would be no need to mention the way of heaven, therefore these must be two different types of knowledge. Then what is “knowledge of the world”? Rav Shecky taught that this passage refers to one who keeps a reliable atlas in his home & can learn all about the world without walking out his front door… “The more one wanders to a distance the less he knows.” But this seems counterintuitive, surely one must learn more the further down life’s path he wanders. Rabbi Yehuda ben Shecky of Guatemala taught that this refers to one wanders down a path that leads away from Torah, the ultimate source of knowledge. The further one travels away from Torah the less they really know. Rav Siddhartha taught that this is metaphor, that it refers to one who wanders away from his true self and that true knowledge can only be gained by internal wandering and inquiry, for within our soul we commune with the ultimate reality and ultimate knowledge. However, Rabbi Shecky ben Schlomo Schlomoson of Indonesia taught that this only applies to one who moves from a town with a large public library to a town or village with lesser or non-existent facilities, thus the further they go from the quality library the less knowledge they then posses (or have available to them. Conversely Rabbi Yehuda ben Shecky of Guatemala taught to Rabbi Yehuda ben Yehuda of Hogwarts in the name of Rabbi Shabtai Zizel of Hagen Daas that Rabbi Shecky ben Schlomo Schlomoson of Indonesia was an idiot.


The background image on this page is a Hebrew translation of the verse from Bob Dylan's song  It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), from which the title of this blog is taken. Translation courtesy of Yoram Aharon of Hod-HaSharon's page--found via YudelLine-- which has many Dylan lyrics in Hebrew.