Friday, February 19, 2010

Is this possible?

Yoma 23b:

‘The father of the young man came and found the boy in convulsions. He said: "May he be an atonement for you. My son is still in convulsions, etc." To teach you that they looked upon the purity of their vessels as a graver matter than bloodshed!


  1. Why not?

    Remind me of a story:

    A palestinian's house was burning down. He ran in to save if TV. Somebody pointed out that he had a baby there. He answers, "Of that I have many, but I only have one TV."

  2. It's possible. 345 Muslims were trampled to death during the hajj in 2006.

  3. DF

    I presume Fred is making a point here, that for millenia, Jews have fallen prey to putting narrow halachik considerations above actual morality. Jesus makes exactly the same point.


  4. Does no one else get the Grossman reference?

  5. From 1 Sam:

    When he arrived, Eli was sitting in his chair beside the gate, watching the road, for he was troubled at heart about the ark of God. The man, however, went into the city to divulge his news, which put the whole city in an uproar.
    Hearing the outcry of the men standing near him, Eli inquired, "What does this commotion mean?"
    (Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes would not focus, so that he could not see.)
    The man quickly came up to Eli and said, "It is I who have come from the battlefield; I fled from there today." He asked, "What happened, my son?"
    And the messenger answered: "Israel fled from the Philistines; in fact, the troops suffered heavy losses. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are among the dead, and the ark of God has been captured."
    At this mention of the ark of God, Eli fell backward from his chair into the gateway; since he was an old man and heavy, he died of a broken neck. He had judged Israel for forty years.


  6. I do not get "the Grossman reference".


    "וּכְחַלֵּק אִישׁ פַּת-בָּגוֹ חִלֵּק מְתֹעָב גּוֹי בְּשָׂרָן –
    שָׁכְבוּ בְּבָשְׁתָּן וַיִּרְאוּ – וְלֹא נָעוּ וְלֹא זָעוּ,
    וְאֶת-עֵינֵיהֶם לֹא-נִקֵּרוּ וּמִדַּעְתָּם לֹא יָצָאוּ –
    וְאוּלַי גַּם-אִישׁ לְנַפְשׁוֹ אָז הִתְפַּלֵּל בִּלְבָבוֹ:
    רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל-עוֹלָם, עֲשֵׂה נֵס – וְאֵלַי הָרָעָה לֹא-תָבֹא.
    וְאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר חָיוּ מִטֻּמְאָתָן וְהֵקִיצוּ מִדָּמָן –
    וְהִנֵּה שֻׁקְּצוּ כָּל-חַיֵּיהֶן וְנִטְמָא אוֹר עוֹלָמָן
    שִׁקּוּצֵי עוֹלָם, טֻמְאַת גּוּף וָנֶפֶשׁ, מִבַּחוּץ וּמִבִּפְנִים –
    וְהֵגִיחוּ בַעֲלֵיהֶן מֵחוֹרָם וְרָצוּ בֵית-אֱלֹהִים
    וּבֵרְכוּ עַל-הַנִּסִּים שֵׁם אֵל יִשְׁעָם וּמִשְׂגַּבָּם;
    וְהַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁבָּהֶם יֵצְאוּ וְיִשְׁאֲלוּ אֶת רַבָּם:
    "רַבִּי! אִשְׁתִּי מָה הִיא? מֻתֶּרֶת אוֹ אֲסוּרָה?" –
    וְהַכֹּל יָשׁוּב לְמִנְהָגוֹ, וְהַכֹּל יַחֲזֹר לְשׁוּרָה."

  8. I didn't get the sense that the gemara is approving of the man's priorities. It's saying that (some) people then were like that, because bloodshed became cheapened.

    I think that's the gemara's point: Was this due to overemphasis on Taharos or underemphasis on sanctity of life? The gemara says it's the latter.

  9. Of course the Gemara is not approving of the priorities!

  10. Does the Gemara criticize Eli for the same thing? (See my post above.) -- Phil

  11. I don't see any comment referrencing any Grossman, though if I had to guess I'd go with a sarcastic one-liner-reference to either Dave Grossman (renowned "Killoligist") or Martin Grossman (the Floridian who was executed).



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