Divrei ben Abuya

In the Babylonian Talmud, Elisha ben Abuya was a great sage who lost his faith in God. So great was he that his and subsequent generations continued learning from him - to the extent that the authors of the Talmud needed to create a story that would serve to legitimise his teachings despite his apostasy. His lesson is a lesson for us all: that great stature is not contingent upon blind faith, nor high learning upon the observation of Torah precepts.

July 06, 2006

Cowards and Hypocrites

Gil Student, in one of his more recent posts, has taken the passing of Rabbi Jacobs zt"l as an opportunity to discuss this man's 'heresy'. The shameful comments appended to this despicable post are not even worthy of acknowledging, and it is an absolute travesty that somebody like Student, who is apparantly a Rabbi himself, should unabashedly attack one of the leading scholars of our generation so. The greatest injustice that one can perpetrate upon another is that which is done after their death. Rabbi Jacobs zt"l was stabbed many times by his erstwhile 'friends' and colleagues, but this represents the deepest cut of all.

I am reminded of the Talmud's consideration of who is the worse sinner: the thief who attacks by day or the thief who attacks by night. The conclusion is that the thief who attacks by day is worse, for neither thief fears the retribution of God, but the thief who creeps under cover of darkness fears the retribution of his fellow humans. Cowards and hypocrites have no place within our tradition.


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