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The Wisdom of Israel


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Tashiel
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2010, 04:42:26 am »

"Again," he says, "there is one of much tenderness to explain why a proselyte is dearer to the Lord than even a Levite. Such a proselyte is compared to a wild goat which, brought up in a desert, joins itself freely to the flock, and which is cherished by the shepherd with especial love; since, that his flock, which from its youth he had put forth in the morning and brought back at evening, should love him, was nothing strange; but that the goat, brought up in deserts and mountains, should attach itself to him, demanded an especial return of affection." Moreover, there are very numerous parallels between the parables scattered through the Babylonian and Jerusalem

p. 15
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Tashiel
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2010, 04:43:02 am »

 Talmud and the Midrashic writings, and those found in the New Testament.

Much in the same spirit as the last parable cited by Trench, and offering a curious parallel with New Testament examples, is the agadic passage in the Babylonian Talmud stating that "the degree of blessedness of the sinner who repents is much higher than that of the righteous man who has never sinned, because those who have never tasted the sweets of a sinful life have not the same difficulty in abstaining from sins."

But few, if any, of the following extracts have ever been translated into English, and it is a matter of regret to me that the limits of space compel the omission of at least ten times as many equally interesting examples of agada that still remain inaccessible to the English reader in their original Aramaic and Hebrew.

Edwin Collins.
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Tashiel
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2010, 04:43:42 am »

Footnotes

13:* "Notes on the Parables of our Lord," by Richard Chevinix Trench, D.D., Dean of Westminster.

14:* Compare the parable of the figs which are gathered in their due season, p. 18.

http://sacred-texts.com/jud/wois/wois03.htm
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Tashiel
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2010, 01:11:08 pm »

p. 16 p. 17

THE WISDOM OF ISRAEL
WHY GOD PERMITS IDOLATRY. *
THEY asked our sages in Rome, says the Babylonian Talmud, "If your God is displeased with men's worship of other gods, why does He not make it void by destroying all idols and objects of false worship?"

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Tashiel
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« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2010, 01:11:50 pm »

"If the objects of false worship," replied our sages, "were things unnecessary to mankind and to the world, then this might be. But, behold, they adore the sun and moon, and the constellations; plants and animals; and the trees and the streams, and many other things both useful and beautiful. Shall the Creator destroy His world because of the fools?"

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Tashiel
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« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2010, 01:12:42 pm »

Then said they of Rome:"But there are among the objects of what you call false worship some that are useless to mankind: stones and blocks of wood, and hideous effigies. If your God be, as your prophet says, 'a consuming fire,' why does He not burn up these, and spare only such as the world really needs?"


p. 18
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Tashiel
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« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2010, 01:13:04 pm »

"If God were to destroy some of the idols," replied our sages, "and were to spare others, this would strengthen the hands of the idolaters. For then, indeed, would those whose gods had been spared, exclaim: 'Behold ours are proved to be trite gods; for all the false ones have been destroyed.'

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Tashiel
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« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2010, 01:13:22 pm »

"Nor is this all. God has formed a world full of beauty and order; a universe full of exquisitely adjusted laws, that work together for good. There is nothing in it useless or evil, or even superfluous. Shall God destroy His world, or interfere with its order and the regular working of His perfect laws, because of the fools that abuse His gifts?

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Tashiel
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« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2010, 01:13:37 pm »

"Suppose a man steals a measure of wheat and sows his field with it: according to judgment and religion it ought not to grow. But Nature goes on her orderly course as fixed by the Creator, and those that treat His laws with contempt are destined to have to render an account."


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Tashiel
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« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2010, 01:14:02 pm »

Footnotes
17:* Abodah Zarah [the section of the Talmud dealing with "Strange Worship"—Idolatry, etc.], p. 54b. I have rendered this freely; somewhat expanding the Mishnah, from the Commentaries and otherwise, and condensing the Gemorrah.

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Tashiel
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« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2010, 01:14:11 pm »

THE LAMP THAT GOES OUT WHEN ITS LIGHT IS DONE, AND THE FIGS THAT ARE GATHERED IN THEIR DUE SEASON.
What is the difference between the death of the aged and the death of the young?

Rabbi Judah says:—"When a lamp goes out of itself, it is good for the lamp and good for the wick, for the lamp is not broken and the wick does not form coal; but when men extinguish it, it is bad for the lamp, and bad for the wick."

p. 19

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Tashiel
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« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2010, 01:14:24 pm »

Rabbi Abahu said:—"When you pluck figs at their proper season, it is good for the figs, and good for the fig-tree. But if figs be gathered before their time, it is bad for the figs and bad for the fig-tree."

Then why do we often see the righteous die young?

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Tashiel
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« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2010, 01:14:53 pm »

A story told of Rabbi Chiya bar Aba and his disciples, and according to others of Rabbi Akiba and his disciples, and of Rabbi Joshuah, and also of Rabbi Josi ben Chalafta and his disciples, explains this, by a parable.

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Tashiel
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« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2010, 01:14:59 pm »

It was their custom to rise early in the morning, and to sit and teach under a certain fig-tree. And the owner of the fig-tree used to rise early and gather the figs. The scholars thought that they were suspected, and that the figs were gathered early lest the Rabbi and his disciples might eat some of them. What did they? They changed their place of meeting.

Then the owner of the fig-tree went after them, and when he found them he said:

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Tashiel
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« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2010, 01:15:11 pm »

"My masters, You were wont to confer a Mitzvah * upon me. You used to show me


p. 20

honour, and give me a share in your reward for the study of God's word, and give me the privilege of contributing my share to your deeds of piety, by coming and studying under my fig-tree. Will you now rob me of this privilege, this honour, this religious duty; and so make void all your former kindness? Why have you changed your meeting place?"

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