Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Let your ears hear

I very much like these two Jewish stories:
Rabbi Nachman warns that "all scoffing is forbidden except scoffing at idols which is permitted" [The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, ed. Isador Epstein, trans. H. Freedman (London: Soncino 1935), I, 63]. A well-known Talmudic tale is equally iconoclastic. Abraham as a young boy smashes every one of his father's idols except one, in whose hands he places a stick. When the father asks who did the idol smashing Abraham says it was the idol with the stick in his hands. The father says "But these gods can't do anything!" And Abraham says "Let your ears hear what your mouth is saying."
There seems to me something distinctively Jewish about their recursiveness.

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