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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hayashan Nitchadash, VhaChadash NitKadesh

great little moment in the subway yesterday, I had to share it with you.

I get on the L train, and, as I swing in, i notice right next to where i want to sit, there's a kids in tzitzis and kippah poring over an artscroll gemara. He sees me, instinctively moves his stuff out of the way, and I sit down next to him.

"hey, what's happening in the gemara?"

reflexively, he responds with the page and side.

"Yeah, but what's happening on the page?"

He takes a second to process and sweetly answers, I'm just starting a new sugya.
It feels to me like he thinks i'm testing or challenging him, or like i'm going to try to call him on how well he knows it or something.

"I'm just wondering what it's about." I'm in seriously curious scholar mode! personal interaction will follw, but for now, teach me something!

He smiles, and starts telling me,

You can't sell something holy
for the sake of buying something less holy
Only for the sake of aquiring something even more holy.

That's the mishna. It's already so deep.
The gemara asks, what if you have
two things
that are equally holy
two sepher Torahs

One is old
The other is new.
Can you sell the old one to buy a new one?

I laughed when he told me this.
An old one isn't holier because it's older?
No, he laughed,
A new one, you can read easier, it looks nicer.
An old one, it's still holy, just less nice.
Can you sell it to by the new one?


Blogger Dindel said...

so, what was the answer? how do you leave me hanging like this? :)

5:22 AM

Anonymous Ross said...

I think selling it for something of equal worth and holiness degrades it. Maybe a straight swap, but trading it for money and then using that money to buy something of equal holiness suggests that one has favourites, which implies that they aren't of equal holiness.

7:52 PM

Blogger donbonus said...

Megillah 27.

8:32 PM

Blogger Yoseph Leib said...

ah! thank g-d for the people more effectively scholarly than me!

9:13 PM

Blogger Tamara said...

I agree with Ross. If two things are equally holy, then you could not sell one to buy the other -- the law states one must acquire something more holy, not something just as holy.

6:44 PM

Blogger dietgarage said...

i think it is mutar to sell one and buy the other - its all to fulfill a mitzva

7:26 PM

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