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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Not yours to sell

This translation is from They say it's megillah page 72

"It will not be lawful to buy books of the Prophets," etc. The schoolmen propounded a question: May old Holy Scrolls be sold, to purchase with the money new ones? Shall we assume that as the new ones have no preference over the old ones, they may not be sold; or that if the old ones are not sold, the new ones cannot be had, therefore it may be done?

Of course, what we're talking about is ideas, beliefs. Can I replace an old Torah that I lived by, but has become worn out with one that is as good, as effective, but fresher?

Come and hear:

Rabba bar bar Hana said in the name of R. Johanan, quoting R. Simeon b. Gamaliel:

One must not sell old scrolls for the purpose of buying new ones.
Ah!, But there it is different:
It is a precautionary measure
lest he sell the old ones without buying new ones;
but here the question is about such as are already written,
and he ready
for us
to be obtained when the money is had.
How is the law? Come and hear:
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Meir:

What is the money through which Torah is scored? Whatever we give up for it. Whatever work we did to earn it.
Schar, everyone know, the hebrew term for wages and money, also refers to karma. Every belief you have to guide you is costing you something precious, some part of yourself, and so, it had better be worth it.

In any case the Holy Scrolls must not be sold,
except for the purpose of using the money
for study,
or for marriage.
From this we see that to exchange the Law for study,
one may;
so to exchange old scrolls for new ones,
one may also.

But perhaps it is different,
because from studying
he will know how to act;
and marrying?
because it is written [Is. xlv. 18]:

"Not for naught did he create it; to be inhabited did he form it."

That is, the study is not only for it's own sake. Marriage is whenever you find something so good, you want to tie yourself to it forever. Torah, secretly, is for the sake of being able to acquire the great creative good, to keep the world Alive, and inspire something wonderful between people. All good Torah is on the level of marriage.

Anyone care to translate "inhabited" better for us? I'll race y'all...

So of course, it's a mystery. When to let go of an old Torah in order to pick up a new one? How could anyone ever?
Only once the old one is totally and utterly useless, destroyed, or illegible. It still must be buried righteously.

There's a problem with Am Yisrael all the time. On Sinai and since, we could only ever hear as much as we wanted to, could only understand as much as we were willing to. Am toei lavuv heim, a wrong-hearted nation, as we confess every friday night. We try, and try to hear it better all the time, and we are only ever defeated in Torah when we give up listening, and assume we understood. Or worse, we let someone else understand for us, and hide ourselves under their skirts.

Which is what we're encouraged to do all too often, surrender to someone else's "torah." Every king is required by law to write his own, and maybe it's time we all agreed to make each other Kings.

It was interesting watching new theologies form out of the disengagement. We couldn't ever be made to leave, so when we were, to say that we were wrong feels so dishonest. Just because i lost the fight means i'm wrong? How could it be? So the new theology becomes that we're eventually going back, ha ha. Nothing learned, nothing changed.

What is The Land of Israel is something other than what we've been willing to understand it as?

What if the whole reason we're allowed back into the land is to learn that it couldn't be all the land Is?

I find myself wondering this alot. How else could we let go of a wrong idea unless we lived it? How else could we stop yearning to be a dumb nation like every other unless we tasted the experience of it?

Lord! clarify my faith. What shall I hold by? What dare i believe in?


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