Sunday, October 16, 2005

The cheapest mitzvah on the market

In m. Avoda Zara 3a, The Almighty declares "מצוה קלה יש לי", which roughly translated means "I got an easy mitzvah for ya" and He was referring to the mitzvah of Succah.

Now the Talmudists, in their interpretation of the Almighty's statement explain as follows: "It's an easy mitzvah, cuz it costs very little".

Yeah, you heard right.

Now here are a few possible explanations:
a) The Talmudists lived in a very different zeitgeist than we do...
b) The Jew Tax for kosher food and religious ritual items was at an all time low (72%) in their time... they bought Kosher lePesach Coke for $0.99 / 2 liter bottle.
c) The rain forests weren't depleted yet and so wood panels cost less...
d) Talmudists are also humorists.

What's your take on this? What do you think they meant? Or G-d meant, for that matter...

Sorry seems to be the hardest word...

I remember once in yeshiva, a fellow bochur came up to me erev Yom Kippur and declared he'd like forgiveness for having spoken lashon hora about me. So while until then I had considered this guy a pretty decent comrade, after his good will gesture, all I could think of was how much of a jerk he was. The thought of his forked tongue whispering at the back of the beis medrash about me haunted me for days. I was tortured day and night by delerious delusions of a united conspiracy against me by all the meshuge frums.

In halacha the requirement of t'shuva goes hand in hand with viduy. In aveiros beyn adam lamakom that means voicing to G-d (and yourself I think) the things you recognize as aveiros you comitted. But in aveiros shebeyn adam lachaveiro it's required that you ask forgiveness from the person you wronged.

Aha! But what if asking forgiveness will cause the person harm - what if the person was better off not knowing that you wronged him? In the case that I mentioned above, I would have preferred to remain ignorant of the fact that Jerkhead had spoken some unfavorable words about me to a few sketchy friends.

To me it's clear that Jerkhead was "washing his hands" with me. Whereas before he held me in contempt - at least enough to speak badly of me - now, he proved that he even considered me less than human by using me as one does a mikveh to rid himself of his guilt for a sin he may have mistakenly perceived as beyn adam lamakom...

Wouldn't it make sense that if the aveira is a beyn adam lachaveiro, that asking forgiveness should not once again transgress beyn adam lachaveiro?

I dunno, what do you think about this?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

First Post

Well, here goes.