[ Time & Eternity ] IHO Index ] [ Search ] [ Rabbis ] Apocalyptic Speculation  ]

261. The Swampy Field
3 Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai said::
--" From this we know Israel will not face Gehinnom forever."
He proposed a parable:
-- "To what is the matter likened?
To a king of flesh and blood who had a swampy field.
Some men came and leased it for ten khors [= 60 bushels] of wheat a year.
They fertilized it, tilled it, watered it and harvested it.
But they gathered no more than one khor of wheat during the year.
The king said to them:
-- "What is this?"
They said to him:
-- "You know, our Lord (and) King,
at first you gathered nothing from that field you gave us.
And now we have fertilized and watered it,
and have gathered at least one khor of wheat."
So Israel shall plead before the Holy One, blessed be He!:
--"Lord of the world, you know the evil impulse incites us!"
as it is said:
--"He knows our impulse" (Ps 103:14).
  --- Babylonian Talmud (supplement), Aboth de R. Nathan 16.3

262. The Broken Oath
  Come (and) hear!
Valeria the proselyte asked Rabban Gamaliel (II):
--"Why is it written in your Torah:
--'He does not lift up (his) countenance..." (Deut 10:17c)
while it is written:
--'The LORD lift up his countenance upon you' (Num 6:26)?"
Joining in, Rabbi Josť the Priest said to her:
--"I'll give you a parable.
To what is this matter likened?
To a man who loaned his comrade [chaber] a hundred (shekels)
and fixed the due date in the presence of the king
and (the borrower) swore by the king's life (that he'd pay).
The due date arrived and he had not repaid (the lender).
He went to appease the king, who said to him:
--"I forgive you the insult to me.
It is for you to appease your comrade!"
So, too, the latter (text) concerns man's offences towards God [ha Maqom]
the former concerns man's offences towards his comrade."
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 17b

263. The Grain of Wheat
  Queen Cleopatra said to Rabbi Meir:
--"I know that the dead will live, for it is written:
--'like the grass of the ground
they shall sprout from the city'
(Ps 72:16).
But when they rise, will they rise up naked or in their garments?"
He said to her, (arguing) from less to greater [qal wahomer]
from a grain of wheat:
--"And what of a grain of wheat which is buried naked?
It rises up in so many garments.
How much more the righteous, who are buried in their garments!"
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 90b

264. The Blind & the Lame
  Antoninus (Pius) said to Rabbi (Judah the Prince):
--"The body and the soul can both escape judgment!
How?
The body can say:
--'It was the soul who sinned!
From the day it separated from me I lie still like a stone in the grave!'
And the soul can say:
--'It was the body who sinned!
From the day I separated from it I speed through the air like a bird!'"
Rabbi said to him:
--"I will propose you a parable.
To what is the matter likened?
To a king of flesh and blood who had a beautiful garden [pardes]
and there fine figs in it.
He set two guards in it, the one blind and the other lame.
The lame said to the blind:
--"I see fine figs in the garden!
Come, give me a lift and we will get them to eat!"
The lame rode on the back of the blind and they got them and ate.
Days later the owner [ba'al] of the garden came and said to them:
--"Where are those fine figs?"
The lame said to him:
--"Do I have any feet to walk with?"
The blind said to him:
--"Do I have any eyes to see with?"
What did (the king) do?
He lifted the lame onto the back of the blind and judged them both as one.
So the Holy One, blessed be He!, will bring the soul and place it in the body and judge them both as one, as it is said:
--"He shall call to the heavens from above
and to the earth to judge his people"
(Ps 50:4).
"He shall call to the heavens from above" : that is, the soul;
"and to the earth to judge his people": that is, the body.
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 91b

The Previewed Banquet

265. Banquet Attire
  Then Solomon in his wisdom said:
--"Let your garments be always white,
and let not your head lack oil" (Eccles. 9:8).
Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai said:
--"This is like a king who summoned his servants to a banquet
but he did not set a time for them.
The attentive got themselves dressed
and sat at the door of the king's house.
They said:
-- "Is anything missing at the king's house?"
The foolish went on with their work.
They said:
--"Is there any banquet without toil?"
Suddenly the king summoned his servants.
The attentive gathered before him all dressed up
while the foolish gathered before him all soiled.
The king was pleased with the attentive, but angry with the foolish.
He said:
--"Let those who are dressed up for the banquet sit, eat and drink;
but let those who did not dress for this banquet stand and watch."
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 153a

The King's Banquet

266. Beggar at a Banquet
  "And she made a vow and said: 'LORD of hosts..." (1 Sam 1:11)
Hannah said before the Holy One, blessed be He!:
--"Lord of the world!
You who created all the hosts on hosts in your world,
is it too hard for you to make me one son?"
A parable [mashal]:
To what is the matter likened?
To a king of flesh and blood, who made a banquet for this servants.
A poor man came and stood at the door.
He said to them:
--"Give me one piece of bread!"
When they did not notice him, he pushed and went in near the king.
He said to him:
-- "My lord (and) king! Is it too hard for you
to give me one piece of bread from all the banquet you have made?"
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth 31b

267. Clean Clothes
  Our rabbis taught:
--"...and the spirit returns to the God who gave it" (Eccles. 12:7b)
(means): Give it to him pure as he gave it to you.
This may be compared to a king of flesh and blood
who distributed royal garments to his servants.
The attentive among them folded them and deposited them in a chest.
The foolish among them went and did their work in them.
Days later the king asked for his garments.
The attentive among them returned them to him all sparkling;
the foolish among them returned them to him all soiled.
The king was pleased with the attentive, but angry with the foolish.
Regarding the attentive he said:
-- "Give the garments to the treasurer
and let them go to their homes in peace."
Regarding the foolish he said:
-- "Give the garments to the treasurer
and lock them in the prison house."
So, the Holy One, blessed be He!, says
regarding the bodies of the righteous:
--"He enters into peace, they rest in their beds" (Isa 57:2a).
But he says regarding their souls:
--"the soul of my lord will be bound up in the bundle of life" (1 Sam 25:29a)
Regarding the bodies of the wicked he says:
--"There is no peace for the wicked, says the LORD" (Isa 48:22)
and concerning their souls he says:
--"and the souls of their enemies he shall eject
as from the hollow of a sling"
(1 Sam 25:29b).
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 152b

[ Time & Eternity ] IHO Index ] [ Search ] [ Rabbis ] Apocalyptic Speculation  ]

 

Perspective on the World of Jesus

with new translations from primary texts

Copyright © 1999-2008 by Mahlon H. Smith
All rights reserved.

an American Theological Library Association Selected Religion Website
OCLC catalog no.: 62046512

[Hypertext links to this web page are invited. Brief quotations may be used in scholarly reviews and research providing the author is credited & the URL for this web page properly noted. But the text as a whole may not be posted or reproduced elsewhere without express written permission of the author.]

Reader  since May 1999 on Web Counter.