Why are there poor people

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  1. Shmuel says:

    But we cannot forget that Judaism establishes a cyclic quality of existence as well. We consider this journey towards Tikkun Olam as returning to the Source; kabbalistically, the histalshelus is represented simultaneously as a series of “kavim” in the Eitz Chaim as well as the concentric circles of Tzimtzum…

    • micha says:

      The post I quoted on Miqeitz was about the difference between zeman and eis, yom and shanah, and was exactly about this duality. Time is kind of a spiral staircase — there are yamim of progress, but shanim (which also means “repetitions”) where we revisit “zeman cheiruseinu”, “zeman matan Toraseinu”, etc…. Lakol zeman va’eis… everything has a point in the timeline and a proper position in the revolutions of the process.

      So that there are revisits, but each time one layer beyond the last time we were there, not an actual repetition.

      My point here was to share a thought I had during R’ Davis’s derashah last Shabbos, when he mentioned Turnus Rufus’s question about giving tzedaqah. So I was writing a part 2, tying the lack of linear side to Turnus Rufus’s question.

      The Yefetic conception was of an infinitely old universe. So they couldn’t emphasize progress, nor for that matter entropy, since any process would have run through to completion by now. So instead their world was pretty much constant — only cyclic.

      BTW, Turnus Rufus, like most of the Roman soldiers assigned to Judea, was from the Eastern half of the empire, the future Byzantium. Mel Gibson got it wrong when he had them all speaking Latin, they spoke Greek. I think that’s why he was R’ Aqiva’s foil rather than a more Roman Roman.

      In contrast, R’ Aqiva thought he was not only within a history that progresses, but near the end of that history. We’re talking about the future armor bearer for Bar Kochva, the man who saw redemption in a fox den on the Temple Mount. Which made him the right person to narrate this principle.

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