Thursday, March 01, 2007

Purim Torah and the Hermeneutics of Mishnaic Legislative Morphology

I’ll blame e-kvetcher for starting this. He has an interesting post on the nature of Mishnah, in which he uses an amusing example to demonstrate the point (originaly from here):

"What do we do upon reaching a red light? Stop entirely; this is the opinion of Joe. Jane says that a rolling stop is acceptable. In the opinion of Sue, the answer depends on whether there are other cars on the road. Once, Joe's sons were coming home from a party in the middle of the night, and they admitted to their father that they had neglected to stop at a stop sign...")

So, here in the spirit of Purim, is the associated Gemorah, originaly from here:

G’M: From where do we know this (that one must stop at a red light)? For it says “…and he (Joshua) spoke before the eyes of Israel, sun in Gibon, stand!” Read it not ‘dome’ (stand), but rather ‘adome’ (red).

The Rabbis taught: What do you do when you reach a red light? Sue taught: stop immediately, but if the pedestrians start walking early, you can freak them out a little, for it says “in all cases, a person may not stand in a place of danger”. Jane says: Whether there are pedestrians or not, one may roll to a stop, for it says “I shall go by clouds in the day and by fire in the night”.

Sue is contradicting Sue! Here, (in the beraisah) you are driving your own ride, There, (in the mishnah), you’re driving your Uncle Milton’s clunker– these are the words of Snoop-Lakish. Or you can say; Here, the light is red when you approach the intersection, There, it’s one of those really short yellows where before you know it, the light turns red – these are the words of Larry, son of Milton.

The Rabbis taught: Joe says: One must always drive with ones eyes on the road, for it says, “thou shall not stray after your hearts and after your eyes”; ‘hearts’ – this refers to adjusting ones makeup while driving, ‘eyes’ – this refers to dialing your cell phone. And Sue says, chauvinist! ‘hearts’ - this is looking through the CDs buried under your seat, ‘eyes’ this refers to checking us out when you should be watching the road.

The Rabbis taught: Fortunate is Israel, for they shall always be blessed with green lights, for it says “…you shall deliver the blessings on Mount Greezim…” do not read it ‘Greezim’, but rather ‘Green lights’.

Happy Purim!


Blogger e-kvetcher said...


March 01, 2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Simon Holloway said...


March 01, 2007 11:11 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...


March 06, 2007 12:00 PM  
Blogger Ben Avuyah said...

Funny !!

March 12, 2007 12:55 PM  

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