Thursday, July 14, 2005

Move Over Copernicus

Talmud Babli, Tractate Hagigah, Daf 12a

It is taught: R. Jose says: Alas for people that they see but know not what they see, they stand but know not on what they stand. What does the earth rest on? On the pillars, for it is said: Who shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. The pillars upon the waters, for it is said: To Him that spread forth the earth above the waters. The waters upon the mountains, for it is said: The waters stood above the mountains. The mountains on the wind, for it is said: For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind. The wind upon the storm, for it is said: The wind, the storm maketh its substance. Storm is suspended on the arm of the Holy One, blessed be He, for it is said: And underneath are the everlasting arms. But the Sages say: [The world] rests on twelve pillars, for it is said: He set the borders to the peoples according to the number [of the tribes] of the children of Israel. And some say seven pillars, for it is said: She hath hewn out her seven piliars. R. Eleazar b. Shammua’ says: [It rests] on one pillar, and its name is ‘Righteous’, for it is said: But ‘Righteous’ is the foundation of the world.

Right [hits forehead with palm], pillars! I should have known! I mean, they have the proof texts and everything.

2 comments:

alex said...

"Right [hits forehead with palm], pillars! I should have known! I mean, they have the proof texts and everything."

Right [hits forehead with palm], metaphors! I should have known! I mean, they love to couch their ideas in metaphors.

Orthoprax said...

Alex,

Besides for the pillars themselves, my post here was more a commentary on the omni-applicability of Talmudic proof texts. They can be used to support just about any assertion when you take the text out of context.