Sunday, August 28, 2011

Four entered in a Pardes...An interpretation of Chagiga 14b

Four men entered, in a field:

Rabbi Akiva warned them: When you get to the white marble, don't say "Water! Water!"

They went in.

One man died.

One man went mad.

One man cut the shoots.

Rabbi Akiva came out unharmed.

One made died:

He said: "I have lived my life with the belief that reason would lead me to my God. Now I see it does not. I cannot live." His soul departed, and we learn that God holds dear the passing of His righteous ones.

One man went mad:

He went running through the night, holding a lantern in his hand and asking strangers: Have you seen Him? Have you seen God?" They laughed a nervous laugh. Then he jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "I will tell you!" he cried "We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers!" He threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out.

One man cut the shoots:

He said: I will live only by that which can be demonstrated. That which cannot, I will disregard. Hope will come from within.

We therefore say he cut the shoots.

But Rabbi Akiva came out unharmed:

For he had remembered to remain silent.

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