January 16, 2019

The Talmud Responds to Alice Walker


The Mishna teaches: One may not build a balcony in the public domain; one must instead draw back the walls of their home and create a balcony within the property lines.

The Gemara asks: If he drew back his house, but did not (at that time) build the balcony, may he build it later?

Rabbi Yochanan says: He may.

Reish Lakish says: He may not.

Alice Walker asks: “Are goyim meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only that, but to enjoy it?”

Rabbi Yochanan says: No, of course not.

Reish Lakish challenged her: Where did you even get that idea?

Alice Walker says: “By Googling.”

Alice Walker continued: “Are 3-year-old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse? Are young boys fair game for rape?”

Rabbi Yochanan says: This is absurd.

Reish Lakish says: Do we have to talk about this? I really have a lot to say about balconies.

Alice Walker says: “Must even the best of the goyim be killed?”

Rabbi Yochanan says: Come on! We’re the balcony guys! You can’t seriously believe we’d say that!

Alice Walker says: “Pause a moment and think what this could mean, or already has meant in our own lifetime.”

Reish Lakish says: Why don’t you just tell us what you think it means.

Alice Walker says: “You will find that we, goyim, subhumans, animals … are a cruel example of what may be done with impunity, and without conscience, by a Chosen people to the vast majority of the people in the planet who were not Chosen.”

Rashi, Talmudic commentator, 11th century, France: Bonjour! By “Chosen people” I think she means, “the Jews.” En français, “Les Juifs.”

Rabbi Yochanan says: Thanks a lot, Rashi.

Rashi: Though perhaps she extends the status of “Jew” to any oppressor of the majority in the name of a minority?

Rabbi Yochanan: That’s quite enough, Rashi.

Rashi: Merci beaucoup.”

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