January 16, 2019

The Talmud Responds to Alice Walker

“BABYLONIAN TALMUD, Bava Batra 60b

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.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."

Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?

"There isn’t an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think... In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren’t just two sides. There are many, many sides."

"I've always wondered what fans see in her. After debating with a friend about her “merits” for over half a decade now, I thought I had found the one thing that could probably change my opinion of the pop star: the Reputation tour documentary..."

"Even if the economy is on a roll, many Americans aren’t feeling the benefit... In fact, when adjusted for cost of living increases, real wages actually declined 1.3% since the end of 2017, PayScale found."

"Cutting ties with Facebook would mean consciously cutting ties with my own community, and I can't bring myself to do it. When I asked my connections on Facebook why they were staying, their answers were very similar to mine..."

Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.

"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."

"When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games..."

"Startups like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce say they're helping to reduce food waste in America. Critics say they're deceiving their customers and making the problem worse."

"Scholars are now interested in whether having a vocabulary item for a concept influences thought in domains far from language, such as visual perception."

"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."