Broken and Whole; Whole and Broken (8a-8b)

We read in today’s daf “Since the day that the Temple was destroyed the Holy One, Blessed is the One, has nothing in the world of the Holy One, but the four amos of halachah.” And what is four amos? It is “the space allotted for a single human being”. Consequently — God, now homeless, must find refuge within the confines of the limited space of each person, which we might interpret as each one’s limited understandings of  God’s ways.

We read later in the daf “the second set of Tablets and the broken pieces of the first Tablets both rest in the Ark”. [Recalling that Moses broke the first set of Tablets which were replaced with a second set.]

Both sets of Tablets – the broken set and the whole set – are both holy and deserve to be contained in the Ark. Because in this world of No Temple every shard is important lest it be one from the very Temple we are now tasked to recreate in our hearts and in our minds with words and text.

So we continue to read and to study day-by-day hoping that the random shards of thought and feeling that we gather here become something larger than themselves as they are placed side-by-side, one upon the other.

All them are needed in this world – both the broken ones and the whole ones – because we cannot know in advance where the shard will fit. That jagged, scraggly one, might be the one, the only one, that fits, that answers that question or that piece of a question imagined so long ago …

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2 Responses to Broken and Whole; Whole and Broken (8a-8b)

  1. neillitt says:

    And it becomes our task to look at all the answers and broken pieces of answers and try to imagine the questions! In a sense, Talmud study is the original prototype for the game show “Jeopardy,” where the correct answer is always in the form of a question.

  2. elenizl says:

    Isn’t that the truth? Ha!

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