Avoda Zara 22: Old Fashion-Kind hearted Rabbis

The SD remembers as a kid having some old sweet Rabbis as teachers and role models.   They were gentle, kind and soft spoken. They held themselves to high standards while understanding other human beings.  In Avoda Zara we see a glimmer of this.

On page 22 we hear of a story where a Jew and an non Jew enter into a partnership of  working a garden.  The Non Jew agrees to work the garden on Shabbos and the Jew agrees to work on Sunday. The Jew asks Rava if this is acceptable.   The Talmud says that Rava gives a one word answerr: “permitted.” The Talmud doe not quote Rava giving an explanation. It just says that he said “permitted.”   Ravina jumps all over him and then Talmud goes to great length  to explain the case.  The Gemara postulates they made a pre arranged agreement as to profits. It is going through hoops  to cover Rava.

The SD would like to weigh in. Rava is the old time Rabbi.  He leads his life to strict and high standards, but when he sees a hard working simple Jews who wants to keep shabbos and earn a living he does not exact the same standard.  He knows how hard life is.  He does not explain his answer, he  just says “pemitted.” Rava shoulders are broad enough to know when the law needs to be adopted.

As Rabbi Schwartz always says: we should put other people’s physical needs above our own spiritual needs and our own spiritual needs above our physical needs.

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