Pesachim page-88 is gem. It is packed with thought provoking ideas. It will take at least two and maybe three days to unravel. The daf starts with a story When Ula comes to a town in Babylonia known as Pumpedesia. He is given a basket of rich dates. He asks how much is this and they tell him that you get three baskets of these dates for one zuz.
Ula exclaims, for such cheap and abundant food you people do not learn enough Torah. Clearly a slight and a jab. That night after Ula eats the dates and then he gets sick. He retracts the slight and says basically, considering you guys eat such dangerous food, its amazing you can learn Torah.
The first lesson is pretty obvious: Don’t judge people. Don’t think you understand them or their predicaments. Don’t think that given what they have, they should do more, give more; or conform to your opinions or values.
The second lesson is a little more nuanced: The rich dates are delicious and cheap. To really appreciate something one must know it, understand, know how to handle it and to keep balance and perspective in life. Not everything is a blanket blessing. It is only a blessing if used or consumed properly. One can be too rich or have too much and fail miserably if the blessings are not used properly. We must learn that when given things, how to properly use them. Ula is telling us that the people of Pumpedesia known how to balance their lives. They know how to balance the blessings of abundance and the mission of learning Torah. To those bestowed with blessing comes the obligation to use the blessings responsibly and in the will of Hashem.
Excellent, thank you for the hump day chizuk!
Dovi Cohen ________________________________
I thought this one was particularly good. Yashar koach.