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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Epic Disses of the Talmud, #1

I'm reading Talmud online while researching a thing I hope to announce sometime in the not too distant future, and of course Talmud is the original attention-deficit rabbit warren of distraction before which Wikipedia is as the moon to the sun.

So there's this bit:

Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Hiram, the King of Tyre. '[At the creation] I looked upon thee, [observing thy future arrogance], and created [therefore] the excretory organs of man'. Others say: Thus said [the Holy One, blessed be He].' I looked upon thee and decreed the penalty of death over Adam'.

Hiram is actually a buddy of David and Solomon in the Bible (he sends a bunch of special wood from Lebanon to build the temple), and an anecdote from Josephus has Solomon and Hiram stumping each other with riddles. But in the rabbinical literature the legend arises that, after starting out as a pretty good guy, lived to be super old and then decided to build a scale-model replica of the heavens and the earth and live in it as God. As you do.

Everybody gets pretty mad at Hiram at this point because, dude, not cool, and the Rabbis spend a bunch of time in the Midrash ragging on him.

So in the quote above the Rabbis basically are saying "Hiram, you are such an asshole that when God was creating humans He was planning on making them immortal and without assholes. But then he was like, oh, that Hiram guy, yeah, I think I'll make humans have assholes and have to die."

So Hiram is essentially the Trope Maker for assholes, figurative and literal.

Posted by benrosen at December 14, 2017 08:14 AM | Up to blog
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