Random Quote #47 topic: hebraic, Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala

In the context of the foregoing quotation occurs an anecdote of
Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah which is too racy to let pass, and too
characteristic to need note or comment. One day Elisha ben
Abuyah was privileged to pry into Paradise, where he saw the
recording angel Metatron on a seat registering the merits of the
holy of Israel. Struck with astonishment at the sight, he
exclaimed, "Is it not laid down that there is no sitting in
heaven, no shortsightedness or fatigue?" Then Metatron, thus
discovered, was ordered out and flogged with sixty lashes from a
fiery scourge. Smarting with pain, the angel asked and obtained
leave to cancel the merits of the prying Rabbi. One day--it
chanced to be on Yom Kippur and Sabbath--as Elisha was riding
along by the wall where the Holy of Holies once stood, he heard
a Bath Kol proclaiming, "Return, ye backsliding children, but
Acher abide thou in thy sin" (Acher was the Rabbi's nickname). A
faithful disciple of his hearing this, and bent on reclaiming
and reforming him, invited him to go and hear the lads of a
school close by repeat their lessons. The Rabbi went, and from
that to another and another, until he had gone the round of a
dozen seminaries, in the last of which he called up a lad to
repeat a verse who had an impediment in his speech. The verse
happened to be Ps. l. 16, "But unto the wicked, God saith, Why
dost thou declare my law?" Acher fancied the boy said, and to
Elisha (his own name), instead of and to Rasha, that is, the
wicked. This roused the Rabbi into such fury of passion, that he
sprang to his feet, exclaiming, "If I only had a knife at hand I
would cut this boy into a dozen pieces, and send a piece to each
school I have visited!"

A woman of sixty runs after music like a girl of six.

THE TALMUD, _Moed Katon_, fol. 9, col. 2.


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