Emotions (Eruvin 52)

2 minuten leestijd

Joel –

Todays daf also speaks about substance over form. The Gemara brings in Raba bar Rav Chanan whose custom it was to go from Artibbena to Pumbedita on Shabbat and formally acquired residence in Tzinta, which was located between the Shabbat limits of the two places, without going there, but enabled him to make the journey. Abaye questions his actions and as a consequence, Raba changed his behaviour.

Raba intentionally sought out Tzinta, in order to comply with the law, but as it was against the idea of the law, he was compelled to change his ways. An Eruv for another reason than to actually use it, is invalid. You just can’t outsmart the Law.

I’m puzzled by what you wrote about Yom Kippur:

Important, because it is too easy to stand in a kittel and fast, but not feel anything. If you do that, it means nothing.

This is what you actually wrote on https://www.thedaffodil.org/substance-over-form-eruvin-49/

When I came back from this strange Kol Nidre service, not in the last place strange because we -thanks to COVID19- were not allowed to sing, even not my favourite Like Clay in the Hands of the Potter, I studied Mishna Yoma, and did not find emotion mentioned apart from the crying of the Kohen Gadol before he starts his service as he is -as part of the ritual- accused of being a Sadducee.

And precisely because there, the Mishna does describe this emotional moment, the absence of them in the rest of the service is so stunning. There is no relief, no sadness, no inner contemplation.

As in practice: Kol Nidre, Vidui, Avinu Malkenu; as much as they are moving because of both substance and form, they are mere legal declarations.

Just like where Yom Kippur is mentioned in scripture: affliction and a warning that if you don’t abide, you’re cut off.

Scripture is full of emotion: hope, doubt, sadness, love, jealousy and other emotions, and we even learn in a few weeks, when we discuss Noach, that a Tzaddik in Peltz: a a just and righteous man in a fur coat: only dealing with his own truth, not being able to connect emotionally with others is not a leader, not regarded as a full person that should be emanated.

In fact: Judaism pays much attention to the emotional, the unseeable, and the spiritual. The elevating of a meal to a spiritual experience by saying a blessing, the symbols, the movements and the songs: they are highly meaningful and pure emotion.

Back to our friend Raba: was he happy when he found a loophole and sad when it was rejected? Or to put it stronger: is the gemara even concerned with emotions? Or is it just legal fact – and fiction? (pun intended).

I may bump into you tomorrow; I decided last minute to buy a lulav and etrog even though at first I thought I wouldn’t, and I need to pick them up in Amstelveen. And I am doubt if I should build a Sukka: most of sukkot it will be raining and because of Covid we will hardly or not have guests.


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