Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let the fear of Heaven be upon you. (More Talmud)

3. Antigonus of Soko received from Shime'on ha-Çaddiq. He used to say, Be not as slaves that minister to the lord with a view to receive recompense; but be as slaves that minister to the lord without a view to receives recompense; and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.
Rosedale Tar Drip

I don't know why so many of these wise Jewish sayings have three statements in them, and the first two are much easier to take than the third. They are almost like a syllogism:
No lazy people pass exams.
Some students pass exams.
Some students are not lazy.
You agree with the first two statements and then feel like you've been sold a bill of goods. You know "students are lazy." That's why they are students. And professors are lazy too. Even Picasso had those moments drinking wine and chasing after women. What a waste that was!

The Jewish pearls of wisdom are like Buddhist koans. It is easy to buy the idea of not doing things for recompense (or gain), and it is a fine idea to work for the lord (esp. when the lord is defined as "all things"), but how can one do any of this with a fear of Heaven? Is this a fear that if we do things for gain, and we are not ministers of the lord, we'll be struck dead?

Beats me...

1 comment:

Kate Freeman said...

Only fear God -- Lupe


I told my grandson Charlie what my teacher told me 60 years ago... that a work of art is finished when none of the original idea remains. So...