The Logic of the Talmud

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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Secret Alias
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The Logic of the Talmud

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:29 pm

A young man knocks on the door of a great Talmudic scholar.

"Rabbi, I wish to study Talmud."

“Do you know Aramaic?”

“No."

“Hebrew?”

“No."

“Have you ever studied Torah?”

“No, Rabbi, but I graduated from Harvard summa cum laude in philosophy, and received a PhD from Yale. I'd like to round out my education with a bit of Talmud.”

“I doubt that you are ready for Talmud. It is the broadest and deepest of books. If you wish, however, I will examine you in logic, and if you pass the test I will teach you Talmud.”

"Good. I'm well versed in logic."

"First question. Two burglars come down a chimney. One emerges with a clean face, the other with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

”The burglar with the dirty face."

“Wrong. The one with the clean face. Examine the logic. The burglar with a dirty face looks at the one with a clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with a clean face looks at the burglar with a dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So the one with the clean face washes.”

“Very clever. Another question please.”

“Two burglars come down a chimney. One emerges with a clean face, the other with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“We established that. The burglar with the clean face washes.”

“Wrong. Both wash. Examine the logic. The one with a dirty face thinks his face is clean. The one with a clean face thinks his face is dirty. So the burglar with a clean face washes. When the one with a dirty face sees him washing, however, he realizes his face must be dirty too. Thus both wash.”

“I didn’t think of that. Please ask me another.”

“Two burglars come down a chimney. One emerges with a clean face, the other with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“Well, we know both wash.”

“Wrong. Neither washes. Examine the logic. The one with the dirty face thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face thinks his face is dirty. But when clean-face sees that dirty-face doesn’t bother to wash, he also doesn’t bother. So neither washes. As you can see, you are not ready for Talmud.”

"Rabbi, please, give me one more test.”

“Two burglars come down a chimney. One emerges with a clean face, the other with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“Neither!”

“Wrong. And perhaps now you will see why Harvard and Yale cannot prepare you for Talmud. Tell me, how is it possible that two men come down the same chimney, and one emerges with a clean face, while the other has a dirty face?"

"But you've just given me four contradictory answers to the same question! That's impossible!"

"No, my son, that's Talmud."

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Logic of the Talmud

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:33 pm

I am probably not ready for Talmud. :D

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Logic of the Talmud

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:13 pm

I really think there is a relationship between cultures that really have traditionally taken the LOGIC of religion seriously (the Jews, Irish, Italians for instance) and those who have developed advanced comedy skills. It's easy to just follow the logic of these books - to just surrender to the assault. But once you actually start thinking about the absurdity that is taken for granted by generations of wise men, the absurdity only leads to comedy.

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Re: The Logic of the Talmud

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:46 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:13 pm
I really think there is a relationship between cultures that really have traditionally taken the LOGIC of religion seriously (the Jews, Irish, Italians for instance) and those who have developed advanced comedy skills. It's easy to just follow the logic of these books - to just surrender to the assault. But once you actually start thinking about the absurdity that is taken for granted by generations of wise men, the absurdity only leads to comedy.
You... may be onto something there.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Logic of the Talmud

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:58 pm

"Seriously," though, I did enjoy reading that extended joke.

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Secret Alias
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Re: The Logic of the Talmud

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:20 am

If you liked that one here is another:

Two beggars are sitting outside the Vatican. One displays a large cross, the other a Jewish star.

The beggar with the cross has a cup overflowing with money, while the Jewish beggar has only a few coins.

A priest walks by and notices the disparity. He approaches the Jewish beggar.

"Excuse me, but you do realize this is the center of the Catholic world? You'll never raise money with that Star of David on your cup."

The beggar with the star turns to the one with the cross and says, "Moishe, look who's teaching us about marketing!"

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