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MK Ruth Calderon Teaches Talmud from the Knesset Podium

In her inaugural speech as an MK, Ruth Calderon spoke about the Talmud, how it became central to her life, and she then taught from a volume that belonged to Yair Lapid’s grandfather. She spoke about the following story from Ketubbot 62b.

כי הא דרב רחומי הוה שכיח קמיה דרבא במחוזא, הוה רגיל דהוה אתי לביתיה כל מעלי יומא דכיפורי. יומא חד משכתיה שמעתא, הוה מסכיא דביתהו השתא אתי השתא אתי, לא אתא, חלש דעתה אחית דמעתא מעינה, הוה יתיב באיגרא, אפחית איגרא מתותיה ונח נפשיה.

For example, R. Rehumi would frequent the session of Raba in Mahoza. He would customarily return home at the eve of every Day of Atonement. Once he was preoccupied with his study and he forgot to go home. His wife waited for him: “Now he’s coming, now he’s coming.” But he didn’t come. She became upset and wept. At that moment, he was sitting on a roof. The roof collapsed under him, and he was killed.

What does she learn from this story and how does it relate to her work as a MK: 1. A person who forgets that they are sitting on the shoulders of someone else, will fall; 2. Righteousness does not consist of devotion to the Torah at the expense of taking another person into account; 3. In a disagreement there are often two sides that are both right.

5 Responses to “MK Ruth Calderon Teaches Talmud from the Knesset Podium”

  1. 1
    Abul Bannat:

    Sorry for picking nits but don’t we usually pronounce “רבא” “Rava” to distinguish him from Raba with a heh?

  2. 2
    Michael P:

    In the video I heard her say Ravah. In the translation, Neusner often uses “b” for veit and “bb” for Beit.

  3. 3
    Abul Bannat:

    I made my comment before watching the video. Actually, in the video she gives the grammatical reason for the pronounciation. My “nit” was based on custom (like the different stress for רמב”ם vs. רמב”ן).

  4. 4

    As a general rule, the portion of the brain that focuses on grammar is opposite the lobe that focuses on thigns like tradition. (Akin to the different parts of the brain that focus on math and art.) Consequently, most people who stress grammar and dikduk dont care a whole lot about tradition, and vice versa. There are exceptions, myself being one. But as a general rule it is true.

  5. 5

    Isn’t this exciting. No-one group owns Judaism Everyone can be interested in the study of Talmud. Ruth is a very eloquent and learned speaker and points the way to the future of religious thought and practice in Israel.




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