Jun 28, 2006
Not so bad
We learned in daf yomi last night about a conversation between R’ Yehuda and Eliyahu Hanavi. The topic under discussion is that it was common to stay up all night chanting the Torah so as to keep the Kohen Gadol awake, and they would find other innovative methods as well to keep the Kohen awake. I do not remember the exact discussion, but R’ Yehuda said in Neharda’a (a town in Babylonia that was a bastion of Babylonian Jewry) they would also stay up all night learning Torah, despite the fact that as a result it would cause in inappropriate mix of guys and girls hanging out together which would lead to inappropriate sexual relations (no kidding, it really says that is what would happen!).
We like to harp on our generation (or our kids generation) about how bad things have gotten and how we have to make sure there is no contact between the sexes, no contact between people of different types, our kids can’t be in contact with kids from other schools even, because of the bad influence that might affect them and result in sin. We complain how things have gotten so much worse than they used to be.
“Olam K’Minhago Nohaig” – The world revolves on its axis. What goes around comes around. The world goes according to its customs. There is nothing new under the sun.
We are not that bad. People do things that are inappropriate, just like they always did and always will do. People are just human beings and nobody is infallible. That is the way of the world. But we are no worse than other previous generations. Look what they did – on Yom Kippur night they stayed up learning Torah all night, and it led to immoral sex. On Yom Kippur! Yet, they would not cancel the idea of staying up learning just because it led to such behavior.