Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Entertainers in Olam Haba

From my current learning, I'd like to share with you a Talmudic story on the value of entertainment. It surprised me, at least.

The translation and bracketed clarifications are mine.

Rabbi Broka from Bei Hozai would frequent the marketplace of Bei Lefet. Elijah [the prophet] would visit him. He [Broka] said to him [Elijah], "Is there anyone in this marketplace with a share in the world to come?" "No."


After a while, two brothers came. He [Elijah] said to him [Broka], "These also have shares in world to come." He [Broka] approached them. He said to them, "What do you do?" They said, "We are entertainers. We cheer up the downcast." Another version has it: "When we see two people quarreling, we make an effort [through humor - Rashi] to make peace between them."

(Babylonian Talmud, Taanit 22a)

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