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Chagigah 5: Seeing the Pain in God’s Hidden Face

The story of R. Yochanan who encounters a man who is picking less ripe figs and leaving the ripe figs. And the rationale and value of picking the figs that weren’t quite ready becomes a springboard for some heavy hitting philosophical discussion of how God takes some people before their time, the question of hidden wrong-doing, and the possibility of trusting people that nothing inadvertently wrong has taken place. The object lesson is found in the trust Rava gives his wife, who (as it happens) is the daughter of R. Hisda. Also, more on the see-and-be-seen aspect of this mitzvah, and how it compares to Hester Panim, God’s hidden face in the world, and the Jewish experience over all. Note again, the anthropomorphism. And God’s pain, as it were. Plus, the story of R. Kahana hiding under Rav’s bed.

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Anne and Yardaena

Anne Gordon is the deputy editor of Ops & Blogs at The Times of Israel. She is a veteran educator, having taught in high school and post-high school institutions in Israel and America for several decades. Yardaena Osband is a pediatrician and teaches in her community and online. They both hail from Boston, proud alumna of Maimonides School, where they first learned Gemara. Talking Talmud is their conversation (via podcast) on the daf yomi. They say: "Learning the daf? We have something for you to think about. Not learning the daf? We have something for you to think about! (Along with a taste of the daf...) Join the conversation with us!"
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