Support the news

Mystery and Truth in the Talmud34:14

This article is more than 17 years old.

The Talmud is a collection of ancient Rabbinic writings that constitute the basis of religious authority in Orthodox Judaism. One passage found in the Talmud tells the story of four sages who embark on a pilgrimage and enter the Orchard or paradise. According to the passage, the first sage died after entering the Orchard, the second sage lost his mind and the third lost his faith. Only the fourth sage managed to leave the Orchard in peace. The passage gives no explanation as to what the sages saw in the Orchard or what accounted for their different responses to the experience.

In this week's show, we presented a lecture by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel dedicated to the exploration of the story of the four sages in the Talmud. In this lecture, Professor Wiesel relates the suffering from the story's ambiguity to the suffering of the Jewish people through time. He also tackles, among other issues, the question of whether suffering changes a person or brings out a weakness that is already in him or her, and if we can manage to find some kind of truth in a mystery.

This program aired on November 25, 2001.

Robin Lubbock Twitter Visual/Social Media
Robin Lubbock produces visual and social media for WBUR.


+Join the discussion

Support the news