But is it Still Pork?

December 10, 2009

The Talmud, Shabbat 30b, reports how Rabban Gamliel taught how in Messianic times, our daily material needs will be met without effort, and some of the pain and drudgery that is a hallmark of life, will disappear:

R. Gamaliel sat and expounded, the Land of Israel is destined to bring forth cakes and wool robes [from the trees and the fields–af], for it is said (Tehillim 72:16), There shall be an handful of grain in the land. יתיב רבן גמליאל וקא דריש עתידה ארץ ישראל שתוציא גלוסקאות וכלי מילת שנאמר (תהילים עב) יהי פסת בר בארץ

This statement didn’t earn Rabban Gamliel universal admiration. Indeed, the Talmud reports that one disciple reacted with derision and laughter, quoting from Kohelet: there will be nothing new under the sun. Not to be undercut, Rabban Gamliel replied by pointing out that these phenomena already exist and won’t represent any radical change in nature:

But a certain disciple scoffed at him, saying, but it is written, ‘there is no new thing under the sun!’ Come, and I will show you their equal in this world, replied he. He went forth and showed him morels and truffles [which resemble cakes–Soncino]; and for silk robes [he showed him] the bark of a young palm-shoot [which has a downy, silk-like substance on the inside–Soncino]. ליגלג עליו אותו תלמיד ואמר אין כל חדש תחת השמש אמר ליה בא ואראך דוגמתן בעולם הזה נפק אחוי ליה כמיהין ופטריות ואכלי מילת נברא בר קורא

Rabban Gamliel clearly envisages the material transformation of the world in the Messianic era not to be any major departure from the nature of nature today.

What if that day is slowly but surely arriving? Read the rest of this entry »