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This question will collect questions, formatted for the book, for Purim Torah questions.

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Surviving the zombie apocalypse

'not-allowed to change my name' asked: One of Maimonides's thirteen principles of faith is believing in the resurrection of the dead, wherein the dead will arise from their graves. Have our sages provided any guidelines for how we are to survive this zombie apocalypse?


b a answered: Follow the instructions of Maimonides (De'os 1:7):

וההולך בדרך זומביא טובה וברכה לעצמו

One who goes the way of the zombie — good and blessing to him.

There's nothing wrong with being a zombie, so don't try to escape being turned into one. You just need to have a positive attitude about it.


Shalom suggested: Well there's one talmudic sage (Yevamoth 10) who rejected his colleague's arguments by stating, "whoever said that has no brains in his head!" Hence, just bring in a few skeptical talmudists and the zombies will conclude there are no brains to be had here.


Monica Cellio said: Your mistake is in assuming that zombie-tude is the same as resurrection of the dead. Re-animation is not the same as resurrection, as we learn from Ezekiel (37:8–10):

וְרָאִיתִי וְהִנֵּה עֲלֵיהֶם גִּדִים וּבָשָׂר עָלָה וַיִּקְרַם עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹר מִלְמָעְלָה וְרוּחַ אֵין בָּהֶם׃

And I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them.

It is only when the prophet follows the divine command to prophesy to them that they have life:

וְהִנַּבֵּאתִי כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּנִי וַתָּבוֹא בָהֶם הָרוּחַ וַיִּחְיוּ וַיַּעַמְדוּ עַל רַגְלֵיהֶם חַיִל גָּדוֹל מְאֹד מְאֹד׃

So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great host.

Until they have prophecy-induced breath they are mere flesh and not alive. Once they are alive they also know their creator and will turn from their zombie ways, as we know from the fact that Ezekiel lived to tell the tale for 11 more chapters.

Therefore, when the zombie apocalypse comes, you have two choices: (a) smite them, as they are not living people, or (b) read to them from Ezekiel and they will turn to your side.


b a offered an alternative: To answer this question, we must first address a puzzling mishnah (Avos 2:6):

Hilel sees a skull floating in the water. He says to it, "Since you drowned, you were drowned; and your drowner will also be drowned."

  • Why is Hilel talking to a skull, which can't even hear him or understand anything?
  • Why is this at the beginning of the second chapter rather than in the end of the first chapter with Hilel's other catchy phrases (like "אם אין אני לי מי לי" and "ודלא מוסיף יסף")?

The answers, respectively, are:

  • This skull was really a zombie.
  • After Hilel addressed instructing living people in the first chapter, he moved on to addressing dead people in the second. This can be proved because of the mishnah that precedes it (2:4) in which Hilel says "Don't believe in yourself until the day of your death."

As it turns out, this specific mishnah spoken to the zombie is a continuation of what preceded it (2:5): "In a place where there are no men, you should try to be a man." Hilel is encouraging the zombie that he too can be a normal man. Contrary to popular belief, zombies can be reasoned with.

So in summary, the short answer for how to survive the zombie apocalypse: Take public speaking lessons.


Charles Koppelman advised: Zombies are actually quite problematic, though the problem seems to be with only one female zombie, Kol Haron Api, as Zephania (3:8) said:

כִּי מִשְׁפָּטִי לֶאֱסֹף גּוֹיִם לְקָבְצִי מַמְלָכוֹת לִשְׁפֹּךְ עֲלֵיהֶם זַעְמִי כֹּל חֲרוֹן אַפִּי כִּי בְּאֵשׁ קִנְאָתִי תֵּאָכֵל כָּל הָאָרֶץ

Because My judgment is to gather the nations to heap upon them My zombie, Kol Haron Api, because My jealousy is on fire, and she [Kol Haron Api] will eat all the earth.

But fundamentally, Jews shouldn't have to worry about the zombie apocalypse, as is made clear in Isaiah (66:14), zombies will only attack G-d's enemies:

וּרְאִיתֶם וְשָׂשׂ לִבְּכֶם וְעַצְמוֹתֵיכֶם כַּדֶּשֶׁא תִפְרַחְנָה וְנוֹדְעָה יַד ה׳ אֶת עֲבָדָיו וְזָעַם אֶת אֹיְבָיו

And when you see this, your heart will rejoice, and your bones will flourish like young grass; and the hand of G-d will be known to His servants, and a zombie [will be known] to His enemies.

However, Isaiah (26:19–20) does offer some practical advice while Kol Haron Api is out and about:

יִחְיוּ מֵתֶיךָ נְבֵלָתִי יְקוּמוּן הָקִיצוּ וְרַנְּנוּ שֹׁכְנֵי עָפָר כִּי טַל אוֹרֹת טַלֶּךָ וָאָרֶץ רְפָאִים תַּפִּיל. לֵךְ עַמִּי בֹּא בַחֲדָרֶיךָ וּסְגֹר דְּלָתְךָ בַּעֲדֶךָ חֲבִי כִמְעַט רֶגַע עַד יַעֲבָר זָעַם

Your dead will live, my dead bodies will arise; awake and sing, dwellers of ash -- for Your dew is like the dew of light, and Earth, bring to life the ghosts. Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors around you. Hide yourself for a moment until the passing of the zombie.

As far as what to look out for, Solomon, as usual, has some insight (Mishlei 25:23):

רוּחַ צָפוֹן תְּחוֹלֵל גָּשֶׁם וּפָנִים נִזְעָמִים לְשׁוֹן סָתֶר

A northern wind creates rain, and the faces of the zombified [have] a hidden tongue.

So anyone with a second tongue is likely a zombie.


Original question: Surviving the zombie apocalypse? mi.yodeya.com/q/26237

Contributors:

  • not-allowed to change my name mi.yodeya.com/u/1561
  • b a mi.yodeya.com/u/1569
  • Shalom mi.yodeya.com/u/21
  • Monica Cellio mi.yodeya.com/u/472
  • Charles Koppelman mi.yodeya.com/u/1498
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Rejecting others' friend requests on Facebook

jake asked: If one receives a friend request on Facebook, especially from another Jew, is it permissible to reject them?

On the one hand, "חברים כל ישראל", "All Jews are friends"; but on the other hand, it is non-beneficial to be socially connected to someone you don't know well.


msh210 answered: Pirke Avos says:

יהושע בן פרחיה אומר עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות

Y'hoshua ben Prachya says: Make yourself much and buy yourself a friend; and be judging everyone toward the scalepan of merit.

"Buy yourself a friend" means that you should only be friends with someone on a social-networking site for which you pay a membership fee. In fact, since he says you should first "make yourself much", the membership must be expensive. Since Facebook does not (yet) have paid membership available, it is inappropriate to become Facebook friends with anyone.

You might think that you should therefore look down upon someone who tries to become Facebook friends with you; hence the end of the statement, "be judging everyone toward the scalepan of merit".

Baal Shemot Tovot answered: There's a famous concept that:

כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה — all Jews are 'crows' to one another.

The medrash makes a derasha: "just like crows can congregate with nothing more than their voices, so too, the proper way for Jews to attempt being reunited is through tefila and not through Facebook."

(This derasha is probably more well known for the problems it causes in terms of basar shenitalem min ha'ayin.)

jake answered: In Pirkei Avos (1:15), we find clear instructions regarding this matter:

הוי מקבל את כל האדם בספר פנים

One should accept all persons on Facebook.

Gershon Gold answered: The Mitzva on Purim is Ad D'Lo Yada, and therefore you should not accept him as you are not supposed to know him. As a true friend he will understand.


Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/14756

Contributors:
- jake mi.yodeya.com/u/489
- msh210 mi.yodeya.com/u/170
- Baal Shemot Tovot mi.yodeya.com/u/1172
- Gershon Gold mi.yodeya.com/u/200

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  • Note: I omitted Shmuel Brin's answer, even though IMO it should be included, because I haven't yet thought of a way of including it. (It currently relies on a link for explanation, but that doesn't work in print.) If anyone thinks of a way to include it and agrees with me that it should be included, please edit it in. – msh210 Feb 23 '14 at 5:49
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What's an "achashvei"?

Isaac Moses's preschooler asked: What's an Achashvei?

I know that a rosh is a head. I want to know what kind of head Achashveirosh was.


Double AA answered: Achshevei is a Halachic principle which allows one to make something into food by designating it as such. For instance, no one wants to eat burnt Chametz, so it's not considered Chametz; if you eat it, though, you are Achshevei the burnt Chametz to be considered food to you and it is forbidden on Pesach.

So here we have Achashveirosh = Achshevei Rosh: Even though his head didn't have a brain in it, since he used it as a head, it was considered to him as if it was a head. That is why the Megillah calls him that name.

avi answered: It comes from the Hebrew and means "brother of fire people". The people of Shushan got so drunk that they thought they were on fire. The man who drank the most became their leader; thus, he was the brother of the fire people.

Shalom answered: "Chush" means "to feel". Thus "Achash" means "I shall feel".

"Vei" as in "Oy vey!" Thus: "I shall feel ouch!"

And "Achashvei-rosh": "I shall feel ouch in my head!"

WAF answered: Looks like your preschooler got caught up in a false cognate. The word has nothing to do with a rosh. Its meaning actually derives from the way it's spelled, אחשורש:‎

א‎ = 1‎

ח‎ = 8‎

שורש = root

This is a reference to a thing with 8 roots, which is a m'nora. (Normally they would be branches but v'nahafoch hu.) This alludes to the well-known fact that although we celebrate Purim on Purim it actually happened on Chanuka. We also hint at this fact by singing the Purim song Al Hanisim on Chanuka. So he was actually an 8-branched lamp, which is why we sacrifice a lam*b* on Pesach, which is an 8-day holiday outside of Israel, where Achashverosh lived. And 1 is Hashem.

YDK answered: Achashvei is a paragraph lead by the chazan (and followed by the congregation) on our holiest day. It starts Achash, Achashvei achash, Achashvei shtaim, etc. The Chazan who leads the paragraph is given the title Achashvei Rosh. Because the king of Persia was an Achashvei Rosh, this holiest day is called Yom KiPurim.


Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/15062

Contributors:
- Isaac Moses mi.yodeya.com/u/2
- Double AA mi.yodeya.com/u/759
- avi mi.yodeya.com/u/597
- Shalom mi.yodeya.com/u/21
- WAF mi.yodeya.com/u/3
- YDK mi.yodeya.com/u/145

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  • 1
    Note for typsetter: in WAF's answer, "lamb" didn't format as bold here but came through as literal. (I think styling embedded within words doesn't work in markdown.) – Monica Cellio Feb 23 '14 at 18:22
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Sending heresy on Purim?

msh210 asked: On Purim we're supposed to engage in מִשְׁלוֹחַ מִנּוּת, the sending of heresy to our fellow Jews. What are some pieces of heretical literature that are appropriate for sending on Purim? Or ones you'd like to receive?


Alex answered: What you should do is combine this with matanos la'evyonim, by sending to poor people. That way you're making the heretical declaration (at least according to Turnus Rufus, Bava Basra 10a) that even though Hashem isn't providing for them, you are.

jutky added: I wanted to point out, that despite the custom to send manos via a shliah, sending heresy could be done only by the sender himself. Because, there is no shliah ledvar aveira.

msh210 said: On Shabas parashas Zachor, erev Purim, I asked a local rabbi a similar question, how one can best fulfill the obligation of mishloach minus? He said via the Internet.


Original question: (heresy on Purim) mi.yodeya.com/q/6305

Contributors:
- msh210 mi.yodeya.com/u/170
- Alex mi.yodeya.com/u/37
- jutky mi.yodeya.com/u/205

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