Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Farming is an inferior profession for Jews, non-Jews should be farmers


The Talmud is very complicated, not every statement is a law, sometimes it is a commentary or the opinion of a certain Rabbi, sometimes a stipulation or refutation, however the quotes below should give you a good idea about Talmudic reasoning on certain issues.

Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Raba of the Talmud agree, according to some Jews “no occupation is inferior to that of agricultural labour”.  The Talmud speaks of how the non-Jews (Gentiles) of the trading city of Tyre who were once craftsmen and mariners but were brought down to this lowly profession.  Rather than till the earth, the Rabbis of the Talmud encourage Jews to become businessmen so that they may feast on meat and wine everyday rather than vegetables.


R. Eleazar further stated: There will be a time when all craftsmen will take up agriculture (they shall stand upon the land); [18] for it is said, And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all the pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships; they shall stand upon the land(Ezek. XXVII, 29. – referring to the Gentiles of Tyre ).[19]

R. Eleazar further stated: No (lit. “not to thee”) [20] occupation is inferior to that of agricultural labour; for it is said, And they shall come down.

R. Eleazar once saw a plot of land that was ploughed across its width (Apparently as a measure of economy). [22] ‘Wert thou to be ploughed along thy length also’ (I.e., were it to be ploughed ever so many times),[23] he remarked, ‘engaging in business would still be more profitable’. Rab once entered among growing ears of corn. Seeing that they were swaying he called out to them, ‘Swing as you will, engaging in business brings more profit than you can do’.

Raba said: A hundred zuz in business means meat and wine every day; a hundred zuz in land, only salt and vegetables. Furthermore it causes him to sleep on the ground and embroils him in strife. (Babylonian Talmud, Yebamouth 63a)

FOOTNOTE 18: Lit., ‘they shall stand upon the land’.
FOOTNOTE 19: Ezek. XXVII, 29.
FOOTNOTE 20: Lit., ‘not to thee’.
FOOTNOTE 22: Apparently as a measure of economy.
FOOTNOTE 23: I.e., were it to be ploughed ever so many times.

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