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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ruined Doorways and Eternal Life

The following is an interesting quote from an ancient Jewish source, relating to ruins.

From minor tractate Derekh Eretz Zuta, which may be from the 9th century and deals with advise for how to live the good life:

אל תהא כאסקופה העליונה שמונעת את הרגלים (וסופה להסתר ס"א). ולא כאמצעית שכל היושב על ידו זועף וסופה להסתר. היה כאסקופה התחתונה שרוב בני אדם דורסין אותה לסוף כל הבנין כולה נסתר והיא במקומה עומדת. (סוף פרק שלישי)

Translation: "Do not be like the lintel, which denies entrants (and will in the end be destroyed). Nor like the jamb, upon which those sitting nearby lean, and in the end it will be destroyed. Rather, be like the threshold, that most people walk on and in the end, even when the entire building is destroyed, it will remain in its place."

In other words, strive to be modest and helpful during your life, and your good deeds will last forever.

(Photo above: Ruined doorway in Ambrussum, by Martin J. Newman)

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