Monday, November 13, 2006

The Kikayon and the People

Posted by Rachel

Hashem says to Yonah, "You took pity on the kikayon for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow; it was born at night and (the next) night it died, and I—-shall I not take pity on a great city like Nineveh, that has more than 120, 000 people in it who don’t know their right hand from their left, and many animals as well?"

A) First of all, this comparison seems pretty illogical. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Hashem to say that because Yonah cared so much about a short-lived tree, even more so Hashem should care about Ninveh?

B) Also, Rashi says that the "120,000 people who do not know their right hand from their left” refers to the children of Ninveh, and "many animals" refers to the adults. So I understand why the people who don’t know their right from left represents the children, but why are animals used to symbolize adults? (why would Rashi interpret it this way?).

~~~~~Answer just A, B, or both, whatever floats your boat, so you don’t fall out and get eaten by a giant fish, that is… (and being barfed up into another fish doesn’t seem too appealing either…ok stop talking Rachel go to bed)~~~~~~~~~


Blogger luna said...

ok first of all, yonah only cared about the tree bc it was giving him shade. i just thought id put that out there. also question A is just rephrasing the pasuk. in the pasuk Hashem is asking yonah rhetorically, "should I not have pity on the city..." (that rhymes) which in other words, is even more so I should care about the city. so i dont think that question makes sense. and for B i think rashi relates the children as those who dont know their right from their left bc they still have time to grow up and learn that. the adults in ninveh are way past that and their whole lives they have been anaware of their difficulty in choosing right from wrong so they grew up to be animals. the children of ninveh still have that chance to turn themselves around.
layla tov!

November 13, 2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that the people that dont knwo their right from their left would be kids since they were not yet taught how to act wnad what was right and wrong. And adults were refered to as animals since people before tehm tried to teach them the correct ways, but they were nto able to learn, like animals whom only go by instinct and can not be taught things.
- esti

November 14, 2006 4:55 PM  
Anonymous RAYDOTT said...

OK: my personal thoughts (about B)---so the reason why animals refers to adults /ignorant people (don’t know right from left seems to represent ignorance and naivety) is because the children didn’t know better than to sin like their parents. The “children” are mentioned first because they are Hashem’s main argument in the significance of the people of ninveh—not only are children considered more innocent in general, but they are also the ones who are at less fault for the sins of ninveh. Animals represent adults because the adults in ninveh behaved like animals. That is, they participated in “chamas”—petty nastiness. A society of chamas is so degraded that thoughtless destruction of one another becomes accepted, sort of like the world of animals. An animal can kill another animal just because it feels threatened or bothered, or for whatever reason, and it is considered ok according to animalistic standards. So too did ninveh adopt animalistic standards of petty nastiness. Yea so I hope my points are clear…later alligators

November 14, 2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts on question A:
Hashem says to Yonah says "You took pity on the kikayon for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow; it was born at night and (the next) night it died, and I—-shall I not take pity on a great city like Nineveh, that has more than 120, 000 people in it who don’t know their right hand from their left, and many animals as well?"
in order to teach a lesson to Yonah, saying I am the Parent around here. I (Hashem) makes all of the decisions, not you (Yonah). You (Yonah) tried to "run away" from me well I'm trying to teach you another lesson.
Hashem does this by basically saying to Yonah that He is the one who has "given birth and raised" his other children (- the people of Ninveh). Another example is seen in a midrash, when Hashem closed the Yam Suff on the egyptians and the angels where rejoicing. Hashem turned to the angels and said why are dancing and rejoicing? Those people whom I killed were my children too!
Since Hashem felt badly about some of his children dieing, so too did He have pity for the people of Nineveh.
Since everyone is refered to as Hashem's children, we all need to understand that no matter how much you may have ill-feelings or wishes towards someone/ nation, Hashem still cares about them, since they too are His children.

November 17, 2006 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry typed it in too fast...

November 17, 2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Elianaaa HOOORN said...

Okay, so the children and animals thing. I disagree with Rashi about his opinion. I think they probably both referring to the adults, and theyre pointing out two thingsL: 1. that they are stupid and ignorant (not knowing right from left) and 2. beyond immoral (like Rachel said).
But something that i thought was interesting about this parable than the stuff already pointed out (although those were very interesting) was that at the beginning of Sefer Yonah we have all these commentators trying to find out why God wants to save the people. WHy he intervenes on behalf of the outside world. We were told because they're going to be a tool to hurt Bnei Yisroel. That theyy were in petty nastiness. Etc. But this is making it pretty clear that god just has pity on those of the outside world and will get involved in their stuff because he has mercy on them.

November 19, 2006 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to sound so cliche, but there is a reason for "the tree of life"...much of life can be seen from a perspective of a tree. For animals trees can provide shelter, food, and even "clothing". For us humans, we can look back to Bereshit and see Adam and Eve with the tree of knowledge.

The comparison of the tree to the people of Ninveh could be simple. Yonah's job as a navi is to do God's bidding. If a tree stands for mankind as a whole it is as if Jonah THINKS he has the right to pick and choose who God should save. He is playing god, if you will.


November 23, 2006 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Becky Silbermaan said...

Im not sure how much sense this makes...but its worth a shot--so for question B i was thinking that "doesnt know right from left" means children because the children arent learned and dont neccesarily know their right from their left yet....and the animals thing...this doesnt make so much sense but i was thinking that since the animals are the workers and have always been taught that then then should know what to do...just like the adults know right from wrong and should not be making these mistakes
ya dig?

November 26, 2006 12:51 PM  

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