Posted by: Emily | 4 September 2015

A Talmudic thought about privilege

Some musings on privilege, from antiquity.

הוא היה אומר כמה יגיעות יגע אדם הראשון עד שמצא פת לאכול חרש וזרע וקצר ועמר ודש וזרה וברר וטחן והרקיד ולש ואפה ואח”כ אכל ואני משכים ומוצא כל אלו מתוקנין לפני וכמה יגיעות יגע אדם הראשון עד שמצא בגד ללבוש גזז ולבן ונפץ וטוה וארג ואחר כך מצא בגד ללבוש ואני משכים ומוצא כל אלו מתוקנים לפני כל אומות שוקדות ובאות לפתח ביתי ואני משכים ומוצא כל אלו לפני

He [Ben Zoma] used to say: How hard Adam must have labored so that he could eat a piece of bread—he had to plough, and sow, and weed, and tend, and harvest, and thresh, and winnow, and sift, and grind, and mix, and knead, and bake, and after that he could eat—whereas I am able to wake in the morning and find all this already done for me.

And how hard Adam must have labored so that he could have a piece of clothing to wear—he had to shear the sheep, and bleach the wool, and beat it, and dye it, and spin it, and weave it, and wash it, and sew it up, and after that he could be clothed—whereas I am able to wake in the morning and find all this already done for me.

How many workers wake up every morning to stand at the door of my house? I wake up in the morning, and find all these things before me.

(b. Ber. 58a)


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