More Discussions for this daf
1. The Kal va'Chomer from the frogs 2. Bikurim only from the right places 3. Theudas (Todos) of Rome
4. Havdalah Candle 5. הק"ו מצפרדעים
DAF DISCUSSIONS - PESACHIM 53

Andrew Simmonds asks:

Hi again, hope this finds you well. I'm in 7th Heaven, just had an important paper accepted in very prestigious journal after years of work and a drought. Question I have is unusual; it's not about law but about history.

At the height of the Hadrianic persecutions, the leader of the Jewish community in Rome Theudas (Todos) decreed that the slaughter of the Passover lambs that had taken place at the Jerusalem Temple and was allowed nowhere else (and ended in 70) was reinstituted - in Rome!! His sentiments are quite clear from his famous sermon.

I think this was intended as an enormous slap in the face to the Romans and a mockery - in effect that, you say we cannot worship at the Jerusalem Temple, fine, no problem, we agree, we'll do it instead here in Rome. This was extremely seditious and Theudas would have been killed for it, except for one thing - what he did was completely against Jewish law and he got in serious trouble with the Sages. The serious violation of Jewish law and the trouble he got into with the Sages in effect disguised the mockery intended at Rome. Theudas was charged with an offense meriting excommunication to which the Sages ultimately ruled (in a priceless verdict), "If it were not you Theudas, surely excommunicated."

The whole episode is hilarious and represents one of the greatest protests in history and that he pulled it off was genius. But in the Talmud it is toned down. My question is this - if I am right in my take, why hasn't anyone noticed. This was an extremely important historical event in the area of courageous dissent and opposing oppression, and it is extremely important in the area of parody, satire, burlesque, mime and literary theory. How come nobody notices this???? Crazy or what?? I really don't think I am reading too much into it, but what do you think?

As always the greatest thanks and kindest regards.

Andrew R. Simmonds, New York USA