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An old tale revisited

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:49 pm
by daibanjo
Those who remember me from past submissions to the board will remember I like to tell stories. This is one where I was fascinated by the replies. I wonder if there will be any different responses this time.

I had heard the Yiddish word "Mensch" and I was curious as to what it meant. So I asked a Rabbi. As all good Rabbis do, instead of answering directly he told me a story.

There once was a man who received a gift from the devil. With all gifts from satan you cannot return it. Any attempt to lose it or destroy it or give it away would be futile. It's yours. The gift was a small square box with a narrow opening like the cash dispenser at an ATM machine, on the top was a red button. Satan explained that any time the man needed money and he was assured there would be such times, all he had to do was press the button and all the money he needed would be discharged. It was explained that the money came as a result of several investments satan had made over the centuries. So no ones economy was going to suffer by this.
Here's the catch.
If ever he was to press the button someone would die. It was carefully explained that the person dieing would not be a relative or friend or anyone he was remotely connected to. It would be extremely unlikely he would ever meet any of that persons relatives. And the person may well be old or near death anyway.
The Rabbi said that a Mensch would never ever press that button.
Do we have a Mensch on this board?

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:29 am
by white_harmony
I think many people would like to consider themselves as "Mensch". I, for one, would certainly hope that I am. Money does not and has never brought me happiness. Why kill an unsuspecting person so you can have money?? Even if you would never ever meet the relatives of the person you killed??

To me it is morally wrong to kill, even for a reason such as money, because people believe that to live and be happy they must have money. I do not believe this is so.

So if indeed I am "Mensch", I will leave that to another to decide. I am just me :-D

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:56 am
by Stormy
Very well said WH - I too would like to think I am a "Mensch" though not necessarily because I don't believe I need money or because money has never brought me happieness.

On the contrary, when I have enough money to pay my bills, eat well AND buy myself a few extra goodies, I am quite happy. When I can barely make the bills, am struggling to invent cheap meals and can't even afford to buy myself a skein of yarn to play with, I am less happy - though not really unhappy. If I can't pay my bills or buy food, then I am unhappy.

However, that said - I would go out and forage in the local forests for food or even approach a Christian church on free meal day - before I would kill someone for money. It's wrong. Kill to defend your life, kill to defend the lives of your loved ones, sometimes even kill for punishment of hideous crimes - but never kill for money, possessions, lands, etc.

If the devil gave me such a box (and considering I don't believe in him that would be a stretch lol) I would buy one of those fireproof safes, lock it inside and lose the key - technically, I'd still have the box, so it wouldn't be lost, technically, if I really wanted to get into that safe I could even though it would take great effort, technically it would be safe from destruction - and from all the various tales I've read about the devil, he's always beaten by technicalities ;)

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:01 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
I, too, would like to think I am a mensch. I would not use it, party because I plan to do Stormy's back-up plan: forage. If not for my family and the fact that I need to bring any gifts, etc. to the world (like anyone, as everyone has a gift to the world), I would build my cabin somewhere miles from human contact. I actually have a place lined up in such a scenario, at 100-Mile on a friend's property. They have a few hundred acres full of cedars and other evergreens and people squat there all the time.

The other reason is that I would rather starve and live in the worst slums than kill someone.

Posted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:03 pm
by Kystar
I agree. Whacking some poor schmoe so you could have a quick buck isn't cool.

Stormy: The Devil is really the only one in any fairy tale that forgets to read the fine print, isn't he? And here, my friends thought the devil has to be the first lawyer! Hardly!

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 7:50 pm
by daibanjo
Thanks guys. I love the answers. When I first posted this story there had been a lot of talk on the board about Karma. I wondered at the time if a pagan would be willing to build up negative karma just to gain material comfort in this life.
Another yarn that is on the same lines really is;

Once there was a priest whose duty it was to sacrifice goats to his peoples Gods. One day, as he was preparing a goat for sacrifice, the goat gave a very human laugh. Startled the priest asked the goat,
"Why are you laughing?"
The goat explained that for the last 500 years he had been born as a sacrificial goat. being killed then reincarnated to the same fate. But, this time, ne would be reincarnated as a man.
The priest thought that this was good news and complimented the goat. Then he saw a tear in the goats eye.
"Why are you sad?" asked the priest.
"Because" replied the goat "Five hundred years ago I was a priest who sacrificed goats."

Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:54 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
I like that one.

I think I will use it, with your permission, when I talk about Karma to my students. I really love that one.

Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:49 pm
by soulsearcher
I don't know what it is...so I'm not sure I'd want to be one...

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 5:20 am
by Paganlight
Reading that story,I believe a 'Mensch' is some who would NOT press the button, Soulsearcher.

I'd like tothink I'm a Mensh - not only because of karma (by the way, has anyone been watching 'my name is Earl'?) but because I'd hate to think of killing for money.
I think there's a big difference between killing in war, and killing in peace time. (I have to think that, otherwise my career'd be screwed. )

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:30 am
by Artemisblessed
i like the stories. i'm gonna put them in my BoS (book of shadows). as for the "mensch", i'd like to think that i am one because i don't like killing. it makes me sick what i see on the news.

but, come on, let's face reality here, people: if you were at the dregs of human society (anyone who drinks tea knows what "dregs" are) and you live in a box on a corner, haven't eaten in a week, and got your kid/s taken from you because you couldn't hold a steady job, what would you do? and, please, be honest.

sorry if i sound hostile, but, even though it hasn't necessarilly happened to me, i feel for that wo/man.

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:16 pm
by soulsearcher
I hate money. I wouldn't kill for it...I try avoiding it if I don't have any. If Satan gave me that box...well, I'd ignore it...cause it doesn't say that we can't do that. We just can't give it away or try and destroy it. But then again...Satan would tempt us with our weakness...not our strength. Hmmm....

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 7:23 pm
by Kelreth
If satan came to me and tryed to give me such a box. I would prolly fall over laughign seeing that satan did exist, then get horrified knowing that the xian religion isnt all horse *bleep*. That would be an interesting moment/epiphany.

Intereseintg side note on what is real and what isnt. In theology today I brought up the topic of Lilith the mythical first wife of Adam. Yada yada yada. Anyway after the teacher was done saying he had never heard of it. Which confused me cause part of some european xian groups fear lilith. A fundy in my class said, "It doesnt matter, its not real." Got to love the open minded ness of fundies. I'm gana find the text that backs what i found and mess with the class to see what happens.

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:06 pm
by Paganlight
lol! Eh, if there's one thing worse than a bunny, it's fundie. Oi!

I think I'd be much the same as you, Kelreth!

Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:27 pm
by Kelreth
I emailed the teacher with information i found out about lilith as a way to spread knowledge, i hope he doesnt take it the wrong way... that owuld be bad

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:15 am
by Artemisblessed
why would a fundie/closed minded :bleep:head be in a theology class?