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Chagigah 3b - Shoteh

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1 Chagigah 3b - Shoteh on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:06 pm

איזהו שוטה? היוצא יחידי בלילה, והלן בבית הקברות, והמקרע את כסותו.
"Who is a shoteh (deranged)? Someone who goes out alone at night, someone who sleeps in a graveyard, someone who tears his clothing."

I'm wondering if the way to read this gemara is not to see these three as three of many examples of behavior that seems crazy, just some indicators that the person doesn't make sense.

Rather, each of these three represents a category. Sefer Yetzirah (6(1)) says that the world is three: עולם שנה נפש. That is, place, time, and self. So someone who goes out alone at night, he doesn't recognize the boundaries of time, thinks night is like day. Someone who sleeps in a graveyard doesn't recognize the boundaries of place. And someone who tears his clothing doesn't recognize the boundaries of what makes a human being.

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