Heaven, the Mole and the Well

A Study of a Talmudic Theological Concept

in European Judaism

This article engages in a literary analysis of the 'Mole and the Well' narrative, a tale that in the far past apparently was part of the Talmudic text, but is absent from the extant Talmud, with only an allusion to the former existence of the story in the Talmud to be found in BT Taanit 8a. The discussion that opens the article uncovers the hidden links between the passage in Taanit, in a discursive unit that hints at this narrative, and the spiritual contents concealed within the narrative itself (as it is preserved in post-Talmudic sources). This is followed by a close reading of the narrative that will aid us in clarifying the concept of the Emunah (faith) of the sages of the Talmud. This reading places especial emphasis on gender. Our reading finds a striking expression of the central place occupied by the female side in the narrative, by virtue of the fact that those who represent the believer who adheres to God are its two female characters. These women seem to serve as spiritual guides for the third character, the man, who learns from them the profound meaning of the spiritual maturity demanded of the believer.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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