א"ר יוחנן משום רבי בנאה מאי דכתיב (ישעיהו לב, כ) אשריכם זורעי על כל מים משלחי רגל השור והחמור אשריהם ישראל בזמן שעוסקין בתורה ובגמילות חסדים יצרם מסור בידם ואין הם מסורים ביד יצרם שנאמר אשריכם זורעי על כל מים ואין זריעה אלא צדקה שנאמר (הושע י, יב) זרעו לכם לצדקה וקצרו לפי חסד ואין מים אלא תורה שנאמר (ישעיהו נה, א) הוי כל צמא לכו למים
Rabbi Yochanan said on behalf of Rabbi Bana'ah: What is the meaning of the verse, "Happy are those that sow beside all waters, that send forth the feet of the ox and the ass?" (Isaiah 32:20)
[It means this:] Happy is Israel when they occupy themselves with Torah and acts of loving-kindness. Their inclination (toward self-needs) is mastered by them, not they by their inclination--for it is said, "Happy are you that sow beside all waters."
For what is meant by 'sowing' must be “doing acts of loving kindness” as it is said, "Sow to yourselves in justice, reap according to loving-kindness" (Hosea 10:12) and what is meant by 'water' is “Torah”, as it is said, “Ho, all that are thirsty come to the water.” (Isaiah 55:1)
How does this text understand the relationship between water and happiness? Torah and loving kindness? What has your own relationship with water and joy been? Share a story of a time they water and happiness felt close together or far apart.
What do you think the rabbis meant when they said that water IS Torah? How might that change how we understand Torah? how we understand water?
How might our world be different if all who were thirsty could come to the water? What would it take to fulfill this prophetic call?
זוהר, אחרי מות
אורייתה, ישראל, וקודשא בריך הוא חד הוא
Zohar, Acharei Mot
Torah, Israel, and the Holy Blessed One are one.
If we read this with the previous text about Torah and water, how does this shift how we understand water now? What might this tell us about our own relationship to water on this planet? How might we act differently if we believed this?
What does this text tell us about the relationship between water and hope? What keeps you hopeful in this political moment with Standing Rock? What Makes you want to turn back to Mitzrayim?
What is at stake for you in this Standing Rock? Personally? Politically? Communally? Spiritually? Morally?
What might happen if the campaign fails? Wins?
(1) The Israelites arrived in a body at the wilderness of Zin on the first new moon, and the people stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died there and was buried there. (2) The community was without water, and they joined against Moses and Aaron. (3) The people quarreled with Moses, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished at the instance of the Holy One! (4) Why have you brought the Holy One’s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts to die there? (5) Why did you make us leave Mitzrayim (Egypt) to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There is not even water to drink!”
(ב) ולא היה מים לעדה. מִכַּאן שֶׁכָּל אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה הָיָה לָהֶם הַבְּאֵר בִּזְכוּת מִרְיָם (תענית ט'):
(2) ולא היה מים לעדה AND THERE WAS NO WATER FOR THE CONGREGATION — Since this statement follows immediately after the mention of Miriam’s death, we may learn from it that during the entire forty years they had the “well” through Miriam’s merit (Taanit 9a).
How does Rashi understand the role of ancestral merit?
What is a moment you have felt your ancestors with you?
If Rashi were making a protest sign about the sacred burial grounds to be desecrated, what might his protest sign say?
How might you call on Miriam's merit in this moment? The merit of other ancestors?
(יג) וְכֵן מֶלֶךְ שֶׁכָּעַס עַל אֶחָד מֵעֲבָדָיו וְשַׁמָּשָׁיו מִבְּנֵי הַמְּדִינָה וְלָקַח שָׂדֵהוּ אוֹ חֲצֵרוֹ אֵינָהּ גֵּזֶל וּמֻתָּר לֵהָנוֹת בָּהּ וְהַלּוֹקְחָהּ מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ הֲרֵי הִיא שֶׁלּוֹ וְאֵין הַבְּעָלִים מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָהּ מִיָּדוֹ. שֶׁזֶּה דִּין הַמְּלָכִים כֻּלָּם לִקַּח כָּל מָמוֹן שַׁמָּשֵׁיהֶם כְּשֶׁכּוֹעֲסִין עֲלֵיהֶם וַהֲרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ הִפְקִיעַ שִׁעְבּוּדָן וְנַעֲשֵׂית חָצֵר זוֹ אוֹ שָׂדֶה זוֹ כְּהֶפְקֵר וְכָל הַקּוֹנֶה אוֹתָהּ מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ זָכָה בָּהּ. אֲבָל מֶלֶךְ שֶׁלָּקַח חָצֵר אוֹ שָׂדֶה שֶׁל אֶחָד מִבְּנֵי הַמְּדִינָה שֶׁלֹּא בַּדִּינִין שֶׁחָקַק הֲרֵי זֶה גַּזְלָן וְהַלּוֹקֵחַ מִמֶּנּוּ מוֹצִיאִין הַבְּעָלִים מִיָּדוֹ:
Similarly, if a king becomes angered with a servant or an attendant who is one of his subjects and confiscates his field or his courtyard, it is not considered to be robbery, and one is permitted to benefit from it.
If a person purchases it from the king, it becomes his and the original owners cannot expropriate it from him. For this is the law exercised by all kings: to confiscate all the property of their attendants if they become angered by them.
Thus, it is the king who annulled the ownership over this courtyard or field, making it ownerless. Therefore, the person buying it from the king legally acquires it.
If, however, a king confiscates a courtyard or a field from one of the subjects of his country in a manner that is not in accordance with the laws that he enacted, he is considered to be a robber, and the owners may expropriate the property from the person who purchased it from the king.
Who might our "king" be in the U.S./Sioux context?
Do you think the Rambam (the author of this text) would consider the construction of the DAPL as robbery? Why or why not?
Do you consider it robbery? Why or why not?
How might the "owners" of the land expropriate it? What is your role in participating in/challenging this kind of robbery?