I love how this story depicts one of the greatest Sages in his capacity as an ordinary father fooling around with his kids. It's a great book overall too, although unfortunately I left it on an airplane after having read only a few chapters.
Many other stories throughout the Talmud and the Midrash reveal other aspects of Rabbi Yehoshua's personality. For example, the Sages came to consult with Rabbi Yehoshua about a strange will, in which a father wrote that he would leave all his property to his son when his son became a fool. The Sages found Rabbi Yehoshua playing with his children, and one of his sons riding on his back. After the game, Rabbi Yehoshua explained that that was precisely what the writer of the will had meant: that he would bequeath his property to his son when the son himself became a father and played the fool with his children (Midrash Shoher Tov [Buber Edition] 92).
Monday, May 16, 2011
"Foolish" Rabbis and Parenthood
From Adin Steinsaltz, Talmudic Images (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1997), pp. 46-47: