Rabbi Roly is saying that sometimes there is in the Talmud a controversy among colleagues that cannot be resolved. Roly is explaining that Taiku is an acronym for the coming of Elijah, he who will someday answer all questions and resolve all disputes.

I hear myself saying “Taiku” out loud along with him.  This is a word I have not heard or pronounced since my all-night study sessions with Lilah, preparing for our high school Talmud final. Somewhere at around two in the morning, after a pitilessly long trek through the maze of each player’s particular take on legal logic, sometimes the spirited yet unsparing intellectual jousting would wind down into a carefully wrought conclusion. Other times, regardless of how many angles the matter was considered from, it was not possible to come to a consensus. This was because both sides had argued the merits of their irreconcilable positions so well that all we were left with in the wee hours was a stalemate. In these instances, the sages would invoke a single word to relieve the over-stimulated cortex: Taiku.

Roly is explaining that the T of Taiku stands for Tishbi, another name for Elijah, who is the ultimate arbiter of all disputes.. In fact there is a tradition that at the end of days, when Elijah comes to announce the arrival of the Messiah, each of us will be granted the privilege of asking Elijah one question, just one. He will answer and move on to the next. How might each of us formulate that one question? Until his coming ( and our own resurrection?)  all we can do is live with the not knowing.

By the time Lilah and I got to a single Taiku my need for a few hours of sleep was far greater than my need for certainty. I for one never had any trouble living with this sort of deferment. I drift into sleep in a world of blurred boundaries. I came to understand, even at an early age, that there were others whose needs for certainty were far more sharply- drawn.


About susanrtorn

writer, life coach
This entry was posted in A Rabbi We Call Roly, A Synagogue We call B.J., Taiku: A Tourist in Talmud-land. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s