Chazal Avoided Using Money?!

Here’s yet another Chazal some Jews have maliciously perverted to attack free-market capitalism:

Pesachim 104a:

מאן ניהו בנן של קדושים, רבי מנחם בר סימאי. ואמאי קרו ליה בנן של קדושים, דלא איסתכל בצורתא דזוזא.

Ah, must be he hated cash for all that we know it “represents“. Or, certainly, he was so involved in Torah study, he never had the time (that is to say, studying only those sections which don’t necessitate recognizing money…).

Nonsense! The sole issue was the Middas Chassidus of gazing at “everyday” Avoda Zara symbols not used directly for worship – then set on the coinage. That’s the gist of Tosafos Shabbos 149, and Tosafos Avoda Zara 50a (if I remember correctly).

Conclusion: Rabbi Menachem bar Sima’i would do what all Jews ought to do with cash. He would also avoid taking a good look at it.

Those who say these things… I wish it was ignorance of Tosafos, or “added” faux-depth. It’s not. The truth is too painful to enunciate.

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