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The Two Watchmen

The Two Watchmen


Antoninus said to Rabbi Judah HaNassi: The body and the soul can each absolve themselves from judgment. The body can say: “It is the soul who has sinned. Why, from the day it left me, I lie like a dumb stone in the grave!” And the soul can say: “It’s the body who transgressed. From the day I departed from it, I fly about in the air like a bird!”

Said Rabbi Judah: I will tell you a parable.

Once there was a king who had a beautiful orchard with splendid figs. He appointed two watchmen for his orchard. One watchman was lame, and the other one was blind.

One day the lame man said to the blind man: “I see beautiful figs in the orchard. Come, I will ride on your shoulders, and we’ll take them and eat them.” So the lame man rode on the shoulders of the blind man, and they took the fruits and ate them.

Some time after, the owner of the orchard came and inquired of them, “Where are those beautiful figs?” The lame man replied, “Have I feet to walk with?” The blind man replied, “Have I eyes to see with?”

What did the king do? He placed the lame watchman on the shoulders of the blind watchman, and judged them together.

Talmud, Sanhedrin 91a–b
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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natasha kowalski manchester uk July 8, 2015

We are responsible for both body and soul
One can not work without the other Reply

Geoffrey Jacks Lakewood, CA March 16, 2015

Re: The Two Watchmen Great parable!!! Thanks for sharing.

L'Chaim 5775! Reply

Anonymous February 19, 2015

I second the sentiment of the anonymous poster below, who was awestruck by this analogy.
Every time I read an article here, it's like the light becomes brighter and brighter.
Thank you! Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma August 17, 2011

many ways of seeing as I get older, I perceive there are many ways of seeing, and most of them are an inner kind of seeing, that gives substance or body to what is seen. Those who see with a spiritual eye, penetrate the layers of what we think is reality, and are plumbing the depths, being sensitive in exquisite and painful ways. We need them.

There are many ways of being lame and being lamed, and just as many ways of seeing. A blind man may be a seer and a deaf man carry such music. Some of the most wonderful musicians and singers are blind and for dancers, the theater of the deaf is magnificent, so graceful and so evocative and communicative, with hands and feet in motion, conveying emotion.

Just so I see that G_d has many faces, and some are kind, some unkind, and some about mercy, and some leave us reeling, and wondering, the why of it all. It seems like an all in one affair, and that G_d too is part of a love affair we have, body and soul, and that is, deeply, The Dance: the everything. All in One. Reply

s. rabinowitz March 24, 2010

to understand the answer the soul is able to see but not able to do by itself and the body is able to do but isn't able to get anywhere without the soul just like an inanimate object and therefore the punishment is together. Reply

Anonymous Everett, WA June 18, 2007

the soul and the body My God, how beautiful is the analogy of the soul and the body portrayed. I am awestruck. Thank you for the mental picture. I will refer to it always. Reply

Th e perrin family cairns, qld via February 14, 2006

None It is wounderful reading Reply

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