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Thought for the Day: Takanos and Gezeiros from Chazal

You are going to have to trust me on this one, but this is something you never want to hear when you are sitting in a dentist chair, "Get the mallet."    On second thought, maybe you don't need to trust me on this one; it's pretty obviously a bad sign.  Just to complete the picture, though, the oral surgeon then told me to make to fists and put them under my chin to support my jaw while he "taps".  I thought about telling him I would be sending him a bill for being an assistant, but then I decided that being sarcastic with a guy who is whacking (oh, sorry... "tapping") a chisel into your jaw with a mallet is not a great idea.  That much common sense I do have.

How did I get into that position?  I had a cavity a few years ago that was too deep to fill and required a root canal.  A root canal is supposed to be followed by a crown.  A crown is expensive.  My first thought was that a crown is only for cosmetics, and I will be darned if I will spend $1000 just for cosmetic purposes; harumph.  I did more research and found that the crown is really needed to support and protect the remaining tooth.  The dentist used words like "vertical fracture"; certainly something to be avoided.  Still... $1000; so I decided I would just be careful about chewing on the other side.  Which worked fine for over a year.  I lost part of the filling and the sharp edges hurt for a while till I retrained my tongue to stay away.  I was, after all, saving $1000.  Till I noticed that the inside of the tooth was a funny color.  Well, black is not so funny on a tooth.  Finally went back to the dentist, who declared the tooth a total loss, was sent to an oral surgeon, who warned me there would be some tapping, and after the extraction was well under way said, "Get the mallet."

Once the dentist said I needed a crown; why didn't I get one right away?  Because I asked him why I needed it and he told me the main reason.  He didn't tell me everything he had learned in dental school, and I didn't want him to give me all that information.

That's only a tooth.  What about takanos and gezeiros from Chazal?  Let's take the issur of using medicine on Shabbos.  Published reason: because I might come to grind, which is an issur d'oraiso.  Oh please.  What about second day of Yom Tov; because the "good" Samaritans were interfering with our signal fire system.  Oh please.  What about muktza, so I won't come to treat Shabbos as an ordinary day.  Oh please.  And on and on.  But those reasons are only what the experts -- Chazal themselves -- told us poor am ha'aretzim to make it palatable.  All of the reasons for each g'zeira and takana were a matter of debate and discussion among the greatest of our Sages.  None was undertaken lightly.  Each was considered by Chazal then and through the ages to be essential for our well-being.  I am good with that.


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