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Thought for the Day: If It's True Then It's in the Torah

If I were to ask you where you see in the Torah a source for the expresssion, "a stitch in time saves nine", you'd probably think me daft.  Actually, you know me pretty well by now, so you'd more likely just roll your eyes and say, "I don't know; where?"

Before you go rolling your eyes too much, though, please take a look at Bava Kama 92, where Rava asks Raba bar Mari where he sees a source for about several common expressions.  The exchange begins with Rava sking Raba bar Mari for the source in the Torah of the rabinic dictum that whoever prays for his friend, and he (the pray-er) needs the same thing (that the pray-ee) needs, he (the pray-er) will be answered first?  Not too surprising that a ma'amar Chazal would have a source in Torah.  But then the discussion continues asking about such expression as:
  • The cabbage gets struck by the thorn bush (ie, when pulling weeds growing among the cabbages, sometimes a cabbage gets uprooted accidently).
  • Poverty follows the poor.
  • The wine belongs to the king, but the waiter gets the thanks.
Obviously Rava is not just shooting the breeze with his friend in beis medrash.  More than asking seriously, Rava will even argue with Raba bar Mari about his source!  Generally, with Raba bar Mari brings a source from k'suvim or n'vi'im, Rava will counter with a source from chumash.

What's going on here?  I had an idea, but really wanted to look around before I said anything.  I opened my Vagshal Bava Kama and found they have added a section called "hagah'os v'chidushim"; a collection from lots of diferent sources and arranged by the daf.  There it was, from a sefer Einei Shmuel (R' Shmuel Aaron Raven, av beis din Kortshin); my paraphrase:
A common expression is something that strikes a chord in the human psyche and speaks to the truth of the matter.  As is known, no true matter is missing from the Torah.  Therefore, anything that is true must perforce have a source in the Torah.  That is why the amora'im will search for the source of common expressions.
Besides the lessons that Chazal want to draw from events in the Torah, they also want to make a point: if it's true, then it's in the Torah; if it's not in the Torah, then it's not true.

I'm not sure where you'd find a source for, "a stitch in time saves nine", but here's a really cool fact: it is an anagram for "this is meant as incentive".  Yep.


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