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A thought inspired by Wednesday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Gittin 71

A thought inspired by Wednesday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Gittin 71

Keep asking what they meant.

This post presents a philosophical idea inspired by the text of today’s Daf. The Daf is one page in the Talmud that tens of thousands of people study each day. I explain the connection to the text in a comment below. My purpose is to show that there are underlying philosophical assumptions in the Talmud that can have great significance for anybody today trying to understand our complex reality.

Every person in the world has some decisions that it is their right to make. No one else should have the authority to make those decisions on their behalf.

However, there are occasions when you may find yourself in a position where you can facilitate these decisions for them. This could be due to a personal relationship or a societal role, such as being their doctor. In such cases, it becomes your responsibility to determine how their wishes should be fulfilled and to carry out their request. If you acknowledge that it is their right to make this decision and you have the ability to assist them, then it is ethically required for you to align with their desires. You must act as their representative.

Unfortunately, the question may not end there. Sometimes, there may still be uncertainty regarding what they truly want. While they may have made a decision and communicated it verbally, it might be unclear how you should proceed. Their words could be open to different interpretations. Additionally, your actions in fulfilling their request may have unintended consequences. Are those consequences what they had intended? Perhaps it was crucial to them that you personally handled the task, but you chose to delegate it to others, resulting in more people finding out than they desired. They may not have clearly expressed their wishes, or they may not have fully considered the implications when making the request.

The true test comes after the fact. Once you have carried out the task on their behalf, and even further into the future when all the ramifications of your decisions have played out, imagine if you could go back in time to the moment the request was made. Would they have consented to your actions? Do they want the outcomes that arose from their initial request?

Naturally, time travel is not possible. Often, you may not even have the ability to go back and seek further clarification from the person who made the request. Is there a strategy to determine whether the person would have consented to the final outcome?

Perhaps the best approach is to continually question the nature of the request. It may even be helpful to have a set of standard inquiries to guide your thought process. Why did they make the request? Based on our understanding of the individual making the request, is it probable that they would have desired this outcome? What secondary effects will occur as a result of the plan I am intending to execute?

If we are ever tasked with carrying out a mission for someone, if we are to be their representative or agent, it is important to perpetually ask ourselves, “What is it that they truly wanted?”

submitted by /u/eliyah23rd
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Source: Reditt

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