The Halacha of the Internet

Tractate Kombutra


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In the World to Come, the righteous and the wicked are shown the piles of RFCs they were expected to have learned in their temporal existence. The righteous weep, and the wicked weep.

A convert came before Shammai and said, "I want to learn to surf the Internet while standing on one foot." Shammai became extremely angry and chased the man away.

The convert then came to the house of Hillel while Hillel was downloading a 20 MB file containing the entire Tosafot. "Where is Hillel, where is Hillel?" he shouted.

Hillel left his house and said to the convert, "I am Hillel, my son. What is your question?" "I want to learn to surf the Internet while standing on one foot." "RTFM, my son," replied Hillel. "All the rest is followup threads, go and learn." He returned to his PC.

The convert called "Where is Hillel, where is Hillel?" Again, Hillel went out and said, "I am Hillel, my son. What is your question?" "I need the E-mail address of G-d." "He is currently offline, my son, but it is said that messages sent to BGATES@MICROSOFT.COM are forwarded to Ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu." He went back inside.

Once again, the convert called out "Where is Hillel, where is Hillel?" Hillel went out and said, "I am Hillel, my son. What do you wish?" "Which form of Hebrew encoding is more beloved, visual or logical?" Hillel replied, "Elu v'elu divrei Elokim chaim."

Rabbi Chabibi ha-Tel-Avivi asked: "If one ate [forbidden] Schumann, thinking it was Schubert, and then discovered that it was chelev - is he liable to bring a sin offering?" The Rabbis answered Yes, and Resh Lakish answered No. Rav Abdimi said,"Resh Lakish defers to the Rabbis in the case of Clara Schumann, as she is not readily confused with Schubert. But in the case of Robert Schumann, even the Rabbis defer to Resh Lakish."

When Rav Kibitzer went up [from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael] he brought with him a CD anthology of the Resh Galuta's Melave Malka discourses. He stood in the marketplace of Tzipori and called out, "Who desires to live, who desires to live?" To all who approached him, he distributed the CD. The shammash brought the CD to Rabbi Yosemite, who thereupon summoned Rav Kibbitzer to stand before him.

"Silly Babylonian!" he chastised him. "Have not the Sages taught, `ten parts of wisdom descended to earth, 9 were taken by Eretz Yisrael and one to the rest of the world?'" Thereupon he gave Rav Kibbitzer a nine-CD anthology of the Yarchei Kallah discourses from the Ponevizh yeshiva, and permission to distribute it as shareware (with credit) on the Pumpeditha Freenet.

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