We read the other day that Resh Lakish finds a verse to justify self-sacrifice for the Torah:
The words of Torah come to fruition only with one who kills himself for it. As it is said, “This is the Torah of a person who would die in a tent.” (Shab 83b sof on Num. 19.14)
Maimonides declares (Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:12):
Words of Torah are sustained… only with one who kills himself for them, and always endures pain, and gives no sleep to his eyes, nor rest to his eyelids.
Of course, martyrdom and self-sacrifice for Torah go without saying. Why does Reish Lakish state the obvious? (פשיטא) We can infer that he and Maimonides come to exclude killing oneself over another activity, namely blogging.
Implications (halakhah le-ma’aseh):
- Jeff at Sustainablog acted properly in not pushing his Blogging Round the Clock fundraiser ad absurdum. (50 posts is enough for one day)
- You know you’re in trouble when… you fit AbbaGav’s list.
P.S. Is there an exception for professional bloggers? Sure, Jewish law allows workers to assume reasonable risks to make a living (e.g., contact sports). More people die working than you may realize. However, if you are reading this obscure blog, you surely aren’t one of the chosen few who earn a living by blogging.