TLATD #2: The Fantastic Tales of Rabbah bar bar Chanah
In one tale, Rabbah witnesses a giant frog, the size of “sixty houses” swallowed by a sea-monster which is in turn swallowed by a giant raven. The raven lands on a massive tree. Rabbah exclaims “come, see how strong that tree was!” Rav Pappa remarks that if he hadn’t been there he never would have believed it!
The Gra explains (see "The Juggler and the King" for a detailed discussion of the Gra's explanations) how the frog is symbolic of the Torah Scholars (who make noise day and night studying Torah.) The sea-monster is the evil
inclination which can doom the scholar. The raven, a bird that abandons her young to the good will of Heaven, symbolizes the solution to defeating the evil inclination sea-monster. Put all your faith in Hashem.
The tree symbolizes all those that support Torah. In Babylonia, where Rav Pappa was from, the people did not support torah learning as much as the Jews of Eretz Yisrael did. In was only after Rav Pappa came to Eretz Yisrael that he saw the incredible philanthropic acts of the people of the Land of Israel. If Rav Pappa hadn’t seen it with his own eyes he wouldn’t have believed it.
The truth is, the hand of Hashem is much more visible here in Eretz Yisrael. The entire survival of the State of Israel is completely dependent on each year’s rainfall. In short faith is a little bit easier to come by here and it’s this faith that leads to so many acts of kindness people living far away from Israel would have to come and see to believe.Full post and comments...