34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword! 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.
Mishnah Bava Metzia 2:11Mishnah
If one finds his lost item and his father’s lost item, tending to his own lost item takes precedence. Similarly, if one finds his lost item and his teacher’s lost item, tending to his own lost item takes precedence. If one finds his father’s lost item and his teacher’s lost item, tending to his teacher’s lost item takes precedence, as his father brought him into this world, and his teacher, who taught him the wisdom of Torah, brings him to life in the World-to-Come. And if his father is a Torah scholar, then his father’s lost item takes precedence. If his father and his teacher were each carrying a burden and he wants to assist them in putting down their burdens, he first places his teacher’s burden down and thereafter places his father’s burden down. If his father and his teacher were in captivity, he first redeems his teacher and thereafter redeems his father. And if his father is a Torah scholar, he first redeems his father and thereafter redeems his teacher.
Notes and References
"... As with the case of the Christian materials, here too we focus on two points: the norm, on the one hand, and its ideological infrastructure, on the other. In the three given instances-and note the ascending order, from property loss to personal discomfort to a life-threatening situation-the master, to whom the son is to (first?) devote his attentions, is given priority over the parent. It would seem that master completely supercedes parent in the Mishnah. He is preferred over the parent in situations ranging from matters of slight significance to life-threatening ones, which is what captivity could imply in the ancient world. The Mishnah also spells out the ideological basis for this preference: the parent bestowed physical existence alone on his offspring, while the master bestowed (and continues to bestow, in some texts) spiritual being. This gives the master clear advantage as to the son's loyalty and obligation. The basic issue raised by parallel Tannaitic materials and the Talmuds relates to the identity of the teacher to whom one assigns priority. Judah restricts favored status to a teacher from whom one "has derived the greater part of his knowledge;" but Yose says it is true even for a teacher who has "enlightened his eyes in a single Mishnah only." For Judah, then, a father cedes his priority only to the one central master of his son's life. But for Yose, virtually every teacher is granted that status-extreme doctrine indeed! ..."
Blidstein, Gerald J. Master and Parent: Comparative Aspects of a Dual Loyalty, The Mishnah in Contemporary Perspective (pp. 253-266) Brill, 2002
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