` Being and nobodyness — imaginary family values

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The Talmud records the following deep philosophical debate:

For two and a half years, Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel had an argument. These said: It would have been better if man had not been created. These said: It is better that man has been created. They put it to a vote and decided: It would have been better if man had not been created, but now that he has been created, let him examine his deeds.

Eruvin 13b

This passage, I assume, is the inspiration for a classic Jewish joke:

It would be better never to have been born. But who among us has such luck? One in a thousand, perhaps.

If you want to study this matter in more depth, I have just the book for you.

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