Prosthetic Idols

Martin Buber in Tales of the Hasidim: The Early Masters, translated by Olga Marx (New York: Schocken Books, 1947) relays this story of and about the Baal Shem Tov.

The Jug

Once the Baal Shem said to his disciples: "Just as the strength of the root is in the leaf, so the strength of man is in every utensil he makes, and his character and behavior can be gauged from what he has made." Just then his glance fell on a fine beer jug standing in front of him. He pointed to it and continued: "Can't you see from this jug that the man who made it had no feet?"

When the Baal Shem had finished speaking, one of his disciples happened to pick up the jug to set it on the bench. But the moment it stood there it crumbled to bits.

The easy gloss is to read the tale as a reflection on the prosthetic thesis (our tools are projections of our bodies).

Another soon to be easier gloss is ecological in its outlook and hears the "every" and understands that given the proper attention the fate of one is wrapped in the fate of all. And the fate of all is the end.

And so for day 106