Columns - 2005

    No Stone Unturned

    Previously, in The Beholder's Eye...

    Bava Gump is a recently discovered Mishnah tractate, the everyman's companion to such better selling tractates as Bava Metziah, Bava Kama, and Bava Batra.

    In our continuing efforts to translate and perpetuate the long-lost wisdom of Bava Gump, this column discovered conclusive proof that Jews have been around since the Stone Age. They had a spiritual leader: Gurb, the Caveman Rabbi.

    Here is more of his wisdom, translated into the form of easy-to-read questions and answers (which often, in rabbinic tradition, are in the form of more questions).

    How easy was it to be a Jew back then?

    Well, for a long time there we didn't have to worry about not starting a fire on holy days.

    No, I mean how could you manage to really be Jewish so long before the giving of the Torah?

    Who says we didn't have the Torah yet?

    Umm... The Torah does?

    Show me where in the Torah it says "though art the first ones to receiveth this fromst me."

    So you're saying that Middle Eastern caveman Jews actually received the sacred scrolls generations before it was given at Sinai?

    We prefer to say "regifted at Sinai." Of course we received it. And it was a lot harder for us to receive.


    By the time the Torah was regifted at Sinai, you had parchment. All we had was stone tablets. Boy did that take a long time to bring down the hill. You think Moses made a mess smashing those two tablets of his? If he'd been given what we were given, there'd have been an avalanche.

    Is it really so easy to use that a caveman could do it?

    Yes, but we try to not admit that. We didn't like that commercial. (ed. note: The columnist really did.)

    Were any kinds of dinosaur considered kosher?

    We never even considered that.

    Why not?

    Let's see you try to ritually slaughter one of those things.

    Did you keep different dishes and utensils for dairy and meat?

    Dishes? What are they? As for utensils, do you have any idea how long it took to make just one stone knife? These were simpler times, but there was nothing simple about them.

    What did you do for entertainment in the Stone Age?

    Well, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were just starting to get the band together...

    Is it true that home redecorating shows got their start in the Stone Age?

    Yes. Some of us took to painting murals in our caves. Of course, this was a commodity skill and others would come and watch. Trying to pick up pointers for their own caves, watching different techniques, looking at color choices.

    Some of the depictions got pretty abstract. I hope nobody in the future believes that half the stuff we painted was real. Not all art and writing is factual.

    Did your holy days start at sunrise or sundown?

    Sundown, of course. That was the start of the day for us!

    Granted, it was dark outside. But the big animals couldn't see us in the dark anymore than we could see them. Our chances of survival for hunting and gathering were much better then. When the sun was up, we'd spend most of our time at home, staying safe, sleeping...

    Starting a holy day at sunrise... Why would we have a holy day start just a few hours before we go to bed? That makes no sense. "Hey, it's a holy day! Really? Let's sleep on it for a while."

    Did many cavemen know Hebrew in addition to their native tongue?

    When you get right down to it, Hebrew isn't that different from Caveman. To the untrained ear, it certainly sounds about the same.

    What was one of the biggest hallachic dilemmas of your time?

    People kept asking me why they should obey the commandments. I said if they didn't, then a great force from above would come down on their heads.

    Did a great force ever come down on their heads?

    Certainly. Our entire Torah was on tablets. When someone broke a commandment and one of those tablets came down on their head, they knew it.

    I guess when parchment came around, it was decided that this was a little extreme. So only the top ten commandments were put on tablets at Sinai, as a reminder. Sadly, I believe the significance of this symbolism is easily lost to future generations.

    Doug Brook is a senior technical writer in Silicon Valley, who fashioned this column out of stone knives and bearskins. For more information, past columns, and other hieroglyphics, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.