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    Honi HaM'agel

    Jew Score:



    (1st century BCE)

    Did you know that Jews invented time travel?

    Alright, fine, not actual time travel. That's hasn't been invented... yet. As far as we know. Of course, if it was invented, we might not be aware of it. For all we know, the guy in the next cubicle is from the year 3812. That would explain many things. Many, many things.

    But Jews did invent the concept. The first known instance of time traveling in literature comes in the Talmudic story of Honi HaM'agel.

    Honi was a learned man. Among his many talents was praying for rain (here we claim that Jews invented meteorology). He drew a circle in the sand and told G-d that he will not move from it until it rained. G-d acquiesced. Of course, odds are, if you stand in one spot long enough, it eventually will rain upon it.

    So, the story goes, Honi fell asleep, only to wake up 70 years later. Obviously, no one recognized him. (This was written 1500 years before "Rip Van Winkle". Washington Irving, plagiarizer?) Honi, bewildered, prayed for death, and G-d acquiesced once again. Of course, odds are, if a really old man prays of death, eventually he will succumb. But that's the Talmud for you.

    Now, whether or not you can call this time travel is debatable. We will, for our purposes. But here's the thing: Honi HaM'agel was not fictional at all. He was very real, and one can visit his grave in northern Israel.

    So who knows, maybe the Talmud just tells an allegorical story. Or perhaps there is some truth to it, and Honi did become the first actual, real life, time traveler.

    Who but Jews to invent time travel just to die, after all.

    Verdict: Jew.

    January 10, 2011

    See Also

    Isaac Asimov

    Doctor Who

    Hillel the Elder

    Rod Serling

    David Wolf
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