I heard the following story recently (though I paraphrase, and may have some details wrong):

When Rabbi M'nachem Perr lived in Queens, New York, he had an Italian, non-Jewish neighbor who, during one period, was gradually moving the boundary between their two properties farther and farther into Rabbi Perr's property. Rabbi Perr's wife and son, Y'chiel, were incensed, though Rabbi Perr, himself, didn't mind. Y'chiel decided to go out each week to measure the Perrs' yard, doing so while the neighbor was watching, to make a point. On one such occasion, the neighbor called him over and told him a story:

There were two Jews arguing over a bit of land. They went to the rabbi, who heard their case and said that it was a very difficult case and he would have to ask the land for its adjudication. They went to the land, and he put his ear to it. Then he told the litigants: "You say 'the land is mine' and you say 'the land is mine', but the land says 'in just a short while they will both be mine'."

The Italian neighbor concluded: "And do you know where I heard that story? From your father! It's from the Talmud!"

Is it really from the Talmud? Where in the Talmud (or what's its source otherwise)?

  • 3
    – Double AA
    Sep 14, 2014 at 5:37
  • @DoubleAA, sounds like an answer. (And thanks!) Why not post it as such?
    – msh210
    Sep 14, 2014 at 7:55
  • I see no reference in the way my computer displays Double AA's link. So I posted an answer below. Sep 14, 2014 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland brings the story in his dvar torah on Parshas Behar:

There is a famous anecdote, related by Horav Yeruchem Levovitz, zl, which underscores this verity. A din Torah, litigation between two disputants, once took place in Volozhin, and its venerable Av Bais Din, Horav Chaim Volozhiner, zl, presided over the proceedings. The dispute concerned a parcel of land, with each of the men claiming that the land belonged to him. These men were obstinate, refusing to brook any form of compromise. Each one sought complete ownership over the land.

Rav Chaim asked to see the land in question. The litigants accompanied the Rav to the land that seemed to obsess each of these men. The Rav bent down to the ground, placing his ear directly on it, as if he was listening for something. It must have looked quite strange to see the venerable gadol hador, preeminent Torah leader of the generation, resting his ear on the ground. A few moments went by, and Rav Chaim arose, and said, "Gentlemen, I wanted to hear what the actual ground had to say concerning your disagreement. After all, it supposedly belongs to one of you. Do you know what the ground said concerning your dispute? It said, 'Why are they fighting over me? Who really cares who owns me? What does it really matter? At the end of the day, they will both belong to me.'"

So Rabbi Scheinbaum sees it as a famous anecdote and not a gemoro.

  • 1
    Basically the same as DoubleAA's comment, though his source ( The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Talmud ) brings the same story in the name of Rabbi Lipele of Bialystock.....this story is one of those ;)
    – MTL
    Sep 14, 2014 at 16:11
  • This is a great line no matter who said it. I'm surprised i've never heard it before.
    – user6591
    Sep 14, 2014 at 18:14

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