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Who knows what the meaning of "a thing" is?

פשר דבר - מי יודע?‏

Kohelet 8:1 expresses uncertainty about the meaning of "a thing":

... וּמִ֥י יוֹדֵ֖עַ פֵּ֣שֶׁר דָּבָ֑ר ...

... and who knows the meaning of "a thing"? ...

Is there a traditional Jewish answer to this apparently age-old question?

If so, it could have been very useful in a recent US Supreme Court case, Yates v. United States, in which some of the brightest legal minds in the United States argued about whether a fish is a thing or not and concluded, by a narrow vote, that a fish is not a thing. Justice Elana "Einekle?" Kagan, apparently lacking any Torah sources, was reduced to trying to argue against the prevailing opinion by citing One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss.

Please address both the general question and the more specific question raised by this case and by the alternative reading of Kohelet uncovered by Yates:

... and who knows "a fisher-thing"? ...


This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

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The verse in Bamidbar 20:19 is fairly explicit:

רק אין-דבר

There just isn't a thing

Apparently, a thing isn't.

A fish, also, is clearly not a thing, as follows: Nechemia 13:16 says

והצורים ישבו בה, מביאים דג וכל-מכר; ומוכרים בשבת

And the Tzurites ... brought fish... and sold them on Shabbos

and we all know that אין אדם מקנה דבר שלא בא לעולם, you cannot sell something which doesn't exist eternally (Kiddushin 62b). Now, these fish, being sold on Shabbos, were clearly going to be consumed shortly afterwards for the Shabbos meal. So, in order to sell them, they must not be things.

In terms of fisher things, they are actually quite nice, as the Targum to Bereishis 40:17 says:

וַחֲזָא רַב נַחְתּוֹמֵי, אֲרֵי יָאוּת פַּשַּׁר

And the Head Baker saw that Fishers are lovely.

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