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28.4.15

I notice that sometimes I bring up this small paragraph in the Talmud about the argument between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai and it seems to make some people uncomfortable. The basic idea is simple. R Meir said they said to the Golden Calf, "These are your gods Oh Israel which brought you out from Egypt." If they had said "This is" they would have been destroyed. R. Shimon said But anyone who joins the name of God with something else is uprooted from this world . So it must be they desired many gods.
This statement of R Shimon has two possible meanings. One is that joining is worse than idolatry. But then there would be a question from the verse he brings as a proof "Only to God."
Or he means idolatry and joining are equal but they did not accept the Gold Calf but just desired it. But then we have a question from the verse where they said "these are your gods."

The reason I think that people don't like to her this is because "joining" is a delicate point.

For one thing sometimes a person is following some great leader--and in fact that leader is great, or sometimes there are following someone who is not great. But in both cases they are adding something to God. So when I mention this particular small paragraph it makes them uncomfortable.