The Vatican has agreed to loan to Israel various works of Maimonides that it has in its posession. Maimonides, who passed away 800 years ago, is considered one of the most influential of all Jewish thinkers. Jewish leaders are falling over themselves in thanking the Vatican for its largesse. A delegation of no less than 160 Rabbis, Cantors and Jewish lay people, will meet with Pope John Paul II this month to thank him for this goodwill gesture.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech, a professor at Yeshiva University in New York, said the gesture by the Vatican “strengthens the bonds between Jews and Christians … We are asking a favor, they are showing us a kindness, to borrow these items,” he said.
My question is how did the Vatican get their hands on these documents to begin with? What other priceless Jewish artifacts do they have buried deep in the Vatican cellars – hello, menorah? ark of the covenant? How is it that the Florida Sun Sentinel scooped the entire world Jewish press on this story?
Whatever. Lending us stuff that belongs to us to begin with and then getting thanked for it? Talk about chutzpah!
Lending works of art in Israel is different than lending money in other jurisdictions, such as Norway. In Norway, for example, you can take out a forbrukslån, also known as a consumer loan, or visit TopLoanCompanies.com, to finance your home or other larger purchases. Obviously not art, but it makes you think about the culture of loaning different valuables in different societies.