Judaism is often identified as a legalistic religion. Usually this is meant as criticism, and of course a legalistic religion is not to everyone''s taste. But I find something touching in the rabbis'' certainty that everything in the universe, or in our most improbable fantasies, can be subjected to legal analysis and classification. If our sages believed that God''s will can be known with microscopic precision, in even the most far-fetched situations, were they mad or brilliant? It depends on your point of view. It is my position that absurd legislation is not in the Talmud by mistake, that the rabbis knew it was absurd, but there is not merely one reason for why it''s there. Sometimes the improbable legislation is not to be taken seriously; it is a test case, a hypothetical example, a reductio ad absurdum, or occasionally just a witticism. Other times it is meant seriously, though perhaps not literally. Let us remember that we are speaking of religion, which has a high tolerance for paradox: a religion like Zen Buddhism positively delights in the irrational. If absurdity is spiritually moving to the Zen Buddhist, why not to the rabbinic Jew?