By David Roskies

This article records an almost unknown bankruptcy within the historical past of the refusal of Jews in the course of the a long time to give up. the writer employs wide-ranging scholarship to the Holocaust and the thoughts linked to it, in confirmation of either continuities and violent endings.

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Additional info for Against the Apocalypse: Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish Culture (Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art)

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The destruction of the two Temples, sandwiched into a list of five calamities, was but the punishment for the crime committed back in mythic times. Just as the seventeenth of Tammuz was forever the day of broken tablets, so the ninth of Av was the day of eternal exile, when the proudest cities of Israel were laid waste once, and yet again. Members of future generations learned from this systematic congregation of calamities to append their own tribulations to the mythic time scheme; among them was a modern rabbi, who added to the list of disasters that fell on the ninth of Av the expulsion order from England in 1290, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, and the outbreak of World War I.

Recognizing this, the rabbis in the geonic period (ca. 21 Third, as the public reading itself became a central ritual act, the interpretation of Scripture in the rabbinic sermon became a major creative outlet. The ongoing embellishment of the Torah became the province not of the select few but of the entire people. Finally, the introduction of haftaroth encouraged the panchronistic reading of Scripture: there is no "before" and "after" in the Torah (B. Pesahim 6b and elsewhere); all parts of it interpenetrate.

2009 10:23:54] page_23 < previous page page_23 next page > Page 23 Solomon despoiled and the best of the people dispersed, the terror could not have been greater. Whence was the word of God to come if the destruction had been caused, according to Lamentations (2:14), by the charlatans who prophesied "oracles of delusion and deception"? To buttress their authority, the true prophets relied increasingly on their powers of interpretation and on the utterances of earlier prophets. The discontinuity of exile, however, left prophecy more suspect than ever.

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