By David Roskies
This article files an almost unknown bankruptcy within the historical past of the refusal of Jews during the a long time to give up. the writer employs wide-ranging scholarship to the Holocaust and the stories linked to it, in confirmation of either continuities and violent endings.
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29 In a further semantic twist, the martyrs were dubbed Harugei Malkhut. 30 More profoundly, the meaning of Kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of God's Name, was utterly transformed. 31 Akiva was not rescued from the fire like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in the Book of Daniel, to bear witness to God's glory through a miracle; he did not claim to be dying for his sins, as did old Eleazar, or the mother and her seven sons in 2 Maccabees. Akiva accepted suffering-with-love as the highest piety, and after him Hanina ben Tardion (or Teradion) militantly ventured all for the preservation of the Torah, for which the Romans sentenced him to be wrapped in a Torah scroll and burned (The Tractate "Mourning" 8:12).
Since the rabbis were also in charge of the "means of production"deciding on the biblical canon, enforcing the lunar calendar, interpreting the Torahthe recording of historical events was left almost entirely to them. Whole periods of history could evaporate into legend if the rabbis chose to relegate the chronicles to apocryphal status. No wonder historians are still arguing over the basics of the Hadrianic persecution and the Bar Kokhba revolt. There are those who believe the sparse rabbinic accounts42 and those who do not,43 while the rabbis, for their part, left tantalizing contradictions.
The letters of the Torah have a life of their own and take leave of the burning scroll in the same way as the soul departs from the human body. The scroll is mere flesh, but its spirit is indestructible. This story anticipates two directions taken by rabbinic Aggadah in response to catastrophe. ), storytelling traditions such as these about the early rabbis were expanded into small-scale rabbinic biographies, just as rabbinic behavior was read back into biblical times. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were refashioned as proto-rabbis.
Against the Apocalypse: Responses to Catastrophe in Modern Jewish Culture (Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art) by David Roskies