Wednesday, May 02, 2007

חוצפה יסגא

Historians have the luxury of living in multiple time zones, without feeling overly taxed. Today, for example, I spent a ten, almost uninterrupted, hours in 11th and 12th Century Ashkenaz (for my book for them). At the same time, I was listening to (what emerged as) the political farce of the year. All day long, all we heard was how Olmert was going down and the press was ready to crown Tzippy Livni Prime Minister (God Forbid!). Amir Peretz was going to resign. We were going to reshuffle. Perhaps, we might even get to vote....

Forget it. Livni wimped out (at least she's discredited now). Peretz is sticking it out. And the munchkins called Kadima, more interested in their seats than their country, are almost all rallying around Olmert. Thus, this corrupt, arrogant incompetent gets a reprieve.

Who's enjoying the spectacle? Nasrallah.

Who's getting away with treason, because people feel that noone cares and that the goverment is too corrupt to protect us? Azmi Bashara.

It's really incredible. Check that. It's not incredible, and that's what's so sad.
Time to again ponder the last Mishnah in Sotah (49b):

IN THE TIME OF THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE MESSIAH INSOLENCE WILL INCREASE AND HONOUR DWINDLE; THE VINE WILL YIELD ITS FRUIT ABUNDANTLY BUT WINE WILL BE DEAR; THE GOVERNMENT WILL TURN TO HERESY AND THERE WILL BE NONE TO OFFER THEM REPROOF; THE MEETING-PLACE [OF SCHOLARS] WILL BE USED FOR IMMORALITY; GALILEE WILL BE DESTROYED, GABLAN DESOLATED, AND THE DWELLERS ON THE FRONTIER WILL GO ABOUT BEGGING FROM PLACE TO PLACE WITHOUT ANYONE TO TAKE PITY ON THEM; THE WISDOM OF THE LEARNED WILL DEGENERATE, FEARERS OF SIN WILL BE DESPISED, AND THE TRUTH WILL BE LACKING; YOUTHS WILL PUT OLD MEN TO SHAME, THE OLD WILL STAND UP IN THE PRESENCE OF THE YOUNG, A SON WILL REVILE HIS FATHER, A DAUGHTER WILL RISE AGAINST HER MOTHER, A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, AND A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD; THE FACE OF THE GENERATION WILL BE LIKE THE FACE OF A DOG, A SON WILL NOT FEEL ASHAMED BEFORE HIS FATHER. SO UPON WHOM IS IT FOR US TO RELY? UPON OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.

3 comments:

andy said...

What is your book going to be about? (more specifically)

Jeffrey said...

I'm using the description of the community, synagogue and home in order to reconstruct the way in which medieval ashkenazic jews understood and interpreted their reality.

Nachum said...

I just heard an interesting insight into that quote from R' Kenny Brander: The last line is, in fact, part of the whole litany- in other words, those who witness all these things will simply say, "We will rely on our Father in Heaven" and take no steps to solve things themselves- and that is yet another bizayon. (He meant it as a support for Zionism; I don't recall his source, or if he had one.)