Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction
Looking at Eicha and the stories associated with Churban Habayit (the destruction of the Temple).
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 1
NUMEROUS AND PRINCELY AMONG THE NATIONS?: The opening line of Eicha sets the stage for articulating the impact of what was lost. For succeeding generations the impact cuts deeper and broader. Although Eicha chronicles the first Temple’s destruction,it is the Second Temple that is on the Rabbis’ mind.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 2
EICHA AND OTHER STORIES OF THE TEMPLE’S DESTRUCTION: More stories regarding how we are seen by Athens, and others. These curious narratives that we tell about ourselves may have gotten us through some very dark times. Comedy in the face of catastrophe in Eicha Rabba.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 3
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 4
THE STREETS MOURN, AND AS JEREMIAH CHASTISES ISAIAH COMFORTS: We sinned from “Aleph until Tof” but yet we are comforted from “Aleph until Tof”. The comfort anticipated the sin, so says the Midrash. The Psalmist said, “I will recall my melody at night, with my heart I will speak, and I will seek my spirit.” As Jeremy moans, Isaiah comforts. The literary poetics of the Sages are evident as they compare and contrast the Prophecies of the most well known of the Nevi’im.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 5
IF YOU WANT, I CAN GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT…: So says Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, as Midrash Eicha Rabba plumbs every nuance and detail of tears shed over the destruction of wood, stone, opportunity, and connection. Once again Eicha unfolds like a dark flower under the scrutiny of our Sages. Who knew how much there was to learn from a few tears.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 6
EVEN THE STREETS MOURN…AS GREATNESS AWAITS THE CONQUERORS: That’s right. Only the mightiest can destroy the Master’s House. Both in Eicha Rabba and in Avot D’Rebbe Natan the encounter between R. Yochanan Ben Zakai and Vespasian are recorded. The story has many interesting twists and turns. Come twist and turn with me this evening. Not to be missed!
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 7
THE RABBI AND THE EMPEROR: As promised, Rabbi Yochanan is caught between the uncompromising zeal of some of his people, and the siege of the Roman hordes. With the help of his colleagues, he slips out of the city and meets the general who would be king. This is the beginning of the end, and the beginning of the beginning. See you tonight!
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 8
FINISHING UP THE ENCOUNTER BETWEEN RABBI YOCHANAN AND VESPASIAN: Eicha Rabba gives many more details than Avot D’Rebbe Natan and as a result offers a very nuanced perspective on how the Roman siege of Jerusalem was handled. The extremists wished to push God’s hand while the pragmatists felt the decree of punishment was underway. After we look at this story, we will see other sides of this difficult and troubling period in our history. I hope to see you this evening.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 9
EICHA AND OTHER STORIES OF THE TEMPLE’S DESTRUCTION: Sometimes we forget about how ancient tales of martyrdom are among the often conquered but never completely vanquished Jews. The Talmud, tractate Gitin 57b personalizes the tragedy of the second Temple’s destruction by offering disturbing narratives that recount past tragedies and, sadly, foreshadow more to come. Biblical motifs are invoked, as newer stories of the destruction echo an unrelenting cycle of torment and suffering.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 10
WHEN THE MONTH OF AV BEGINS, WE BECOME LESS JOYFUL…: The Mishnah in Ta’anit enumerates ten tragedies, five that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz, and five that happened on Tisha B’av. Tonight we will look at those events paying special attention to the last line of the Mishnah. Afterwards we will turn our attention to the last Mishnah of the Tractate of Ta’anit to study the origins of the little known, but very important holiday of Tu B’Av.
Eicha and Other Stories of the Temple’s Destruction: Lesson 11
THE 9TH AND 15TH OF AV: A strange sense of empowerment emerges from the sages insistence that the calamities of Tisha B’Av could have been prevented had we lived up to the Holy One’s expectations. Accepting responsibility for the destruction of the Temple diminishes the role of the Roman juggernaut and heralds the power of faith and the need for Jews to live up to a fundamental sense of fidelity to God throuugh love of one another. Tonight we will look at the story of a party thatwent awry and how it precipitated a national calamity. The remedy of Tu B’Av resonates as we also look forward to a day when this national tragedy will mark the beginning of our redemption.