Midrash Agnon: Forevermore (Ad Olam)
A cloistered scholar works for twenty years attempting to unravel the secrets of an ancient city, now reduced to dust and ashes. What sacrifice will he pay in the present in order to recover the past? What does this allegory mean for today’s readers and contemporary Jewish history?
This class will be held 4 Sundays at 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM / October 25, November 1, 8, 15
To participate in the course live from Agnon’s own house in Talpiot, Jerusalem (Agnon House, 16 Klausner Street, Talpiot, Jerusalem 93388), call 02-6716498.
To participate via the simultaneous, interactive, online broadcast here via WebYeshiva.org please fill out the form below. All sessions will be recorded and archived for those unable to join in “real time.”
Registration for this miniseries on WebYeshiva.org is $36
For more information email email@example.com
Midrash Agnon: Forevermore (Ad Olam): Lesson 1
Midrash Agnon: Forevermore (Ad Olam)- “Forevermore” (in Hebrew as “Ad Olam,” available in Agnon’s volume HaAish vehaEtzim)(http://www.schocken.co.il/?CategoryID=162&ArticleID=188)is the story of Adiel Amzeh, a cloistered scholar who works for twenty years attempting to unravel the secrets of an ancient city, now reduced to dust and ashes. What sacrifice will he pay in the present in order to recover the past? What does this allegory mean for today’s readers and contemporary Jewish history? Over four weeks we will do a close read of the story, then examine how its themes resonate throughout Agnon’s other works – especially his posthumous novel Shira.(http://korenpub.com/toby/intusd/toby1/hebrew-literature/agnon/shira.html?SID=99b950ed917a8f12ef99c80fcb790f06) The story in translation is attached. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)if you’d like a copy of the original Hebrew.
Midrash Agnon: Forevermore (Ad Olam): Lesson 2
Please try to finish reading the whole of “Forevermore” for next week’s session. As you do, consider the roles that the main characters play in the story, and how those roles play off against each other. Also be mindful of the relationship between the story contemporaneous to the action in Jerusalem, and the “story within the story” that takes place in Gumlidata. For those interested in the background lecture to Agnon’s life and work, click here.(https://youtu.be/xCgWLkjFK6U) Let me know (email@example.com)if you’d like the Hebrew text of our story, or be in touch of course with any questions, comments, insights, etc.
Midrash Agnon: Forevermore (Ad Olam): Lesson 3
For our third session we will finish up the last few pages of “Forevermore”(http://www.webyeshiva.org/course/midrash-agnon-forevermore-ad-olam/?material=6654) (please read it through carefully if you haven’t yet), and will begin exploring the different interpretive approaches to this “unstable allegory.” Please consider the ways that our story (of Adiel Amzah) and the story-within-the-story (as told in the Scroll of Gumlidata) merge, are resonant, and/or dissonant with each other. I welcome any other examples of the trope of the self-sacrificing scholar or artist. The section from the movie “Footnote” that I mentioned can be seen here: https://youtu.be/E46ZrFPwxho?t=1m17s (unfortunately without subtitles).
Midrash Agnon: Forevermore (Ad Olam): Lesson 4
For our final session next week we’ll survey some of the attempts to present a coherent explanation of our story, and then see how “Forevermore” fits in other works in the Agnon canon. We will especially look at its connection to the posthumous novel Shira – available at Amazon.com(http://amzn.com/1592643531) or through the publisher in Jerusalem (click here)(http://korenpub.com/toby/intusd/toby1/hebrew-literature/agnon/shira?SID=be0059b28f92854a7d125a2581e47495) or at a discount at Beit Agnon. Attached are a few miscellaneous passages from Shira.(http://www.webyeshiva.org/wp-content/themes/blank2r/uploads/classmaterials/16063_0_Shira_-_Excerpts.pdf) It may not be 100% possible to follow the plot out of context, but the connections with our story should be clear. A review of the Shira translation (containing a plot summary) is available at the NY Times.(http://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/24/books/lovers-and-other-pedants.html?pagewanted=all)
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks is the founding director of ATID – The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education, in Jerusalem, and its WebYeshiva.org program. He is the Editor of the journal Tradition, Series Editor of The S.Y. Agnon Library at The Toby Press, and Director of Research at the Agnon House in Jerusalem. A three-time graduate of Yeshiva University (BA, MA, Semicha), Rabbi Saks has published widely on Jewish thought, education, and literature (see www.webyeshiva.org/rabbisaks).