Must Hebrew Shed Its Sanctity to Become a Modern Language?

March 3 2015

Yes, argued Hayyim N. Bialik, one of the great poets of the early 20th century. He wanted to “reprogram” Hebrew for mundane use by stripping it of the layers of sacred connotation it had acquired over the centuries. Gershom Scholem, the great scholar of Jewish mysticism, held that to do so was impossible, but he also believed that Hebrew was “fraught with danger” because repressed religious meanings could resurface in unexpected ways. According to Jeffrey Saks, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist S. Y. Agnon showed through his works that Hebrew’s sacred reverberations could be channeled without being discarded:

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Read more at Web Yeshiva

More about: Arts & Culture, Bialik, Gershom Scholem, Language, Modern Hebrew, Modern Hebrew literature, S. Y. Agnon

 

Hamas Is Winning the War for Palestinian, and Israeli Arab, Hearts and Minds

While many in the West seem to think the current fighting in Israel is about housing policy, or human rights, or the selective blockade of the Gaza Strip, the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders and on Palestinian social media makes clear that it is in fact about al-Aqsa mosque. This should come as no surprise: fabricated claims that “al-Aqsa is in danger” have been used to provoke anti-Jewish violence for a hundred years. In this particular case, explains Haviv Rettig Gur, both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party exploited the claim in their rivalry for Palestinian hearts and minds:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hamas, Israeli Arabs, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict