J.R.R. Tolkien’s Jewish Dwarves and Their Yearning for Zion

Aug. 22 2016

By J.R.R. Tolkien’s own admission, the dwarves are the group in his novels most similar to Jews, and in constructing their language he even drew upon Semitic models. Meir Soloveichik explores Tolkien’s attitudes toward Jews, his friendship with the Jewish historian Cecil Roth, the story of The Hobbit’s translation into Hebrew, and what, if anything, these “short, bearded beings exiled from their homeland, who have dreamed forever of returning” can teach actual Jews about their own experience:

According to the Bible, [Moses told the Israelites], “Not because of your size did God love you, for ye are the smallest of the nations.” We are, you might say, dwarfed by other peoples. And we are, until this day, chosen by God.

At the end of The Hobbit, the dwarves have returned to their mountain, the throne of the dwarf kingdom has been reestablished, and [the wizard] Gandalf tells Bilbo, [the unlikely hero who aids the dwarves in their quest to regain their homeland], of the glory that now surrounds the miraculous mountaintop. Bilbo replies: “Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!” . . .

Tolkien was rather instructive here. For the story of the Jews is about a little people who today, and throughout time, have helped bring prophecy about. Yet, all too often, they doubt [prophecy] all the more, refusing to accept that to be a Jew means to be a part of the most miraculous story that could ever be told, a story that is not yet over.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Arts & Culture, Fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien, Jewish history, Literature

Hamas’s Tactics of Attrition and Extortion Are Paying Off

Feb. 21 2020

In January, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Iran after promising the Egyptian government that he would not. Cairo responded by cutting exports of cooking gas and tires to the Gaza Strip. Facing a possible domestic crisis, the terrorist group recently resumed sending balloon-borne explosives into Israel, and allowed other jihadists to fire rockets. The move succeeded, despite retaliatory strikes by the IDF, writes Elior Levy:

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Israeli Security