How S.Y. Agnon’s Fiction Captured the Jewish Spirit

Taking off from a 1967 Commentary essay by the scholar Gershom Scholem on the Hebrew writer S.Y. Agnon, Jeffrey Saks discusses the Nobel Prize-winning author’s life and work. Among other topics, Saks addresses the role of religion and the Holocaust in Agnon’s stories and novels, the debate among Scholem, Agnon, and the poet Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik over the spiritual significance of the revival of Hebrew, and an Agnon-loving professor in Saudi Arabia. (Interview by Alan Rubenstein. Audio, 48 minutes. Options for download and streaming are availalbe at the link below.)

Read more at Tikvah

More about: Arts & Culture, Gershom Scholem, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, Hebrew literature, Holocaust, S. Y. Agnon


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7