Why the Talmud Considered the Translation of Scripture a Reason to Mourn

Tomorrow is the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, a fast day that commemorates the beginning of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. Originally, the two preceding days were also days of fasting. While the reasons for the fast of 9 Tevet are shrouded in mystery, the fast of 8 Tevet (in Yiddish, khes Teyves) mourns the composition of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible produced in the 3rd or 2nd century BCE—according to legend, by a group of 70 Jewish elders. In the ancient world, the Septuagint made the Tanakh accessible to Greek-speaking Jews, such as the Alexandrian philosopher Philo, as well as to Gentiles—early Christians among them.

The fast of 8 Tevet was a subject of particular fascination to Rabbi Moses Schreiber (a/k/a the Chasam Sofer), a sage of tremendous erudition and an early pioneer of Orthodoxy, who spent much effort combating the early phases of Reform Judaism and the inroads of modernity. Elli Fischer—a translator of Hebrew books by profession—discusses the history of this day, and why it held such attraction to Schreiber. (Audio, 46 minutes.)

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Read more at Down the Rabbi Hole

More about: Hebrew Bible, Moses Schreiber, Septuagint, Tenth of Tevet, Translation

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy