Thursday, May 05, 2005

Yom haShoah

A couple of interesting things in Shahar Ilan's article in Ha'aretz. He picked up on the Yeshurun article I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

And an article by Dov Schwartz and Moshe Blau, on the origins of the Pulsa deNura ceremony. As my friend Blau explained it to me, the content of the ceremony is the excommunication formula which was published in the Sefer Kolbo (though not in Orhot Hayim. I told him to check the manuscripts of OH, which contain an entire section that was not published). The scary name and mystical trappings were added by his great-uncle, Amram Blau, as a tool in his various political struggles.

Finally, on the topic of tragedy and liturgy - one of the new titles on sale now at Mossad haRav Kook is a book by Alter Velner on the Ten Executed Rabbis. He explores the different (mostly hagiographic) midrashim about this group of tannaitic martyrs, and then publishes a selection of piyutim on the theme from throughout the Middle Ages. Such dirges usually incorporated current events. Several poems in this genre were composed after the Holocaust, but they never seemed to gain much popularity. I guess the Conservative Movement realized that Midrash speaks to people today more than religious poetry.


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