• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    Attacks on the books – Tishah B’Av

    Tishah B’Av marks the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and of other sanctuaries as well as countless individuals. It also commemorates the destruction of innumerable books.

    The destruction of books is described in the dirge (kinnah), Sha’li S’rufah BaEsh written by Meir of Rothenburg in the 13th century. Books are regarded in Judaism as people, entitled to respect in life and after death.

    The history of literary persecution culminates in the Holocaust but begins in the Bible with attacks on the record of Jeremiah’s prophecies (Jer. 36:23); Maimonides warns that those responsible would have no afterlife. There were many attacks on the Talmud (e.g. in Paris in 1233-4).

    The perpetrators sometimes had a bad conscience; for instance, the executioner of the rabbinic teacher Chanina ben Teradyon threw himself into the flames (AZ 17a).

    The attackers were often renegade Jews, accusing their former coreligionists of blaspheming Jesus. Such renegades were often abetted by Church Inquisitors.

    Jews often went into exile carrying their books; as recently as the Holocaust, the survivors included books.

    Our enemies feared our books, our ideas and our ethics. No matter how much force the enemy had, there would be a time when we would prevail and the world would listen to us.

    Comments are closed.