On changing the text of Nahem: A study in tradition, truth and transformation
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For many centuries, close to two millennia, the overarching message of Tish‘ah be-Av posed no challenge to the Jew. For him or her, its basic themes and lessons reflected not only the distant past but also the reality of exile, destruction, suffering, victimization, vulnerability and discrimination that he or she experienced first-hand in the present. But in the twentieth century, the challenge of defining the contemporary relevance of Tish‘ah be-Av became a significant one, even within the traditional community. Already before the founding of the State of Israel, Rabbi Baruch Halevi Epstein (d. 1942) questioned the appropriateness of the text of the Nahem prayer at a time when Jerusalem could boast of beautiful buildings and a large Jewish population.1 His response, that the text was still relevant as long as the Land of Israel was under foreign domination, clearly lost its relevance with the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. (from Introduction)
Schacter, J. J. (2014, August). On changing the text of Nahem: A study in tradition, truth and transformation. CJF Torah To-Go.
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