Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas, Nov 27, Dec 4 & 11
S.Y. Agnon’s novella “In the Heart of the Seas” (Bilvav Yamim) is a legend of love for the Land of Israel as a group sets out from 19th century Buczacz on Aliya, accompanied by a mysterious and miraculous man of spirit. This midrashic and lyrical weaving of history and mystery will be explored in our 3-part mini-series on Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon’s novella with Rabbi Jeffrey Saks. Sundays, Novmber 27th, December 4th and 11th at 7:00 PM Jerusalem time. Participate in the course live in Agnon’s own house in Talpiot, Jerusalem, or via the simultaneous, interactive, online broadcast via WebYeshiva.org. (Sessions will be recorded and archived for those unable to join in “real time”). For more information email email@example.com To register and participate live at the Agnon House: 02-6716498 Agnon House, 16 Klausner Street, Talpiot, Jerusalem 93388(http://maps.walla.co.il/?cityS=%E9%F8%E5%F9%EC%E9%ED&streetS=%F7%EC%E0%E5%E6%F0%F8&houseS=%31%36&ref=directlink) The Hebrew text of the story appears in Agnon’s volume Eilu veEilu. The English translation (by I.M. Lask) is available online at Google Books(http://books.google.com/books?id=41es9Ql36xQC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false) and for sale in various online retailers.(http://books.google.com/books?id=41es9Ql36xQC&sitesec=buy&source=gbs_buy_s&cad=0)
Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas, Nov 27, Dec 4 & 11: Lesson 1
Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas – Part 1-Agnon’s “In the Heart of the Seas” – start reading the novella in Hebrew (if possible) or in English translation. The book is available on Google Books(http://books.google.com/books?id=41es9Ql36xQC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false) or for purchase on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Seas-Library-World-Fiction/dp/0299207048/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1318249929&sr=8-2)or other sites (or check your local library – you’d be surprised). The original Hebrew, called Bilvav Yamim appears in Agnon’s collection of stories entitled Elu veElu. In all cases PDFs of the story are available in these accompanying links. (The English version is randomly divided into 3 files for convenience – not that we’ll cover 1/3 in each of our sessions per se.) Buczacz
Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas, Nov 27, Dec 4 & 11: Lesson 2
Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas – Part 2-Thanks to those who joined us live or online for our first session on Agnon’s “In the Heart of the Seas”. Video or audio-only Archives, for those who missed, available at www.WebYeshiva.org/Agnon where you will also find the links to the story in English and Hebrew. If possible please try to finish reading the whole novella by next session (we left off on p. 36 in chapter 5). On www.WebYeshiva.org/Agnon you’ll also find a link to the story “Buczacz” I mentioned, which has the foundation myth of how the Jews got there. On WebYeshiva.org/class/?cid=441 you’ll find the archives from our 5-part series from last year which includes the story and archive for “The Kerchief (HaMitpachat)” – an important parallel text to our own (see the Feb. 13 class). [* You have to register – for free – for that series in order to access the files. Contact office@WebYeshiva.org if you need any help.] On that page(https://webyeshiva.org/class/?cid=441) is also an archive video recording of the March 6th tour of the Agnon House (first set of recordings from that day). We hope that in the hour before the final session in 2 weeks we will have a live tour of the House for those in Jerusalem. I look forward and welcome your insights and questions to our study of the story. (You may wish to review last few minutes of the first session where I summarized some organizing thoughts for your reading as well as posed some questions.)
Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas, Nov 27, Dec 4 & 11: Lesson 3
Midrash Agnon: In the Heart of the Seas – Part 3-For our final session we’ll explore some of the larger themes of “In the Heart of the Seas” and how they resonate throughout Agnon’s canon. Visit www.WebYeshiva.org/Agnon to download archives of past two sessions or to access any of the class materials. In this week’s links are various selections from other Agnon stories (in Hebrew and where available in English). Peruse some of them and look for echos of what he’s saying in our novella in these other writings. (Of course, if you haven’t finished reading “In the Heart of the Seas” certainly do so!) For those that can join us live at Beit Agnon there will be a complimentary tour of the house before the final session, starting sharp at 6:15pm. Among the topics to consider for next time: 1) The sympathetic characterization of non-Jews throughout the novella – why? 2) Reference to Gen. 33:19(http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8228/showrashi/true) – “Portion of the Field / Helkat HaSadeh” – and Ibn Ezra (on p. 115) as well as its echo at very end of Tmol Shilshom (“Only Yesterday”) (http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/09/24/reviews/000924.24rosent.html)in attached translation. What’s at work here? 3) The story is set in the mid-19th century, but may have more to do with the early 1930s in which it was written. What is Agnon saying about modern (political) Zionism – especially that of the Fifth Aliya?(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Aliyah) 4) What might the character of R. Shmuel Yosef ben Reb Shalom Mordechai HaLevi – the weaver of tales of Jerusalem – have to tell us about how his “namesake” S.Y. Agnon viewed his role as a modern Hebrew author?
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks is the founding director of ATID – The Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions in Jewish Education, in Jerusalem, and its WebYeshiva.org program. He is the Editor of the journal Tradition, Series Editor of The S.Y. Agnon Library at The Toby Press, and Director of Research at the Agnon House in Jerusalem. A three-time graduate of Yeshiva University (BA, MA, Semicha), Rabbi Saks has published widely on Jewish thought, education, and literature (see webyeshiva.org/rabbisaks).