• April 13, 2024
  • 5 5784, Nisan
  • פרשת תזריע

Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life

Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life

S.Y. Agnon’s novella “In the Prime of Her Life” (Bidmei Yameha) is a tale of love lost and found, and the profound way the older generation shapes the life of its children, as told through the perspective of a young female narrator. This biblical and lyrical weaving of a modern and complex Hebrew love story will be explored in our 3-part mini-series on the Nobel laureate’s novella with Rabbi Jeffrey Saks.

We will enjoy the story from a literary perspective, while unraveling the “intertexts” of classical Jewish sources from which Agnon builds his writing. “In the Prime of Her Life” will be read in English translation, with references to the original Hebrew text – but Hebrew fluency is not required to participate.

Sundays, May 12, 19 and 26 at 7:00-8:30 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 office@webyeshiva.org

The Hebrew text of the story appears in Agnon’s volume Al Kapot HaManul. The English translation is available in Eight Great Hebrew Short Novels (Toby Press). Electronic copies will be available for those who register for the course.

Cost: $25 for the series.

May 12, 2013 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life: Lesson 1
Class description

Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life – Part 1- For three weeks we’ll explore Agnon’s long story “In the Prime of Her Life”(https://webyeshiva.org/class/?material=4138), which explores themes of star-crossed love and the connection between generations. The novella is a prequel of sorts to Agnon’s novel “A Simple Story” which we learned last summer (click here (https://webyeshiva.org/class/?cid=746) for archive). If possible please read the whole story(https://webyeshiva.org/class/?material=4138) before our session. Contact me (jeffreysaks@gmail.com)if you’d like to receive the original Hebrew (which appears in Agnon’s collection of love stories Al Kapot HaManul (http://schocken.co.il/?CategoryID=162&ArticleID=198)and is available in an annotated edition (http://schocken.co.il/?CategoryID=170&ArticleID=520&SearchParam=%D7%91%D7%93%D7%9E%D7%99+%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%94)as well). Listen to Agnon read the opening section of the novella here.(http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3551957,00.html) Visit www.WebYeshiva.org/AgnonArchives to access recordings of all past Agnon sessions.

May 19, 2013 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life: Lesson 2
Class description

Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life – Part 2- Please finish reading the whole story if you haven’t done so yet. I’d be glad for your thoughts on the following two questions: (a) Please consider the meaning of the title (again, in Hebrew based on Isaiah 38:1,(http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15969#v10) Bidmi Yameha – in reference to King Hizkiah’s illness; see Berakhot 10a for some background on that and consider if it fits in to our story). (b) Please suggest alternative titles (either in Hebrew or English) that capture something about the story. Prize will be awarded for the best suggestions (email me).(jeffreysaks@gmail.com)

May 26, 2013 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life: Lesson 3
Class description

Midrash Agnon: In the Prime of Her Life – Part 3-In the final session we will watch this Israeli film version of “In the Prime of Her Life”: http://youtu.be/Q443K0Gzn1A and discuss the complexities of adapting Agnon for the stage or screen. Please consider which passages from the novella (https://webyeshiva.org/class/?material=4138)you anticipate would be really difficult to translate to the screen (and why). Email me (jeffreysaks@gmail.com)with your thoughts to be considered for our prize competition. We’ll also discuss how “In the Prime of Her Life(https://webyeshiva.org/class/?material=4138)” resonates with other works in the Agnonian canon. Attached are selections from two later works – A Simple Story (1935) and A Guest for the Night (1939) – in which Agnon references the story of Tirza and Mazal. We discussed both of these works in this series on the novels.(https://webyeshiva.org/class/?cid=746)


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 https://www.webyeshiva.org/rabbisaks/).