Thursday, February 26, 2009

R. Joshua ben Hananiah

What was the incident with the little boy? I was once on a journey when I noticed a little boy sitting at a crossroads. I asked him, "My son, by what road do we go to the town?" "This one," he replied, "is short but long, and that one is long but short." I proceeded along the "short but long" road. When I approached the town, I discovered that [the road became a dead end] because gardens and orchards blocked access to the town. I turned back and said to him, "My son, did you not tell me that this road was short?" He replied, "Did I not also tell you, 'But long'?" I kissed him on his head and said to him, "Happy are you, O Israel, for all of you, from the oldest to the youngest among you, are wise."
I am confused by this story. What is the point? A wise person would have answered the question civilly by saying this road goes there but it is long. This road leads to a dead end. Yet the boy is praised. Why?
Also , it raises questions about R. Joshua ben Hananiah. Why doesn't he ask for an explanation of the conundrum? He was willing to ask directions but not willing to admit he didn't understand a response.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

R. Eliezer [the Elder] ben Hyrcanus

I am not sure I understand the purpose of many of these stories. I must admit, I came to dislike Rabbi Eliezer more and more as I read them. He seemed like a self centered know-it-all. He insults people freely and beyond what is needed. He represents the worst in contemporary Haredi thought, he is against all change. He claims to only teach what he learned from his teachers. But he had G!d's ear and was very influential. Rabbi Akiva who went far beyond his teachers in developing creative interpretations shows him total respect in these stories. Yet Eliezer is excommunicated and Akiva is the one to tell him at least partly out of fear.

I wonder if the writers of these stories are trying to capture his influence to give the impression that their changes were not really changes but came from his teachings and were very old.

At least Bialek and Ravnitsky didn't hide the nasty ending of the Aknai's oven story the way many modern writers do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sefer Ha-Bloggadah: week 26

This week: the two most outstanding second-generation tannaim (rabbis of the Mishnah).

  • Monday - 2:1:87-91 (R. Eliezer [the Elder] ben Hyrcanus)
  • Tuesday - 2:1:92-98 (R. Eliezer [the Elder] ben Hyrcanus)
  • Wednesday - 2:1:99-103 (R. Eliezer [the Elder] ben Hyrcanus)
  • Thursday - 2:1:104-113 (R. Joshua ben Hananiah)
  • Friday - 2:1:114-119 (R. Joshua ben Hananiah)
  • Saturday/Sunday - 2:1:120-125 (R. Joshua ben Hananiah)

Friday, February 20, 2009

2:1:73 in Iraq

This blog post from a couple years ago addresses the story of Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Yehoshua... and Saddam Hussein.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2:1:75 Editing of Sefer HaAggada - Did Bialik & Ravnitzky Reverse the Conclusion of the Gemara?

This long account, or series of incidents, involving Rabban Gamliel and, particularly, his disputes with R' Yehoshua is fascinating in many ways.

One involves the editing of Sefer HaAggada. In the middle of this account, the text mentions the liberalization of Rabban Gamliel's rule that scholars would not be allowed to enter the bet midrash unless their internal character was consistent with their outward appearance. Then the account mentions a dream that Rabban Gamliel had. Our text says, roughly, as follows: "Rabban Gamliel had second thoughts. He said, 'Perhaps, God forbid, I have withheld Torah from Israel. [At this point, the Hebrew text has an ellipsis, though there is no break in the text as it appears in b. Brachot 28a.] They showed him in a dream white jugs filled with ashes." In Sefer HaAggada, there's an ellipsis here, and the text then moves on to another incident.

The image of white jugs filled with ashes is understood as a metaphor for students whose appealing exterior (white ceramic) was belied by their inside character (gray ash). It seems that Rabban Gamliel is being told that his stringent admissions criteria were justified, and that people being admitted under the new rules really were not appropriate -- he had not withheld Torah from Israel.

The problem is that, what follows in the Gemara, where the Sefer HaAggada has an ellipsis, is the following: "No, that's not the case; it was just to settle his mind that they showed him this." (Soncino: "This, however, really meant nothing; he was only shown this to appease him.") It seems that the Gemara's conclusion is that Rabban Gamliel was unjustified, and the liberalization was proper. Bialik and Ravnitsky could easily have included this extra line in their text; why did they omit it?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sefer Ha-Bloggadah: week 25

The Yavneh generation, immediately following the destruction.

  • Monday - 2:1:51-54 (Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai)
  • Tuesday - 2:1:55-60 (R. Dosa ben Harkinas; R. Hanina ben Dosa)
  • Wednesday - 2:1:61-68 (R. Hanina ben Dosa)
  • Thursday -2:1:69-74 (Rabban Gamliel II)
  • Friday - 2:1:75-76 (Rabban Gamliel II)
  • Saturday/Sunday - 2:1:77-86 (Rabban Gamliel II)

2:1:50 - The Benefits of a Good Fight

R. Ulla said: Rabban Yochanan ben Zekkai spent eighteen years in Arav and only two inquiries on matters of law came before him. So he said: 'Galilee, O Galilee, you have no sue for the Torah. In the end you will have to cope with malfeasants.

One might have thought the opposite. Arav was such a peaceful place, where all its residents were so wise and learned, that they just never had disputes. They worked everything out, only needing to consult R. Yochana ben Zakkai about once a decade to resolve problems.

But this aggadah does not go in that direction. It takes the lack of disputes as a bad thing, not a good thing. The reason, I think, is that the rabbis presupposed that any serious engagement with Judaism results in conflicts. There is no way around it. And so the lack of conflict does not mean wisdom and peacefulness; it means people are not engaging in Judaism.

The same is true in politics. When President Bush was campaigning in 2000, he argued that he would be bipartisan. When President Obama was campaigning in 2008, he argued the same thing. I think R. YBZ would have disapproved of both messages. There certainly are bi-partisan laws, but most of those are easy. Everyone agrees that murder and stealing should be illegal. Those easily pass.

The challenge of governing is finding the laws that not everyone agrees with, making the case they are good ideas, and moving society in that direction. Politicians are partisan because that have different visions of how to govern and what they would like to accomplish. And that flows from the complexity of life, not from being mean or petty.

In contemporary Judaism, we have the same thing. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and serious non-denominational or post-denominational Jews have
very different visions of Judaism. But that is because they take it seriously, and Judaism and modernity are complicated and interact is complicated ways. The fact that we have these ideological divides is a good sign, not a bad sign.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dissention in the ranks

In two of the midrashim about Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, and in one of the midrashim about Jonathan ben Uzziel, we are directed to consider the role of disagreement among the learned in matters of halachah.

Today, it is usual in the rightward end of the Jewish community to brook no disagreement, to ignore the great tradition we have of multiple views and multiple voices. The rabbis were not unaware of such tendencies in our community. Although the oven of Achnai is often trotted out as a parable of how we have the power to write the Torah in our ow image and God laughs, in fact, if read properly from the very beginning to the very end of the sugiya, it becomes clear that the point is actually a critique of the tyranny of the majority.
Here the tack is slightly different. While the first of the beit hillel and beit shammai midrashim clearly criticizes those who are not sufficiently learned interpreting Torah (because it creates multiple opinions, and thus "two Torahs" - which is problematic because one cannot live by two non-consonant sets of rules) the following two midrashim are also clear in their criticism of those who allow the disagreements between the learned who study for the sake of heaven to separate the community. in one, beit Hillel is preferred because in teaching, they preserve both sets of rulings, presenting the opponent's rulings first, and doing so in a pleasant manner. In the second, the fact that they continued to marry one another, a point which might be well taken by certain factions who go out of their way to annul conversions of Jews they don't care for (anyone other than themselves, mostly) and judge their children not Jewish - completely contrary to halacha. The entire point of mentioning that beit Shammai and Beit hillel continued to marry each other is to point out that in the one most clear example of where differences must come to the fore, they found ways to make their community one.
This fits well with the second of the midrashim about Jonathan ben Uzziel, in which he teaches the deepest secrets of the Torah, to the extent that God protests - and Jonathan ben Uzziel answers that he did it so that dissention would not increase in Israel. Ben Uzziel wants to say that by revealing the deepest secrets of the Torah, Jews will know "the truth" and so will not have multiple opinions, nor be wrong in their interpretation, but God stops him, saying that humans may not know all that is in the Torah - we cannot know the time of the messiah's forecoming. I suggest that this is actually a hint from God that in fat, while dissension is not to be valued, disagreement is. If we know all, then we are not longer engaged in relationship with God - we have lost something precious. Pure knowledge i not always, in itself, the most valuable thing - and unity of thought is not necessarily what God wishes from us - even when it is unity in pursuit of God's desire that drives us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's them

In the course of his remarks, he was moved to chide the people of Jerusalem, saying, "Who brought it about that I have come from Babylonia and have been made patriarch over you? It was your own indolence--you did not minister to the two notables of the generation, Shemaiah and Avtalion, who dwelled in your very midst." No sooner did he rebuke them than the answer to a question in Halakhah was hidden from him, so that when they asked him, "Master, what is the rule if a man forgot to bring in a knife on the eve of the Sabbath?" he had to reply, "I have heard the answer to this question but forgotten it. But depend on the people of Israel: if they themselves are not prophets, they are the children of prophets!" Indeed, the next day, one whose Passover offering was a lamb stuck the knife in its wool; one whose Passover offering was a goat tied the knife between its horns. When Hillel saw what was being done, he recollected the Halakhah and said, "What these men are doing is in line with the tradition I received from the mouths of Shemaiah and Avtalion."

I find this fascinating. It reminds me of the reason that Eliyahu must attend every bris and seder, he criticized the people Israel. It was a punishment not a blessing.

Here Hillel, the kind, the one renowned for not showing anger or annoyance, is the one punished for attacking the people of Jerusalem. Critiquing a group as if all are guilty of some sin is something we do all the time. It's the media, no it's the evangelicals, no it's the Jews, no it's the "other,", etc. This is much easier than arguing issues or trying to teach.

The result is fascinating, Hillel forgets some Torah and is taught the halachah by the very people he has criticized. Let the punishment fit the crime.

2:1:6-9: Like the Trees Need the Rain

9 February 2009

I knew there was a reason I procrastinated on writing this post. After an all-too-dry Tu Bishvat here in Jerusalem, I woke this morning to find that it had rained, none too soon for our sun-parched country. Pollsters and campaigners stand with their umbrellas here on Election Day, while the country observes a yom shabbaton (what Brits call a bank holiday) to allow everyone to vote. And I reread with fascination the story that every Israeli child knows: Honi Ha-Ma’agel (Honi the Circle Maker).

At first read, the two stories about Honi seem to have little to do with each other. In the first anecdote (2:1:6), Honi is the favored child of the king, the magician with the foolproof magic that brings rain when it’s most needed. The community calls on Honi when they need his special talents, whether bringing copious quantities of rain in the time of drought or stopping the deluge before it becomes a flood. His talent is both praised and disdained, as when Shimon ben Shetach admits that Honi would be excommunicated for his magic, were he not so clearly in God’s good graces. This Honi is articulate, arrogant, both an integral part of his community and an outlier among them.

The second story (2:1:7) gives us an entirely different image of this magical figure. After berating an old man for planting a carob tree that he’ll never live to see bloom, Honi falls into the quintessential Rip Van Winkle sleep, a seeming punishment for his cynicism. While the version of this story in Tu Bishvat sedarim often ends with his seeing the blooming tree, the story’s coda strikes me as much more poignant. Honi returns to his village seventy years hence to find his memory alive but his physical self nearly a specter, unrecognized and unappreciated by his family and by his comrades. The punchline of the story—“the fellowship of men or the fellowship of death”—is oft-quoted as a metaphorical platitude about forming community, but its meaning is literal here: Honi dies when he is superfluous, unknown to those who had found him so necessary before.

Honi’s particular talent is in bringing rain, causing a natural process to happen in a supernatural way. He is a figure beyond normal mortal constraints: God listens to his requests and changes the ways of the universe. It is fitting that Honi’s death comes as a consequence of his scoffing at the natural world: why plant a tree if you’ll not live to see it bloom? The Divine Source blesses Honi here, too, with the ability to move beyond the natural world, to outlive the people who are nourished by the rain he brings. But once he’s outlived them, he realizes that while his body may function beyond mortal bounds, his soul still craves this world of mortal community.

Living in Israel during this season of drought, I am struck again and again by how interdependent we are in our usage of water and other natural resources. While we may rely on the Holy One to bring us rain—and we’ve all been praying for it—we also know that our wasting of water and our emissions of greenhouse gases are contributing to our dire situation. And on this Election Day of hope and awe, I pray that we’re able to elect a government who will realize all the ways we are interconnected and not just appeal to divine laws to justify its rule. It rained today in Jerusalem: maybe God’s looking out for us indeed.

--Sara Meirowitz

Monday, February 9, 2009

2:1:5 - In popular culture

Shimon ben Shetach's tale of walking between the raindrops has apparently been preserved in modern Hebrew. Today on, there is a story about Hamad Amar, a Druze candidate for Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party. The headline sums up his delicate situation: "Amar the Druze, #12 on the Yisrael Beiteinu list, walks between the raindrops."


I went to a class about Shimon ben Shetach a few years ago at the Hadar Shavuot Retreat. The part that stuck with me most was a methodological point. After reading various stories about Shimon ben Shetach, we concluded with his one line from Pirkei Avot (1:9):

שמעון בן שטח אומר, הוי מרבה לחקור את העדים; והוי זהיר בדבריך, שמא מתוכן ילמדו לשקר.

Shimon ben Shetach says: Be thorough in examining the witnesses, and be careful with your words, lest they learn from them to lie.

And it was suggested that we should read this not as a quotation, not as something that Shimon ben Shetach said, but as a capsule biography, as the message that we can take from his life. As we have seen from his stories, he encountered tragedy as a result of witnesses who were examined less than thoroughly, and he was less than careful with his words.

I haven't tested this method to see whether it works for the rest of Pirkei Avot, but perhaps it's worth trying out as we continue reading more stories about the rabbis.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sefer Ha-Bloggadah: week 24

Mazal tov to everyone who completed Book I! We're now beginning Book II, which includes stories of the rabbis, going chronologically through the rabbinic generations, and which will take us through June 3 (right after Shavuot). But we're actually taking a small step back in time: we just got done with the destruction of the Second Temple and the land, but this week's rabbis (as is apparent from some of their stories) lived while the Temple still stood.

Happy Tu Bishvat! The story of Honi the Circle Maker is a perennial Tu Bishvat favorite, so it couldn't be timed better.

  • Monday - 2:1:6-9 (Honi the Circle Maker and His Progeny)
  • Tuesday - 2:1:10-14 (Hillel the Elder)
  • Wednesday - 2:1:15-23 (Hillel the Elder)
  • Thursday - 2:1:24-30 (Akavia ben Mahalalel; Rabban Gamliel the Elder; R. Zadok and His Son R. Eleazar)
  • Friday - 2:1:31-41 (The School of Shammai and the School of Hillel; Jonathan ben Uzziel; Samuel the Little)
  • Saturday/Sunday - 2:1:42-50 (Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hadran alach, chelek rishon!

Today we complete the first book of Sefer Ha-Aggadah! There will be festive siyyumim at the NHC Chesapeake Retreat, Kol Zimrah, and perhaps elsewhere as well.

My grandfather, Rabbi Dr. A. Stanley Dreyfus z"l (1921-2008) died shortly before we began Sefer Ha-Bloggadah. As I mentioned at the beginning, I have been reading from his copy of Sefer Ha-Aggadah every day, and dedicating my learning in his memory. When we started going through his extensive library, we found a bound collection of papers he had written as an undergrad at the Hebrew Union College and the University of Cincinnati. In addition to "Hamlet: Sane or Insane?", "Greek Religion in the Homeric Period", and "The Religious Message of the First Isaiah", the collection includes "A translation of the chapter The Destruction of the Second Temple and the Land in the Sefer Ha-Aggadah by Ravnitsky and Bialik". It is dated December 21, 1939, a month shy of my grandfather's 19th birthday, and many decades before any English translation had been published. It received a grade of "VG" and the comment "Well done". It is fortuitous that we have been reading this chapter over the past week, which included what would have been his 88th birthday.

In honor of our completion of Book I and in memory of my grandfather, I am posting the last section of his translation. It seems appropriate because aggadah is a tradition passed down through the generations. When my grandfather typed these words on his typewriter in 1939, he could not have fathomed this blog and our virtual learning community (and perhaps he would have had difficulty fathoming it even in 2008), and similarly we have no idea how what we say and do will be remembered in 70 years, but we continue to add our piece to the chain of Torah.



"He that kindled the fire shall indeed make restitution." (Exodus 22:5) The Holy One said: "I must put out the fire which I have kindled, for I set Zion on fire as it is said: "The Lord hath kindled a fire in Zion which hath devoured the foundations thereof (Lamentations 4:11). And I shall rebuild it with fire, as it is said: And I shall be to it, saith the Lord, a wall of fire round about and a glory in its midst."

Rabbi Gamliel and Rabbi Eleazar were walking on the way when they heard a din in the market place of Rome, a hundred and twenty miles distant. Rabbi Eleazar began to weep and Rabbi Gamliel to laugh. "Why do you weep?"

"Because those nations that serve idols abide in security and rule, and we -- even our Temple is burned; should we not weep?"

"That is why I laugh: If those who transgress God's world enjoy such happiness here, what shall we who keep His law enjoy in the world to come?"

Once Rabbi Gamliel and Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Azariah and Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Akiba returned to Jerusalem. When they reached Mt. Sofim they tore their garments. When they reached the Temple mount, they saw a fox come out of the ruins of the Temple. They wept, but Rabbi Akiba laughed. "Why do you laugh?" "Why do you weep?", he answered.

"Because Scripture says: The stranger that draws near to the Temple shall be put to death (Numbers 1:21), and now even foxes comehither. Why should we not weep?"

"That is why I laugh, for it is said: And I will take unto Me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zecheriah the son of Jeberechiah (Isaiah 8:2). Why is Uriah linked with Zecheriah? Was not Uriah connected with the first Temple and Zecheriah with the second? But Scripture puts the prophecy of Uriah together with that of Zecheriah. In Uriah it is said: Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest (Micah 4:12). But in Zecheriah it says: And there shall yet old men and old women sit in the broad places of Jerusalem (Zecheriah 8:4). Now if Uriah's prophecy has been fulfilled, it is therefore certain that the prophecy of Zecheriah will be fulfilled." And with one tongue they said to him: "Akiba, you have made us change our minds, you have made us change our minds!"

1:10:21 Privations; 1:10:32 Consolations

1:10:21. The two midrashim in this section are a puzzling contrast. The first says that the people spontaneously wanted to foreswear meat and wine after the Destruction. R' Yehoshua showed through reductio ad absurdum that their logic would lead to foregoing even water. He concluded that there had to be some mourning and self-denial, because the decree (g'zeirah) had already been declared, but that extending the decree would violate the principle against rabbinic decrees that exceed what the people can tolerate. Thus, we must leave a part of our house unplastered, forego some foods, and forego some jewelry.

The second midrash has R' Yishma'el ben Elisha saying that, logically, we should have foresworn meat and wine, but for the principle against excessive decrees. And when the oppressors banned Torah, (observance of) mitzvot, and circumcision (or pidyon haben), logically, we should have foresworn marriage and childbearing. But (and here is the puzzler) leave Israel alone, as it's better that they should be sinners out of ignorance (shog'gim) than knowing sinners (m'zidim).

The first midrash makes sense -- logically, all sorts of pleasures should have been proscribed, but there's a countervailing principle, and thus, it's now permissible to eat meat, drink wine, and have most other pleasures. The second one (logically, we should have eliminated marriage and childbearing, but it's better to sin out of ignorance) has a disconnect. We expect the conclusion childbearing theoretically should have been banned, but is in fact permitted. However, the conclusion that we get is that childbearing is in fact prohibited, but we don't do anything to enforce that prohibition, since people will procreate anyway and it's better that they do so without realizing that it's prohibited. Of course, this just raises the question of why the sages and scholars procreate, as they should realize that it's prohibited.

Each of the two midrashim is an eloquent statement of the intellectual, moral, and existential dilemma of how to react when the world has been destroyed. Exile -- when our national existence has centered obsessively on being in the Land. Destruction of the Temple -- when our connection with God has been maintained through the sacrificial cult. Massive losses of population and of social institutions. Logically, it doesn't make any sense to continue, but (illogically?) we have to. (Beckett: "I can't go on, I'll go on." from The Unnameable (according to Wikipedia).)

Maybe the way to understand the disconnect in the second midrash is to see the second midrash as a corrective to the first. In the first, the Talmud has given us the Beckettian paradox. Then the Talmud, as it sometimes does, thinks that the paradox is just a bit too neat, and so it ratchets up the difficulty: Don't go away thinking smugly that severe privation should theoretically be required but is not actually required. Rather, go away worried, because privation is really required. The result is impossible (again, the sages can't conclude that procreation is really prohibited and then themselves procreate), but the purpose is not really to establish law; it's really to force us back into the existential doubt that prevailed after the Destruction.

(It may be like the discussion of the Ben Sorer U'Moreh (the stubborn and rebellious son), where a long explanation of all the narrowing interpretations of the law concludes that there never was such an instance and never will be, and it was included in the Torah so that people would study and derive merit. At that point, we are titillated -- we've been appalled at the prospect of such a child and at the prospect of executing him, we've followed the reasoning, and we're relieved to learn that it's all theoretical. And then the double-take punch line -- R' Yonatan says that there actually was such an instance -- "I saw it, and I sat on his grave." And we're thrown back into the horror.)

1:10:32. I can't resist adding an appreciation of these wonderful midrashim about R' Akiva. Sefer HaAggada cites to Makkot, Ein Yaakov, and Sifrei, but these midrashim are also near the very end of Eicha Rabba. I always read these midrashiim on Tish'a B'Av afternoon. They are an excellent comfort at the end of the fast.

Monday, February 2, 2009

narratives of trauma

For three years, I taught a class on narratives of genocide that explored genocide as a historical phenomenon and delved into the various ways human beings, both survivors and perpetrators, make sense of their experiences. In order to teach the class, I read many accounts of genocides in all parts of the world, from Lord Jeffrey Amherst and his smallpox-infested blankets to the Armenian genocide to Darfur.
This means that I've encountered more stories of trauma than your average person-- personal first-hand accounts, historical analyses, fictionalized versions, poems, films, etc. The aggadot of the past week or so, these horrible-- and horrifying-- narratives of the slaughter and starvation of a people, remind me of all of those other tales of slaughter and starvation I've read.
In my experience, genocide narratives tend to make sense of trauma in a few different ways:
1. They spend a great deal of time comparing life before and life after, in order to create some frame of reference and to establish that the victims had normal lives before the events
2. They valorize survival and survivors, describing in detail the exploits of those who lived, even though, as Art Spiegelman reminds us in Maus, it's not that those who survived were necessarily any smarter, better, or more moral than anyone else.
3. They also exalt the victims and position them as martyrs to assert that they died "for something" instead of in vain
4. They detail the horrors, rehearsing and retelling the trauma, so as to exorcise it and so as to share it with the reader and implicate the him/her in the experience
5. They emphasize strange coincidences and "fated" events in order to make sense of an experience that cannot actually be made sense of

All of these elements appear in the aggadot of the past week. The addition of the dynamic that the destruction of the Temple is seen as God's will, God's punishment of the people, is a different sort of wrinkle. I must confess that I experienced these aggadot from a very critical distance (perhaps because the destruction of the Temple is such a common trope in our liturgy and texts) until I began to see them as similar to all of those narratives about genocide that I have read. They became frighteningly real when I related to them the same way I would relate to a text by a Tutsi Rwandan genocide survivor or a Cambodian victim of Pol Pot.

I'll share with you one of my favorite texts in this vein. It describes the use of a technique called a Shibboleth, which comes from Judges 12:5-6 (a genocide perpetrated by the Israelites, I might add).
Parsley by Rita Dove

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sefer Ha-Bloggadah: week 23

This week, with the end of the Second Temple period, we complete Book I! Hadran alach (we will return to you)! Those who are at the NHC Chesapeake Retreat will get to celebrate in person. Next we begin Book II, covering the rabbinic period.

  • Monday - 1:10:9-10 (The Wickedness of Hadrian)
  • Tuesday - 1:10:11-16 (Zion's Precious Children)
  • Wednesday - 1:10:17-20 (The Holy One Mourns; Menahem the Comforter)
  • Thursday - 1:10:21-28 (The Mourners for Zion)
  • Friday - 1:10:29-32 (Since the Temple Was Destroyed; Consolations)
  • Saturday/Sunday - 2:1:1-5 (R. Simeon ben Shetah)