Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The blowback from the Lag Ba-omer brouhaha

Before Lag Ba-omer there was some discussion about an article which suggested that a textual error in a manuscript of a work by R. Hayyim Vital led to the erroneous conclusion and tradition that the tanna Rby Shim'on ben Yohai's yahrzeit was on the 33rd day of the Omer. I posted about it here, concluding that it may not be a textual error misinterpreting an acronym, but that the acronym itself was a euphemism for yahrzeit. Be that as it may, the original article sparked a controversy in Israel and Jameel posted about it
I could "fisk" the following article, but it's too sad. What was once a serious critical analysis of the history of Lag Ba'Omer -- the author has now backpedaled on every single research point he raised and is now cowering from the wrath of the kannoim who have made his life a living hell.
His entire post should be read, because it includes the article by R. Avraham Kosman, author of the original article in which he backpedals due to the enormous pressure he is under for writing an analysis of a text which was not politically correct.

I feel bad for him and don't blame him for caving to pressure which I didn't feel myself.

However, I have to say that there are ever more extreme positions to please. Why don't we all just pander to Neturei Karta or Lev Tahor?

As for the content of the original article itself, at the time I thought that it isn't really nice to throw water on a custom times to coincide with the celebration. But neither is it nice to persecute someone for doing it, especially when all he intended to do was promote what he was sure is the truth. In fact its worse than not nice.

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