Aug. 14th, 2005

liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
So it's insanely hot and humid outside, to the extent that I'm not really prepared to venture out while I'm fasting. Instead I'm staying in with the air conditioning and catching up with LJ. (I've basically not been around for a week.)

[livejournal.com profile] blackherring is sitting beside me writing a Megillah. We read through Lamentations together last night; Jeremiah really doesn't pull punches. And we got things slightly in the wrong order, so straight from reading that into maariv (the evening service): For God is merciful to forgive sin and not destroy...

While I'm having a quiet day at home with LJ, a couple of book reviews that people might be interested in:

Vladimir Nabokov: Pale Fire
William Goldman: The color of light
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Author: Neil Gaiman

Details: (c) 2001 Neil Gaiman; Pub Harper Torch 2002; ISBN 0-380-78903-5

Verdict: American Gods is highly readable but somehow unsatisfying.

Reasons for reading it: I'd been meaning to read it for a while out of general Gaiman fannishness, and then [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo got really excited about it.

How it came into my hands: A fun second hand bookshop in Berkeley.

detailed review )
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
Today it was so unreasonably hot that [livejournal.com profile] blackherring's (unlit) havdalah candle melted. We stayed in her room where there is air-conditioning, and studied some Gemara relevant to today's fast of Tisha b'Av.

The scene is this: some rabbis are discussing the events of around 70 CE (a generation or so after Jesus' death). Judea was under Roman occupation, and in 70, the Romans decided to take action to end the political trouble and fomenting rebellion in the province. This culminated in the destruction of the (second) Temple, the centre of Jewish worship, and the whole city of Jerusalem was also razed and the Jewish population relocated. This is one of the major tragedies that is commemorated by today's fast. R Jochanan tells the following story:

Jerusalem was destroyed because of confusing Kamtza with bar Kamtza )

So the question is, whose fault is it that Jerusalem was destroyed? Answers in comments please! Not doing a poll because I want to know your reasoning. I've heard it said you can deduce a lot about someone's character from whom they blame in this story.

(The story is my paraphrase of a chunk from Gittin 55b. And yes, some of you have played this one before. Oh, and R Jochanan says it's R Zechariah b Avkoulos' fault for being excessively pious, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's right.)

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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