Beyond Reach

Beyond Reach

Sep 20, 2017 By Barbara Mann | Commentary | Ha'azinu

Attentive the heart. The ear listening:
Is anyone coming?
Every expectation contains
the sadness of Nevo.

One facing the other—two shores
Of a single river.
The rock of fate:
Ever far apart.

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Artisan and Architect

Artisan and Architect

Mar 4, 2016 By Barbara Mann | Commentary | Vayak-hel

Ben Uri looked at the work of his hands and was astonished at how the ark stood firm while he himself was like an empty vessel. His soul was sad and he broke out in tears.

—S. Y. Agnon, Agunot

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“I Will Go to the Mountain of Myrrh”

“I Will Go to the Mountain of Myrrh”

Apr 10, 2015 By Barbara Mann | Commentary | Pesah

The Song of Songs is an essential text for modern Hebrew culture, and was perhaps the most beloved biblical book of modernist authors such as S. Y. Agnon and artists such as Ze’ev Raban (1890–1970). Hebrew fiction writers and poets in Palestine in the interwar period plumbed the Song for its extensive lexicon describing the body and the landscape, and its sensitive depiction of psychological and sexual drama. Their modern descriptions of the land before them were often rendered in terms that recalled the erotic interiors and pastoral domain of the Song. Raban taught at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and his Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) illustrations of the Song of Songs (1923) are an exemplary cultural product of their time.

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