David Solomon examines Jewish discussions on the death of Titus, the Roman general who presided over the siege in Jerusalem which led to destruction of the Second Temple.
Unsurprisingly, many Jewish commentators throughout history have painted Titus, who followed his father into the role of emperor, in a negative light. However, others claimed that Titus was far from the worst Roman emperor or general for the Jewish people.
In this talk, David explores a Midrash which contends that Titus died from a gnat entering his brain via his nasal passage. This gnat, it suggests, was divine punishment bestowed upon Titus for his wicked behaviour towards the Jewish people.
David examines how this Midrash relates to historical accounts of Titus’ death as well as later discussions on this text. He also discusses kabbalistic ideas concerning this Midrash and the mystical power and purpose of Jewish history for the world.
David Solomon explores messiahs of the modern period of Jewish history and the dangers of mystical attempts to bring about redemption.
Among the figures David discusses are:
Yosef Della Reina
Rabbi Avraham ben Eliezer ha-Levi
Shlomo Molcho and David haReuveni
Rabbi Ḥayyim Vital
Rabbi Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal
Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov
Gaon of Vilna
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, the Maid of Ludmir
Rav Abraham Isaac Kook
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Ideas that the lecture examines include:
a return to the apocalyptic- this time with mystical magic
the transformation of Christianity
the concept of a ‘special time’
redeeming the sparks
the antinomian messiah
kabbalistic efforts to bring redemption
sexual practices to bring the special soul
the redemptive spirit in the special soul.
David discusses the stories of these fascinating messianic figures and thinkers and unpacks their ideas, influences, and contributions to history as well as to the ever-developing notion of redemption and messianic fulfillment.
David Solomon explores the post-Talmudic period to the Renaissance in the third lecture of his series “The Messianic Idea in Jewish History.”
The emergence of ‘the Midrashic Messiah’
The concept of the false messiah
The disappointment of Bar Kokhba
The influence of Islam on the messianic idea
The impact of the Spanish Inquisition and Expulsion on Jewish messianism
Other messianic movements.
He examines several messianic figures, including:
Nehemiah ben Ḥushiel
Shlomo Molcho and David Ha Reuveni.
David also explores different messianic types, including:
The ‘classic’ Rabbinic messiah
Ishmaelic and Edomic models.
And discusses various ideas of messianic manifestations through Jewish history, including the messiah:
as kabbalist and wonder worker
with a plan.
David examines passages from key Jewish texts which chart discussions about the concept and role of the messiah. He also provides historical context to the people, events, and developments mentioned throughout the lecture.
The second in David Solomon’s series “The Messianic Idea in Jewish History” explores fervent messianism in the land of Israel in the first century CE.
In the latter years of the second temple in Jerusalem, the atmosphere was rich with apocalyptic eschatology. As a result, several people emerged contending to be the messiah. In this talk, David examines the actions and impact of some of these contenders, with a particular focus on:
David also discusses factors contributing to this time of heightened messianic expectation and presentation, including:
The welding of the pre-exilic ‘ideal ruler’ of Davidic descent with eschatological anticipations,
The idea of the anointed one,
The warrior spirit of redemption and the inspiration of the Maccabees in the past,
The revival of Hebrew,
The Dead Sea Scrolls,
The promise of the prophets and the reality of Roman occupation.
David also explores two types of messianic figures presented in Jewish literature – Ben Yosef and Ben David.
This second instalment of David Solomon’s series on the Trei Asar, the twelve “minor” prophets, explores the lives and books of:
Yonah (Jonah), and
David examines the historical contexts of all three prophets and how they are reflected in the texts. He also discusses the key themes in these three prophetic books, including:
national and individual teshuvah
the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel
false prophets and prophecy
Edom and its spiritual and geo-historical connections
destinations of exile
the importance of ethical and just behaviour.
In exploring these themes, David also delves into the words of these prophets. He examines, line-by-line, some of the key passages of the books and reveals the remarkable power and substance of these fundamental sacred works.
Kabbalah Since the AR”Y: the Vilna Gaon and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
The teachings of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the AR”Y (also known as the Ari or Arizal), have been profoundly influential on Jewish mystical thought of the past five hundred years. In this episode of the podcast, the second lecture in a series exploring post-Lurianic Kabbalah, David discusses the historical background, lives, and ideas of two iconic Jewish intellectual and spiritual figures – the Vilna Gaon and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. In doing so, he examines their remarkable contributions to kabbalistic thought on G-d, the world, and Divine revelation.
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