Kinah 13 – Readings – The Oakling and The Oak

Jul 15th, 2013 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships
This Tisha b’Av Kinah – Lamentation bemoans the seeming loss of the Divine promises to the Patriarchs.

We have a strange relationship with the Patriarchs, on whom we depend for the merit to protect us, and defend us before God, and yet…

An 1833 review of the only book of poetry Hartley Coleridge published in his lifetime praised the verse for embodying “no trivial inheritance of his father’s genius,” but also quoted the old saying that, “the oakling withers beneath the shadow of the oak.”

Jean-Paul Sartre counted himself lucky that he was an infant when his father died. He wrote in The Words, “Had my father lived, he would have lain on me at full length and crushed me.” Those are harsh words. But it’s true that parents can be crushing—particularly fathers, particularly with eldest sons. (I urge you to read my favorite essayist, Anne Fadiman’s, The Oakling & The Oak, and, Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, which contains the question of how would we achieve anything if our ancestors lived in their full capacities forever.)

Is it possible that part of what led to the destruction was the loss of our wholehearted connection with the Patriarchs, ancestors, parents and teachers? Is it possible that we were so desperate to mark our mark on the world that we severed important connections to our past?

Is it possible that our desire to reconnect to the promises made to the Patriarchs is the first step in reconnecting?

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