Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bar-Kamtza and the Wicked Fairy

In the true version of Sleeping Beauty, all the fairies who are invited to Aurora's christening eat their meal off a special gold plate with their name engraved therein. There is one fairy whom the King and Queen forgot to invite, as she lived in a tower and was presumed dead, or at the very least, was forgotten by all. When she arrived at the party unexpectedly, they merely served her off of china dishes, and she did not get her very own golden dish with her name engraved therein. Thus, she felt slighted, and angrily cursed Aurora.

For several years, there was a niggling thought at the back of my head whenever I read this tale...I couldn't quite place what it reminded me of. Then, today, when telling it over, I realized. The true version of Sleeping Beauty reminds me of the tale of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza.

Of course, in that story, a man was deliberately not invited to the party, not simply forgotten because he lived in a tower. And the trouble arose because he was thrown out of the party, not because he was served on china dishes instead of gold ones with his name inscribed therein. But because of this motif (the party oversight) he too curses his host and all the Jews. And thus we end with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash.

In the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, if not for the fact that there was one good fairy who had refrained from giving her blessing and was able to temper the curse, it would also have worked out badly.

(If I were teaching this course, I'd have people learn the Gemara and compare/ contrast to the true Sleeping Beauty text, then write an essay comparing the two.)


Uri said...

A thought-provoking post.

You stated:"In the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, if not for the fact that there was one good fairy who had refrained from giving her blessing and was able to temper the curse, it would also have worked out badly."

I sometimes wonder what would've happened if the wise men present at the feast would jump in,show sensitivity to Bar-Kamtza's plight? It's insensitivity to other fellow Jews that leads to such tremendous destruction.

Anonymous said...

>he too curses his host and all the Jews.

he didn't curse them, he had the roman emperor send an offering to the mikdash and he placed a defect in it so it should not be accepted and the emperor should be pissed at the rabbis who he felt slighted him and attack them

Ari said...

Anon 4:23 pm,

After having been publicly humiliated, Bar Kamtza then approached the Roman authorities and SLANDERED the Jews. His vengeance was directed specifically against the RABBIS who were present at the party and stood by idly while he was put to shame:

"He said, If the rabbis were there and did not object, it must be that they were pleased with what happened... He went and told the emperor, 'The Jews are rebelling against you.'"

Anonymous said...

ari, if you have an issue with what i wrote, spell it out, because im not getting the hint.

to be specific he told the roman governor "the jews have rebelled against you, and ill prove, just send them a sacrifice and the wont accept it" he then went and put a mum in the animal so that it should be rejected.

Ari said...

Anon 4:23 and 5:55,sorry for not making my point clear. Some sources interpret Bar Kamtza's "slandered the jews" as a curse.

Anonymous said...

Beside the oll"y, who else refers to bar-kamtza's actions as him inflicting a curse?

Baruch said...

Anon 6:52pm,thorough study of The Jewish Myths points to Bar Kamtza's slander being interpreted as a curse(literally speaking)

Anonymous said...

blah, blah, blah, give me a source

Anonymous said...

Interesting. People say Cinderella is like when Yosef rode around Egypt. Girls were throwing jewelry at him and the one he caught was the girl he married (after searching for her.). Something like that anyway.

Chana said...

Oh Anon,

I meant "curse" in a lighthearted way. Of course I know that in truth he inflicted a mum on the animal, etc. What do you take me for? It's the idea that's similar.

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