This famous quote has made its way into modern usage, including Batman: The Dark Knight (2008). Harvey Dent uses this line while trying to reassure the people of Gotham that there is hope, amidst the attacks of the Joker. Batman also finds himself in doubt and despair. This movie is a perfect example of the issues we encounter in the winter, not to mention the curious connection between the Joker and the story of Purim. But that’s for another newsletter. Winter brings with it cold, darkness and uncertainty. Our sentiments towards winter have changed a bit with the advent of technology, electricity, infrastructure and therefore more security in the long cold nights. But the fear and doubt of winter stems from the times of our ancestors who were exposed to the elements without the cover of trees, or who took risks planting seeds without knowing if they will grow until the spring. It is a time that requires strength and fortitude, as expressed in Psalms/Tehillim:
לְהַגִּ֣יד בַּבֹּ֣קֶר חַסְֽדֶּ֑ךָ וֶ֝אֱמֽוּנָתְךָ֗ בַּלֵּילֽוֹת׃ (תהילים צב, ג) To proclaim Your steadfast love at daybreak, Your faithfulness each night (Tehillim 92:3)
Even more interesting is the connection made in the Talmud between Emunah/faithfulness and Zera'im/planting seeds (or the tractate with that name).
״וְהָיָה אֱמוּנַת עִתֶּיךָ חוֹסֶן יְשׁוּעוֹת חׇכְמַת וָדָעַת וְגוֹ׳ (ישעיהו לג, ו)״. ״אֱמוּנַת״ — זֶה סֵדֶר זְרָעִים.
(תלמוד בבלי שבת ל"א:)
זֶה סֵדֶר זְרָעִים, שֶׁאָדָם מַאֲמִין בְּחַיָּיו שֶׁל עוֹלָם וְזוֹרֵעַ. (במדבר רבה יג, טז)
In a nutshell, the six tractates of Mishnah correspond to six words in Yeshayhu/Isaiah 33:6, the first being Emunat. The reason the tractate of Zera'im/Seeds is related to Emunah/faithfullness, is because a person much have faith in the world when planting. I heard a quote from a Yerushalmi which I could not find, which takes this further. I'm paraphrasing: "G-d says: have Emunah when you plant, because I too had Emunah in the world when I created it".
Night is a time for faithfulness. In the day, when everything is clear and certain, faithfulness
doesn’t prove as much. It could be a convenience. It is in the darkness that we are tested.
Chanukah and Purim are those festivals which deal with darkness, doubt and uncertainty.
In this short newsletter I would like to update you about the winter programs I have in store for you in Jerusalem and New York, from now through January, including:
The Third Side of the Coin - in the Israel Museum. A tour about the history and politics of money, with connections to national history, art, and much more. A special connection to Chanukah is also woven into this tour. After all, who doesn’t like “Chanukah gelt”?
A Culture Clash. A Chanukah tour in the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Magical Mystery Tour of the Met (Dec 06, 12:00 PM), and later in other museums in Jerusalem.
A brand new series for Home School kids. Virtual tours, currently in Hebrew. Sign up live or for the recording.
Night at the Museum. A fun social activity for the long winter nights.
January in Jerusalem - more tours and excitement.
Stay warm, and see you soon! Nachliel Selavan “The Museum Guy”
English Tours The Met & The Bible Lands Museum Tue, Dec 13, 10:00 AM–12:00 PM - New York Thur, Dec 15, 11:30 AM–1:30 PM - New York Wed, Dec 21, 2:30–4:30 PM - Jerusalem Thur, Dec 22, 10:00 AM–12:00 PM - Jerusalem
Join us live every other Tuesday, usually. Currently in Hebrew and can be in English with 10 committed participants. For more details reach out.
To watch the Hebrew edited recording above, or to join the WhatsApp group, please contact me.
January - Winter Break
Night in the Museum:
An exciting social activity in Jerusalem's museums on the long, dark winter nights.
A Winter's Tale:
About Chanukah and Purim, in the Bible Lands Museum.