"A full life after the temple was destroyed?" The Temple in Y.H. Brenner's "Around the Point"
Keywords:Temple, Brenner, Zionism, Modern Hebrew Literature, Messianism
The Jewish temple appears numerous times throughout Y. H. Brenner's novel Around the Point (1904). In the world of Jewish Revival Literature there was a debate regarding the place of the temple as part of the Zionist vision, a debate that followed the appearance of the temple in Herzl's Altnueland. The presence of the temple throughout the Hebrew literature of the revival had two major focal points: The more common reference to the temple was as a literary trope; however, the temple was also mentioned in a realistic and historical sense. The latter option would usually imply a question on the relevance of the idea of a future temple. The protagonist in Around the Point refers to the temple excessively and his references also seesaw between the metaphorical and the historical. Nevertheless, unlike parallel strategies of repression of the temple from the fear of its apocalyptic power, it seems that Brenner chooses to examine the temple from a point of view that restores the temple in a realistic way. This view includes the blood spilled on the altar, the annoying flies that come for that blood and the imminent contempt, in a way that refers to rabbinical quotes from tractate Avot. This article highlights the resemblance between Brenner's historical perspective, and that of Walter Benjamin. Benjamin demanded that historians be free from the victors' point of view and reconstruct the past from the fuzzy perspective held in real time.