Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the Whole Megilah

The NY Times's Motoko Rich has a great line today:
While fans take endless delight in spinning their own theories, bringing Talmudic fervor to the analysis of clues dropped throughout the previous books and in interviews with Ms. Rowling, they tend to oppose spoilers violently.
She's not the first to make the Harry Potter-Talmud connection. Here's About.com's Jewish editor Bruce James:
On a very simple level, Orthodox Jews can find many similarities between J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. Not only do we have a unique culture, although often blending in with the muggle/non-Jewish world, we have our own laws and schools. We even have our own shopping districts -- in Cedarhurst its Central Avenue; in Teaneck its Cedar Lane; in the wizarding world its Diagon Alley.
The Talmud tells us the story of Abbaye and Rava who go to a dream interpreter named Bar Hedya on several occasions. Each time the two rabbis pose identical dreams and seek an interpretation. One consistently gives Bar Hedya a tip, and the other pays him nothing. Not surprisingly, Bar Hedya gives the generous rabbi favorable interpretations, which all come true, and the other interpretations of disaster, which also come true. The Talmud teaches us a lesson similar to Dumbledore -- if one never had the dream interpreted, chances are it would not have come true at all.
Blogger Ben on Mon Jul 30, 10:02:00 PM:
Today I had a classic moment of infatuation with New York... on the subway, a group of teenagers traded freestyle verses, a church group chatted boisterously (while the minister meticulously read a Spanish-language newspaper article with steamy photos of Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek), a subway musician played the saxophone and a Hasid read a Talmud page even more labyrinthine than the one pictured above.