How does the legend of Icarus resonate in the Torah?

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  • This topic has 37 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 7 years ago by oomis.
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  • #614050
    balancehumanbalance
    Participant

    I am curious if there are any sources that site the actual Greek myth.

    #1039899
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Did you mean cite?

    #1039900
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    why does there have to?

    #1039901
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    How is it a cool concept?

    #1039902
    balancehumanbalance
    Participant

    There does not need to – it’s just a cool concept.

    #1039903
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    actually since he burned up by the sun, it would be a hot concept

    #1039904
    balancehumanbalance
    Participant

    🙂

    #1039905
    oomis
    Participant

    I think that the Tower of Babel is a very good potential source for the Icarus myth. Both were about people who wanted to usurp Heaven and be like gods. They both headed toward the sky, and all met their downfall.

    #1039906

    See the ???? ?????? ????, in ??????( I think, I saw it last year) where he brings a ???????/???? about hiw Alexander of Macedonia flew ini th sky by gripping an eagle,and saw that the world is round. He brings it along with other tannaic sources that the world is round

    #1039907

    *how

    #1039908
    Participant

    By the time of Alexander it was pretty well established that the earth was round, at least amongst the Greek cultures.

    #1039909
    balancehumanbalance
    Participant

    Oomis – interesting connection

    I think the goal was different for Bavel than Icarus

    The fact that Icarus flew too close to the sun so his wings melted and then he fell to the sea and drowned reminds of the danger of flipping out in yeshiva.

    #1039910
    northwardb
    Member

    Nadav and Avihu?

    #1039911
    Sam2
    Participant

    Secret: It does not say that the world is round. Pashtus is that that’s a misreading of that Midrash.

    #1039912
    Randomex
    Member

    My 1st thought for a parallel was the “four who entered the Pardes.”

    “The fact that Icarus flew too close to the sun so his wings melted and then he fell to the sea and drowned reminds of the danger of flipping out in yeshiva.”

    In this comparison, it appears that the sun represents Torah, and getting too close to it is a problem. I cannot approve of this.

    Also, in this context, as in the case of Nadav va’Avihu, coming too close to something (in a certain manner) is dangerous, and that thing itself is the goal. In the myth, the sun is not Icarus’ goal – it is simply a hazard which happens to be present. Keep that in mind.

    #1039913
    Randomex
    Member

    (Definitions from Wiktionary)

    “resonate”

    2. To have an effect or impact; to influence; to engender support.

    Greek myths obviously do not have any effect on the Torah.

    “cite”

    1. To quote; to repeat, as a passage from a book, or the words of another.

    2. To list the source(s) from which one took information, words or literary or verbal context.

    Torah sources are not about to do this with Greek myths.

    Now, it does go the other way: To the extent that a myth’s idea has the element of truth, we should be able to find the idea in the Torah. So, what is the idea of the Icarus myth? It appears to be that human ambition must be restrained, or it may be violently checked by the very nature of the world.

    Is this true? I don’t know, but I doubt it. Certainly, the Torah does warn against human arrogance – Oomis gives a good example of that.

    (Did you know that Icarus was actually warned to fly neither too high nor too low? The low warning was so that the sea’s dampness not clog his wings. This makes things more complicated.)

    #1039914
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    My post from a few months ago http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/getting-closer-to-hashem easily relates to the story of Icarus. We all need to know our place!

    #1039915

    Sam2–thanks, I really want to check that up again, do you have a source by any chance?

    #1039916
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Before anyone says Jews have nothing to do with Avodah Zorah

    Tammuz was a Babylonian god

    #1039917
    Sam2
    Participant

    secret: It’s a Yerushalmi brought down in several other Midrashic works and a Tosfos in Avodah Zarah. It says he saw the world “K’kadur” and the sea “K’ke’ara”. People like to quote the first half as Kadur meaning “spherical”. But it’s clearly not true from context. In context it means that the Tanna/Amora who told over this Aggadta thought that the Earth was a rounded object rising out of the massive sea that surrounds it (imagine an upside-down bowl). The conception of the earth being shaped like that also gives a Pshat in the Midrash that says that Eretz Yisrael is taller than all other lands. If E”Y is the midpoint of the world and the world is shaped like a curved bump rising out of the sea, then the midpoint would indeed be the tallest point.

    #1039918
    balancehumanbalance
    Participant

    Damoshe – So cool! I did not think of that one!

    Randomex – I misrepresented – I meant to focus on the manner in which we relate.

    v.intr.

    1. To exhibit or produce resonance or resonant effects.

    2. To evoke a feeling of shared emotion or belief

    3. To correspond closely or harmoniously: “Symbolism matters, especially if the symbols resonate with the larger message” (William Greider).

    #1039919
    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    Secretagentyid:

    Yerushalmi Avodah Zarah 3:1:

    ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ????? [????’ ? ??] ????? ??? ??? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?”? ???? ????????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?????? ???? ???????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??? ???”? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ?????

    There is no mention of an eagle in the story, though the Penei Moshe in his commentary says ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ????? ??”? ????

    There’s a more elaborate version of the story in the ???? ???? ?????? which does actually mention an eagle (assumin that nesher is an eagle which is a discussion for another time):

    ???? ?????? ?? ????????? ????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ?? ?? ????? ???’ ????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ???’ (????? ?’) ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ???? ?????? ?????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ????? ????? ???

    As the Penei Moshe pointed out, this story is a famous legend even outside of Torah sources.

    sorry, no links

    #1039920
    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    “sorry, no links”

    I know. I was seeing if you would let it in because I made the link in a way that it couldn’t be clicked on.

    Why would that be different?

    #1039921
    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    “Why would that be different?”

    Why would it be different if I describe how to google it?

    Also, see http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/good-jewish-websites#post-534613

    Do you answer questions, too, or just ask them?

    #1039922
    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    “Do you answer questions, too, or just ask them?”

    What’s that supposed to mean? I answered the question in two separate ways:

    1) By asking a question and whatever the answer to my question would be, you could apply it to your question.

    2) By showing precedent for the idea of allowing websites if there is no actual link in the text.

    #1039923
    oomis
    Participant

    Nadav and Avihu? “

    I don’t think it’s a good comparison, because N and A were kohanim, and tzaddikim. They brought an Aish Zara that Hashem did not command. They might have been oveir on Lo Tosif. They were certainly not trying to compete with Hashem (as Nimrod was trying to do, and as I believe was the case with Icarus). By the way, how is it that all of us are so familair with Greek Mythology, hmmmmm…?

    #1039924
    golfer
    Participant

    PAA,

    Thank you.

    As usual, interesting to read the quotes you kindly posted.

    I enjoy reading the originals, not hearing them in loose second & third hand translations.

    My Aramaic is beyond poor, so I didn’t get everything.

    If Alexander saw the earth (Olam) as a “kadur”, a ball or sphere; and the Yam (Seas) as a “ke’ara”, a convex bowl-

    Would you say that he saw our planet as a spherical object? Or was he describing the relation between the shape of the earth and the sea?

    #1039925
    Sam2
    Participant

    golfer: See my earlier post, where I described what that meant.

    #1039926
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Maybe the message of the legend is that wax is a poor material to use unless it’s very cold.

    #1039927
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    oomis, I don’t believe that in the legend, Icarus was trying to compete with the Greek gods. Icarus’s father, Daedalus, built the labyrinth for the king of Crete. The king imprisoned them there. To escape, Daedalus built the wings. Icarus was simply overcome with the joy of flying, and ignored his father’s warnings. He flew too high, the wax melted, and he fell.

    #1039928
    Patur Aval Assur
    Participant

    Golfer:

    It’s a complex issue. First, what does it mean that Alexander saw the Earth as a ball? When you look out the window of an airplane do you see a ball? My impression is that in order to see the spherical shape of the world you would have to be well outside the atmosphere. The problem is that if you go too far away, it will appear two dimensional (such as when you look at the moon) so you still won’t be able to see a sphere. So I’m not really sure how Alexander could have seen the world as a ball. (Any scientists around here can feel free to correct what I just said, if it’s wrong.)

    Now the way Sam2 explained the Yerushalmi, I can at least understand what Alexander saw – it would be like a hump coming out of the water.

    However, I am not convinced of Sam’s pshat. The parallel of the Yerushalmi in the Bavli (Avodah Zarah 41a), says ???”? ???? ?????? ???’: ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ????: ???? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?????: ???? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?????

    Tosafos there (s.v. k’kadur) says

    ?????? ???? ?????? ???????? ?????????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ??’ ?? ??????? ????? ?? ?? ?????

    The Yaavetz, commenting on Tosafos, says ???? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ????? ??? which I think he is discussing a round Earth vs. a flat Earth.

    It happens to be that there are various statements of Chazal which can perhaps be taken either way. I would say the best assumption is that Chazal themselves did not have a definitive position on the matter. In support of this contention, see the commentary to Sefer Yetzira by R’ Yehuda Ben Barzilai of Barcelona where he says ????”? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ???? and he (quoting R’ Saadia Gaon) seems to basically say that the Chachamim were divided on this matter. (You can see the whole context at http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=21827&st=&pgnum=284 although don’t ask me to explain what’s going on because I don’t really know.)

    Regarding Sam’s point about how this relates to Eretz Yisrael being the highest point, see the Maharsha in Kiddushin 69a (where the Gemara says this idea) who says

    ???”? ???? ??? ?”? ??”? ??? ???’. ?????? ??? ????? ????? ???”? ??? ???? ???? ??? ?”? ???? ???? ??”? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ??”? ??? ?? ????? ????? ???? ???????

    and the Sefer Hamakneh there who says

    ?????? ??? ????? ??????? ??? ???? ??? ?? ???? ??”? ???? ??? ?????? ?????? ??”? ??? ??? ???? ?????”? ?”? ??? ??”? ?????? ??? ????? ????? ????”? ??? ???? ????? ??? ??”? ???? ???? ??”? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ??”? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???’ ???? ????? ???? ????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??”? ???? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???? ???”? ??? ??? ?’ ?????? ???? ???? ???”? ??? ???? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ???’ ?? ?????? ?”? ????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ???’ ??? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?”? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ??”? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ????? ????? ?? ???’ ?????? ????? ???? ????”? ???? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?”? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ???’ ?? ????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ????

    ???? ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ????? ????’ ???? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?????? ????”? ??? ???? ???? ???’ ?? ???? ????? ??? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ?????? ??”? ??”? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ??”? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ???’ ???? ???? ????? ????’ ???? ??? ???? ???? ??”? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ??”? ????? ????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ???? ??”? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ??’ ????? ?????? ?? ??”? ??? ??? ???? ??”? ????? ??? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??? ????? ????’ ????? ???? ???? ?????? ?????? ????? ??”? ?? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ??”? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ???? ????? ???”? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?”? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??”? ???? ???? ???? ?????”? ????? ???? ??? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ???”? ???? ???? ?”? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??”? ?? ???? ???? ??”? ???? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ????? ?”? ???? ??”? ??”? ??”? ???? ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ??? ?”? ??’ ???? ?? ??? ??? ???? ???? ????? ??”? ???”? ?? ??’ ????? ??? ??? ??? ?? ????

    ?? ??”? ??? ??? ???? ??”? ??”? ???? ??? ?????? ?”? ???? ??”? ???? ????”? ????? ????”? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ?????? ??”? ???? ??? ????? ??”? ?????? ??”? ??? ???”? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ????? ???’ ????? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ????? ???’ ???? ???? ????”? ???? ??????? ??? ??’ ???? ??”? ??”? ??? ???’ ???? ?????, ??”? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ??? ???? ????? ????? ???? ???’ ?????. ???’ ??? ???? ??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ??”? ????? ??? ???? ???? ???”? ???? ??? ???’ ???? ????? ???? ????, ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??????? ??”? ???? ??? ?? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ????? ????”? ?”? ???? ???? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ??”? ???? ??? ????? ??”? ??? ???”? ???? ?? ??????? ??”? ???? ?? ????? ????? ??”? ???”?

    Sorry for the longwindedness of the post. I hope it helps somewhat.

    #1039929
    Randomex
    Member

    [EDIT: This was written before seeing DaMoshe’s post.]

    oomis:

    “They were certainly not trying to compete with Hashem (as Nimrod was trying to do, and as I believe was the case with Icarus). By the way, how is it that all of us are so familiar with Greek Mythology, hmmmmm…?”

    Evidently, we are not all so familiar with Greek mythology;

    Icarus and his father were simply trying to escape an island

    on which they were imprisoned.

    A better parallel than Nimrod exists (with the same issue, though) – Shem’eiver. Here’s ArtScroll’s translation of Rashi to Bereishis 14:2.

    He put an artificial limb on himself to be able to fly and to leap and to rebel against HaKadosh Boruch Hu.

    ArtScroll footnote:

    Minchas Yehudah and Sifsei Chachamim appear to take this literally; Shemeber actually made wings that gave him the ability to fly and thereby rebel against G-d[it’s fully spelled out in the original] in some way.

    Sefer Zikaron takes this figuratively; he rebelled against G-d so blatantly that it was as if he made wings to fly up and attack Him.

    #1039930
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Rashi and Sifsei Chachamim in last weeks parsha (perek yud daled passuk beis… Rashi d’h shemever and the sifsei chachamim there) describe the king “shemever” as a charachter very similar to Icarus.

    #1039931

    Sam2, PAA, thanks alot.

    #1039932
    Randomex
    Member

    “Randomex – I misrepresented – I meant to focus on the manner in which we relate. […]

    3. To correspond closely or harmoniously: “Symbolism matters, especially if the symbols resonate with the larger message” (William Greider).

    My apologies. It seems Wiktionary isn’t the best source of definitions. We (and the Torah) aren’t necessarily supposed to relate to the Greek myths, though…

    #1039933
    balancehumanbalance
    Participant

    Apashut and randomex – thank you for the connections!

    Randomex – I understand that everything orginates from the Torah (even warped Greek myths) – and was looking for a root.

    #1039934
    Randomex
    Member

    (I just noticed that Balance posted this a

    day before DaMoshe and I said anything:

    “Oomis – interesting connection

    I think the goal was different for Bavel than Icarus”)

    Randomex – I understand that everything orginates from the Torah (even warped Greek myths) – and was looking for a root.

    Everything that exists in the world has its source in Torah – but a myth, objectively speaking, does not exist. If we assume, for example, that it would be foolish to ask where we see a parallel to (or inspiration for) Batman in the Torah, what reason is there to grant the myths of ancient Greece any more significance?

    Furthermore, if a story was created in order to teach an idea which is not the truth, we would certainly not expect to find a source for the idea in the Torah. Should we assume that Greek mythology’s ideas are true?

    I simply don’t see much value in this type of inquiry…

    (It might well be interesting, though.)

    #1039935
    oomis
    Participant

    Icarus was simply overcome with the joy of flying, and ignored his father’s warnings. He flew too high, the wax melted, and he fell. “

    Yes, thanks – I remember that now. But wasn’t Icarus trying to fly higher and higher (as he was excited by the feelign of freedom when soaring) to be near the “gods?” It’s a long time since I read mythology, but my memory bank seemed to reflect that idea somehow. I must be mixing up two different ideas.

    There was a greek mythic girl Arachnae (turned into a spider), who also was competing with the gods, and her punishment was to forever do what she was good at, spinning (webs).

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