The Jewish Dwarves of The Lord of the Rings

The online magazine Commentary has an article by Meir Soloveichik called The Secret Jews of The Hobbit, in which he looks at the thematic origin of the dwarves in the works of JRR Tolkien, as well as the author’s personal thoughts on the Jewish people.

While images of greedy treasure-lovers would seem to allude to some of the most pernicious of Jewish stereotypes, Soloveichik shows that this was quite far from how Tolkien felt about Jews, as he tells his daughter in a letter, “I do think of the ‘Dwarves’ like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue.”

The article is full of quotes from Tolkien himself regarding his feelings for the Jewish people and our story, as well as great literary commentary regarding the dwarves, their history, and the events in the novels themselves, such as, for example, looking at the song Far Over The Misty Mountains as a lamentation such as the ones we would utter during the saddest day in the Hebrew calendar, Tisha B’Av.

“The story of the Jews,” writes Soloveichik, “is about a little people who today, and throughout time, have helped bring prophecy about. They, all too often, doubt it all the more, refusing to accept that to be a Jew means to be a part of the most miraculous story that could ever be told, a story that is not yet over.”

An excellent read. Head over to Commentary, and check out the article yourself.

 

2 comments

    • I came across it while reading Mosaic magazine. Their headline linking to the article in Commentary made it seem like it was gonna be a bad connection between the two, so I was very glad to find such a great article waiting for me.

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