On last weekend’s episode of his podcast, Religious Right rabbi Daniel Lapin suggested that the recent fire at Notre Dame cathedral may have been divine retribution for the burning of thousands of Jewish books in the 1200s.
Lapin dedicated the first portion of his podcast to recounting “The Disputation of Paris,” in which the Jewish faith was essentially put on trial in France in 1240 when leading rabbis of the day were tasked with proving that the Talmud did not contain blasphemous attacks on Christianity. The rabbis failed to convince their Christian prosecutors and, as a result, thousands of Jewish texts were confiscated and burned in the streets outside of Notre Dame.
In response, Meir of Rothenburg, a rabbi who witnessed the destruction, wrote a poem of lamentation in which, according to Lapin, he prophesied that the Christians responsible for burning these Jewish books would one day suffer divine retribution.
“It was written specifically in reaction to his witnessing the burning of these Jewish manuscripts,” Lapin said. “This is all mysterious, prophetic stuff.”
“Let us therefore take comfort that you, oh God, always pay your debt,” said Lapin, reading from the poem, “and you pay them with flame and fire … I tell [the book burners] that your end will be burning fire in your own places.”
“A prophecy to the fire that inflicted so much damage on the Notre Dame cathedral, in front of which more than 20 wagonloads of Jewish manuscripts were burned back in 1242?” Lapin asked. “Sounds like it.”