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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The 1000-Year Sale

In the Perasha, Yaakov Avinu asks Eisav to sell him the first-born rights. Bereishit Rabba 63:13 adds that he also requested something else in this sale:

ויאמר יעקב מכרה כיום אמר לו זבין לי חד יום מן דידך אמר רבי אחא כל מי שהוא יודע לחשב ימי הגלות ימצא שיום אחד ישב יעקב בשלוה בצלו של עשו

And Yaakov said, "Sell like the day" - He [Yaakov] said to him [Eisav], "Sell me 1 day of yours." Ribbi Aha said, "Anyone who knows how to calculate the days of exile will find that Yaakov sat 1 day in tranquility in the shadow of Eisav."

This means that the Jewish people were at peace from Eisav for a period of "1 day".
The concept of "1 day" is undisputed - it refers to 1000 years, as we know from the verse כי אלף שנים בעיניך כיום אתמול כי יעבר. What is in dispute, however, is when these 1000 years took place.
The Eitz Yosef quotes the נזה"ק who says that you find the 1000 years from Yitziat Mitzraim until the "Shi'bud" of the 2nd Beit Hamikdash started (presumably subtracting the 70 years of Galut Bavel). The issue with this is - can you really consider this "in the shadow of Eisav"??
Other commentators seem to say that it started when Galut Edom started. The problem with this is that it's hard to find 1000-years worth of peaceful times.

According to the second opinion, Ribbi Aha is making a prediction for the future - not a statement of the past. This may even fit better with the wording of "לחשב ימי הגלות".

If anyone has any insights in this, I'd much appreciate them.


At Wed Nov 26, 01:23:00 PM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

A day here is not 1000 years. It says if you know how to calculate the *days*, then *1* of them had shalvah. so u must know the length as well as the division in to days.

At Wed Nov 26, 04:48:00 PM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

That's an interesting pshat, but it seems to argue on all the peirushim though.

At Wed Nov 26, 10:51:00 PM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

I noticed the Yalkut Shimoni's version is a bit different:

ויאמר יעקב מכרה כיום א"ל זבין לי חד יום מן דידך אמר ר' אחא כל מי שיודע לחשב כמה שנים ישב אבינו יעקב בשלוה ימצא שיום אחד ישב יעקב בשלוה בצלו של עשו.

At Thu Nov 27, 12:22:00 AM 2008, Blogger גילוי said...

Indeed completely different. It seems to be referring to the time after Yaakov's return to Eretz Yisrael when he sat in peace. One could say that he only really achieved some shalva during his 17 years in Mitzraim, but that is not the shadow of Esav.

At Thu Nov 27, 07:21:00 AM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very interesting.
btw, you can provide a link (or image) of this midrash rabba, here:

I would guess that Etz Yosef would consider it "betzilo shel Esav" since in the womb they divided their portions, and Esav took Olam haZeh while Yaakov took Olam haBa. And so this is within Olam haZeh. I agree that it is a somewhat awkward reading.

In the context of Yalkut Shimoni, perhaps a "yom" would then mean a year? or maybe actually a day? My guess would then be that *possibly* it is a reference to the beginning of parshat Vayishlach, Bereshit 33:12 and on, where Esav asks Yaakov to come with him. Perhaps that ate up some time before ending his galut and returning finally to Kiryat Arba in Bereshit 35:27. Just a thought.


At Thu Nov 27, 11:53:00 AM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would say that it is from the year 4000 - 5000 (239CE - 1239CE).

The peak of the Roman Empire was circa 117CE under Trajan.

Beginning in 235CE was the Crises of the Third Century that could be called the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire. Circa 226CE was the founding of the Sassanid Empire and the rise of Parthia whose dynasty lasted 4 centuries. By this time slightly more that half of Jewry was living on the Parthian side or in Arabia (away from Rome).

This was to mark a turning point and the rise of Jewish life in the "east". Rav Yehuda Nesiah dies in 235CE, Rav arrives in Sura circa 225CE, Shmuel in Nehardea, and subsequently the forming of Pumbedita.

This is the time of the early Amoraim, through the sealing of the Talmud, through the period of the Geonim and the rise of Islam.

Jewish life begins to move westward with the arrival of the Arabs to Spain circa 755CE with the arrival of Abd al-Rahman. This is to last several hundred years and marks the beginning of the period of the Rishonim. The pinnacle of Islamic Spain lies in Cordoba and its libraries, and the translation of all the ancient works of Greek philosophy and culture by which time had been lost in Europe.

If it were not for Islamic Spain and Cordoba, it is very probable that Europe would not have awakened.

By the 1200's Christian Spain backed by Papal Rome was on the rise and beginning to push Islam back to North Africa. In 1236 Ferdinand backed by the Pope takes Cordoba. The Golden Age of Islamic Spain was ending and the beginning of the Christian Spain and its Inquisitions was beginning.

Jewish life from here onward continues to shift more and more to Europe - which is back into the world of ESAV.

This basically marks 1000 years of Jewish life in the East - out of ESAV's territory and life - and with Persia, the Arabs, and Islam.

At Thu Nov 27, 11:50:00 PM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

Interesting, Anonymous. The question is - is that really "in the shadow of Eisav" or is that "away from Eisav"? I don't know.

At Fri Nov 28, 12:34:00 AM 2008, Blogger yaak said...

After doing some research in Otzar HaHochma (which I don't own, but have access to), I found the following treasure from Chabad's ילקוט משיח וגאולה. It's in חלק ו' סימנים רנו-רס.

I stored a PDF of it here.

It quotes the פני יהושע in גיטין פח. ד"ה עולא where he says a day w/o the night is 930 years, and he has a heshbon how it fits into ונושנתם.

Also very interesting are the חתם סופר and the אור תורה's explanations.

At Sun Nov 30, 03:28:00 AM 2008, Blogger madaral said...

When I saw this post, I realized that this warning of six weeks ago, but edited today, holds an answer that I cannot hide.

At Thu Dec 04, 06:16:00 PM 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest a different approach:

And Yaakov said “ Sell like the day [that passes and does not come back (adopting R’ Akiva’s interpretation of Cayom in Sanhedrin 110:2), meaning that the sale of the rights of the Birthright, which includes the Inheritance of the Land , would be irreversible].

He [Esav] said to him [in return] “sell me 1-day of yours”, meaning 1-day of your entitlement, and, as already pointed out by Yaak, 1-day refers to 1,000 years.

Edom’s dominion over Yaakov’s inheritance lasted 820 years, made up as follows:
From the Roman occupation of Israel in 3697 until the Arab Conquest in 4398 = 701 years;
From the Crusader’s Conquest of Israel in 4859 until Saladin’s Conquest in 4947 = 88 years;
From the British Mandate in 5677 until Israel’s Independence in 5708 = 31 years.

Add the 180 years of Dominion under the Greeks (Midrash Rabbah Vayikra 29:2), which is also called the Evil Kingship (Malchut Harsha’ah), and it adds up to exactly 1,000 years.

We would have to say that Esav is included with the Greeks, as Targum Yonatan explains (Shir Hashirim 6:8): “At that time the Greeks arose and gathered 60 chiefs from the sons of Esav… and 80 commanders from the sons of Ishmael…and they came to wage war against Jerusalem”.

Ribbi Acha said “ Anyone who knows how to calculate the days of exile [meaning, the 1,000 years of Esav’s dominion] will find that Yaakov [in exchange for those 1,000 years for which he gave up the Birthright, only] dwelt 1-day in tranquillity in the shadow of Esav.

Which day was that? It was the day that Yaakov parted from Esav after their encounter on his return to Israel, as it is written (Bereshit 33:16): “And on that day Esav turned on his way to Se’ir… and Yaakov came perfect (shalem)” . As Eben Ezra explains “he came in peace since no misfortune befell him”.

The day that Esav parted from Yaakov, Yaakov gave Esav the [Material] Blessing that he had received from their father Yitschak; Esav accepted it and left him in peace.


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