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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The 70 Years of Galut America

Taking a break from translating the pdf.  I may continue later. The following is a YY original.

Bereishit Rabba 58:2:
(קהלת א, ה): "וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ" א"ר אבא בר כהנא וכי אין אנו יודעין שזרח השמש ובא השמש אלא עד שלא ישקיע הקדוש ברוך הוא שמשו של צדיק הוא מזריח שמשו של צדיק חבירו:

יום שמת רבי עקיבא נולד רבינו וקראו עליו "וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ".

יום שמת רבינו נולד רב אדא בר אהבה וקראו עליו "וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ".

יום שמת רב אדא בר אהבה נולד רבי אבון וקראו עליו "וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ".

יום שמת ר' אבון נולד ר' אבון בריה.

יום שמת ר' אבון נולד אבא הושעיא איש טריא.

יום שמת אבא הושעיא נולד רבי הושעיה וקראו עליו "וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ".

עד שלא השקיע שמשו של משה הזריח שמשו של יהושע שנאמר (במדבר כז, יח): "ויאמר ה' אל משה קח לך את יהושע בן נון".

עד שלא שקעה שמשו של יהושע זרחה שמשו של עתניאל בן קנז שנאמר (שופטים א, יג): "וילכדה עתניאל בן קנז".

עד שלא שקעה שמשו של עלי זרחה שמשו של שמואל (ש"א ג, ג): "ונר אלהים טרם יכבה ושמואל שוכב בהיכל ה'"

א"ר יוחנן כהדא עגלתא תמימתא

עד שלא השקיע הקב"ה שמשה של שרה הזריח שמשה של רבקה בתחלה (בראשית כב, כ): "הנה ילדה מלכה גם היא בנים" ואח"כ "ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה":

(Kohelet 1:5) The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down. Ribbi Abba Bar Kahana said: Do we not know that the sun rises and sets? Rather, it means the before Hashem sets the sun of one Tzaddik, He causes the sun of another Tzaddik to rise.

The day that Ribbi Akiva died, Rabbeinu [Ribbi Yehuda Hanasi] was born, and they proclaimed about him "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down".

The day that Rabbeinu [Ribbi Yehuda Hanasi] died, Rav Adda Bar Ahava was born, and they proclaimed about him "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down".

The day that Rav Adda Bar Ahava died, Ribbi Abun was born, and they proclaimed about him "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down".

The day that Ribbi Abun died, Ribbi Abun his son was born.

The day that Ribbi Abun died, Abba Hoshaya Ish Tarya was born.

The day that Abba Hoshaya died, Ribbi Hoshaya was born, and they proclaimed about him "The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down".

Before He set the sun of Moshe, He caused the sun of Yehoshua to rise, as it says (Bemidbar 27:18): And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Take thee Joshua the son of Nun...'.

Before the sun of Yehoshua set, the sun of Otniel rose, as it says (Shofetim 1:13): And Othniel the son of Kenaz...took it.

Before the sun of Eili set, the sun of Shemuel rose, as it says (Shemuel Alef 3:3): and the lamp of God was not yet gone out, and Samuel was laid down to sleep in the temple of the LORD. Ribbi Yohanan said: like a pure calf.

Before HKB"H set the sun of Sara, He caused the sun of Rivka to rise, as first it says (Bereishit 22:20): Behold, Milcah, she also hath borne children... And later, it says (Bereishit 23:1) And the life of Sarah was a hundred...

I recently posted on the significance of the events of 70 years ago. In Iraq, the Farhud - considered the beginning of the downfall of Iraqi Jewry - occurred on Shavuot of 5701 (June 1-2,1941). Simultaneously, Poland and all of Europe were being decimated.

The On The Main Line blog recently posted an image from "Hapardes" from June, 1941. (You can also see this page on here.) It explained the goings on of the American Orthodox Jewish experience at the time. It is quite a remarkable page as it tells of many of the great Rashei Yeshivot of the time when they were just starting their Yeshivot. Featured on this page are Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik Zt"l giving his first Shiur in RIETS, Rav Aharon Kotler Zt"l coming to America trying to save his Yeshiva in Europe, and Rav Ruderman Zt"l laying the foundation stone on a new building of his Yeshiva - Ner Yisrael in Baltimore. It is literally a page of American Torah history.

In the exact same issue of Hapardes, on pages 14-17, it tells of Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of Mandatory Palestine Rav Herzog's trip to Chicago around the same time to collect funds for Torah institutions in Israel. (As an aside, for me, a Chicagoan, this happened to be a fascinating read.) Even before that took place, though, the Ponovezher Rav came to Eretz Yisrael in 1940, while the Mir Yeshiva relocated to Kobe, Japan in 1941 so the seeds for the explosion of Torah in Israel were being planted from all directions.

So, just before the setting of the sun of Iraqi Jewry - the world-wide center of Torah for thousands of years - and of Eastern European Jewry - also arguably the world-wide center of Torah for hundreds of years, Hashem planted the seeds for the salvation of Torah in the United States and in Israel. These are the two centers of Torah today. It was at the very least an עד דלא שקעה... (before his sun set...) case, if not a יום שמת... (on the day x died, y was born) case.

All this occurred 70 years ago. What's the significance of 70? It seems that an exile to a specific country where a world-wide center of Torah begins there lasts a multiple of 70 years. Furthermore, I am contending that a Galut only is considered having started when the Torah centers move to that country. This is as we learn in Pirkei Avot 4:14 הוי גולה למקום תורה - which bederech remez (I realize that this is a very loose translation) could mean "Count years of Galut only from the time that the place becomes a major Mekom Torah".

To illustrate, let's go through history. It says that Yehuda went ahead to Eretz Goshen in order "Lehorot" - and Rashi explains that to mean that he set up a Yeshiva. So, Mitzrayim became a place of Torah overnight. The Galut of Mitzrayim lasted 70 x 3 = 210 years.

The Galut of Bavel lasted 70 x 1 = 70 years. However, you can also calculate from Galut Yehoyachin which included החרש והמסגר (the Torah scholars) until the UN Partition Plan was annonunced in 1947 and mass emigration started from Iraq: 5707 - 3327 = 2380 years. 2380 / 70 = 34 70-year cycles.

The Galut of Sepharad started somewhere around the year 1000 CE (4760), when R' Moshe ben Hanoch, one of the four captives, made it to Spain, and Spain took over from Bavel as the leading center of Torah, as per the Ra'avad HaRishon. As the exact date when this occurred is not known, we'll say that this exile lasted about 490 years. 490 / 70 = 7.

The Galut of Poland started with the birth of the Rema in 1520 (5280) and in the middle of the 16th century, 3/4 of all Jews live in Poland, thereby making it a major Torah center, Safed notwithstanding. This lasted until the Holocaust around 1940 (5700). 5700 - 5280 = 420. 420 / 70 = 6.

It's now been 70 x 1 years since America became a world-wide center for Torah. I wonder what that means.


At Thu Jun 16, 06:33:00 PM 2011, Blogger Leah said...

Please may it mean that Moshiach is on his way!

At Thu Jun 16, 11:42:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

70 years + 1948 = 2018
that's 70 years of the galut of the Erev Rav
Way too long!

At Wed May 23, 08:10:00 PM 2012, Blogger Unknown said...


In 1940 the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe came to america. in 1943, the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote the HaYom Yom, which is still read daily - amazing considering it is on the surface a "calendar" for the years 5703-5704.

&0 years to the Hayom Yom is 5773. Yud Tes Kislev...


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