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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Is Medinat Yisrael Reishit Tzemichat Geulateinu? - Part II

Continued from here

Be'Ikvei HaTzon (pg. 215):

"And if we will hold that Medinat Yisrael is now considered "BeVinyanah", then we are assured that there will not be a third "Churban", and if so we can conclude that the establishment of the Medinah was a form of "Atchalta DeGeulah". And it seems, that determination of this point - when Eretz Yisrael is considered "BeChurbanah", and when it is considered "BeVinyanah", is clearly defined in the words of the Poskim - regarding the obligation to do Keri'ah on the cities of Yehudah when they are "BeChurbanan", wherein the Magen Avraham writes (in the beginning of Siman 561) that one who sees the cities of Yehudah in a state of Churban must perform Keri'ah, even though Jews are dwelling there, since the Nations are ruling over them, this is called Churban. So we see that the definition of "the cities of Yehudah Bevinyanan" is - at the time that they are under Jewish sovereignty. [Or else, when we have both components, when Jews dwell in them, and they are also under Jewish sovereignty]."

It would be of interest whether during the reign of Antiochus, the Jews tore Keri'ah over the cities of Yehudah or over Yerushalayim. If they did, then this would certainly be considered a "Churban", according to Rav Schachter's definition, and the rule of the Romans a "Churban Shelishi", which is an impossibility.

But if they did not, then this would mean one of two things:

a) They did not hold that Keriah on the cities of Yehudah/Yerushalayim depended on sovereignty, but rather on the existence of a Beis HaMikdash [see Be'Ikvei HaTzon pg. 105-108 for a discussion of this issue, wherein the Halachah is decided that regarding the cities of Yehudah, sovereignty is the key issue, (Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim IV:70:(11)) held that nowadays, while we have not yet been redeemed,* there is no Halachah of rending garments over the cities of Yehudah, since they are under Jewish sovereignty. Things may have changed in some cities since that Teshuvah was written in 5739) whereas regarding Yerushalayim, there is considerable debate, with Rav Soloveitchik of the opinion that it depends on having a Beis HaMikdash, whereas Rav Moshe Feinstein in the above Teshuvah places Yerushalayim in the same category as other cities of Yehudah. As an aside, R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach felt that since there are still structures of Avodah Zarah in Yerushalayim, Keriah is still warranted.]

b) They did not feel that there was a loss of sovereignty. However, this is very difficult to reconcile with the language of the Rambam in the beginning of Hilchos Chanukah:


א. בבית שני כשמלכו יון גזרו גזרות על ישראל ובטלו דתם ולא הניחו אותם לעסוק בתורה ובמצות. ופשטו ידם בממונם ובבנותיהם ונכנסו להיכל ופרצו בו פרצות וטמאו הטהרות. וצר להם לישראל מאד מפניהם ולחצום לחץ גדול עד שריחם עליהם אלהי אבותינו והושיעם מידם והצילם וגברו בני חשמונאי הכהנים הגדולים והרגום והושיעו ישראל מידם והעמידו מלך מן הכהנים וחזרה מלכות לישראל יתר על מאתים שנים עד החורבן השני

(This is the version of the Frankel Rambam. According to this version, it is explicit that there was Greek sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael at the time. Some others have "K'SheMalchei Yavan" in the first line. However, even if we were to accept this version, from the end of the Ramban it seems clear that prior to those "more than two hundred years", there was no Jewish sovereignty.)

[Another option, according to this version, is that the Rambam is speaking specifically about Malchus, "monarchy", not "sovereignty". However, one of the building blocks of Rav Schachter's analysis, as mentioned in Part I, is not to distinguish, from a sovereignty perspective, between the two.]

It is also worth noting that, at the end of that Halachah, the Rambam refers to the Roman conquest as "Churban HaSheini", despite his shifting of sovereignty from the Greeks to the Chashmonaim to the Romans.

It is possible that, according to the Rambam, there was no "Binyan" until the Chashmonaim, although this would be against the Ramban in Parshas BeChukosai, cited in Part I (which forms the basis of Rav Schachter's idea that "Churban" means loss of sovereignty) that the "Geulah" of this period occurred during the time of Ezra.
More likely, the term "Churban" in the Rambam here means the Churban of the Beis HaMikdash (as the "more than 200 years", or 206 to be precise, is the number given in Masseches Avodah Zarah 9a from the beginning of the rule of the Chashmonaim until the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, and that Gemara seems to be the source for this line in the Rambam). This is meant to be taken as the benchmark for the generic use of the term "Churban", as in the context of Galus and Geulah, not loss of sovereignty.
To be continued...
*One is tempted to speculate that Rav Moshe goes out of his way to include this in his Teshuva to Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt, who certainly was aware that the Moshiach had not arrived by 5739, as an explicit statement of disassociation between this Halachah and any component of the Geulah.

13 Comments:

Blogger chardal said...

That is not really a kashya for Rav Sachter. If autonomy is enough to count as atchalta deGeula, then that is something that was never lost during the entire period. The Jews still had autonomy during the period of Yavan and the chashmonaim just gave an extra 200 years of sovereignty ON TOP of the autonomy that would return under the Romans until it was lost completely.

So from the time of Ezra until the the loss of sovereignty under the Romans, there was no period of time when there was not some level of autonomy.

And the only time it has been restored since then is in the creation of Medinat Yisrael.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

Your approach doesn't work, for two reasons:
a) There is no way you can define religious presecution of the worst kind, with coerced defilement of daughters and of the Beis HaMikdash, as anything but a tyrannical regime over the Jews. It is less autonomous than the Palestinians in 1975.

b) Even if you could, it was certainly no better under the Greeks than the Jews in Palestine had it under the Ottomans.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be shocked either way and I think most Yeshivish Jews also wouldn't be shocked either way (this might be bias on my part, but [b]I think[/b] that some of the more left-wing Jews perceive the Yeshivish world as far more decidedly "not RTG" than we actually are). We do probably lean to the "not-RTG-side-but-it-still-might-be-(plese-G-d)" but if it does turn out to be RTG (please G-d), then it still turns out that we're right.

1:18 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

a) There is no way you can define religious presecution of the worst kind, with coerced defilement of daughters and of the Beis HaMikdash, as anything but a tyrannical regime over the Jews. It is less autonomous than the Palestinians in 1975.

Of course you can, just like the plishtim oppressing us during the era of the Shoftim does not count as a churban or galus, neither does this (at least for this sense, we do see the term galut used for this era in midrashei chazal)

b) Even if you could, it was certainly no better under the Greeks than the Jews in Palestine had it under the Ottomans.

That is not true, the Turks had total administrative control, the same was not true of the Greeks. They were certainly on their way to take away the autonomy, but the chashmonaim stopped them cold. If the autonomy of Ezra counts, than so does life under the Greeks.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

a) Under the Pelishtim etc. - at least there was always a centralized govt. of the Jews in the form of a Shofet. The Chashmonaim organized under the Greeks as a reaction.

Or else, sovereignty has nothing at all to do with it. Which is my point.

4:27 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

Or else, sovereignty has nothing at all to do with it. Which is my point.

There was no mikdash either at that point. So what was it?

5:57 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

The Mikdash, for which, clearly, the groundwork was laid by the returning exile and Ezra.

6:04 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

The Mikdash, for which, clearly, the groundwork was laid by the returning exile and Ezra.

clearly?? not according to the majority of Jews of the age.

Seriously, there is as much needing explanation in your pshat of churban/binyan being only in terms of the mikdash as there is in RHS's shita. You can find a teirutz for every kashya but I will probably not be happy with your kvetches and you will probably not be happy with mine.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

clearly?? not according to the majority of Jews of the age.

I believe Rav Soloveitchik holds that Kedushah Sheniya Lo Batla precisely because it was immediately linked to Kedushas HaMikdash.

Take the last word here. I'd really like to hear what other commenters have to say, if anything.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

See Arachin 13a that the Beis HaMikdash was built before Ezra even showed up! Of course the Geulah can be attributed to the building of the Beis HaMikdash! Where did you get the information that Ezra never saw the Beis HaMikdash???

11:45 PM  
Blogger chardal said...

You are right about Ezra. I don't know where I got the idea that he never got to see the temple.

I never said that the geula can not be attributed to the building of the temple. It can. I actually think that it is far more complicated than either your temple oriented definition or RHS's sovereignty centered one since each one in and of itself is an insufficient definition.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Steve Brizel said...

WADR, the simple pshat in the Rambam is that the Chashmonaim restored political independence via their monarchy for 200 years. Obviously, the Ramban in Parshas Yachi views the Hasmonean dynasty as having cast the seeds for its destruction, but the Rambam clearly states otherwise. I am sure that you have seen the piece in Harei Kedem in which RYBS is quoted as having pointed out that the Ramban's objections fall to the wayside because the Hasmoneans were the only group capable of exercising leasdership.

FWIW, I think that your view of the Shoftim is overly sanguine. A careful learning of that sefer reveals periods of calm followed by anarchy and AZ.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Bari said...

I made no claim to the contrary re the Chashmonaim. Please read what I wrote more carefully!

7:40 PM  

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