Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Parshas Toldos 5778

We know based on the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in the Book of Daniel, that there are four eras of exile. Chazal equates these four eras to Babylon, Persia and Media, Greece and Rome. This is followed in the end of days by Rome and Ishmael. However, Rome is equated with the nation of Edom. This is somewhat problematic since it is clear from later in the Torah, that Edom was located to the south east of the Land of Canaan, to the east of the Dead Sea.

There are two possible ways to answer this:
1. Several Midrashim cite the fact that small groups of Edomites left their original place and traveled across the sea to settle in Italy. There they mixed with the existing populate and eventually created Rome. In particular, Tzafo, the grandson of Esau, is cited as becoming one of the kings of what was to become Rome.
2. Another way to answer is that this is not necessarily referring to the ethnicity of the nations but their culture, religion and customs, which where transferred to Rome at some point.

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