Sunday, July 27, 2008

Romans; More Preferable than the Persians

Rabbah bar bar Chanah (Daf Yomi: Gittin 16b - 17a) was once ill, and Rav Yehudah and Rabbah went to inquire on his health. While they were there, they asked him the following question: If two agents bring a get from abroad, are they required to declare that it was written and signed in their presence, or not? He replied: They are not required, for would they not be believed to testify that this woman was divorced in their presence (and it would not be necessary for the woman to produce the get)? In the meantime, a Persian man came in and took away their lamp (for that day was one of their holidays, and it was forbidden to light a candle except in their temples). Rabbah bar bar Chanah exclaimed: All Merciful One! Either hide us in Your shadow or in the shadow of the son of Esav (for they respect us)!

The Maharam Schiff explains: The Romans (descendants of Esav) oppress the Jewish people only when Klal Yisroel shirk the yoke of Torah from themselves.

The Medrash states that this is actually what Yitzchak told Esav: If Yaakov’s descendants cast off the yoke of Torah, then your descendants could decree destruction upon them and subjugate them. However, if Yaakov’s children remain devoted to Torah, Esav would have no control over them.

It emerges that it is preferable for the Jewish people to be amidst the children of Esav, for then, Klal Yisroel is in control of their own destiny.