Wednesday, July 23, 2014

.י"ב Delayed Response?

שאלו תלמידיו את רשב"י מפני מה נתחייבו שונאיהן של ישראל שבאותו הדור כליה... אמר להם מפני שהשתחוו לצלם
רש"י ד"ה שהשתחוו לצלם. בימי נבוכדנצר:

As I have previously written in a פורים shtikle, there are two difficulties with this, both of which stem fro the simple historical fact that Nevuchadnezzar's reign was many decades before the story of Purim. As we know from the previous דף, Nevuchadnezzar reigned approximately 26 years after the חורבן. If they deserved to be destroyed, why did it take so long for this punishment to (almost) be meted out? Furthermore, this generation was not the one that sinned in the days of Nevuchadnezzar. Why does the גמרא list this as the reason why the Jews of that generation deserved to be destroyed?

I do not have a definite, clear approach to this but perhaps part of the answer may lie in the ensuing exchange:
אמרו לו וכי משוא פנים יש בדבר אמר להם הם לא עשו אלא לפנים אף הקב"ה לא עשה עמהן אלא לפנים
While רש"י explains they were asking why they merited the miracle and being saved from the evil decree, perhaps they were also asking why the punishment was so delayed. Perhaps the Jews in the time of Nevuchadnezzar were excused due to the extreme duress and circumstances of their transgressions. As the story of the מגילה begins, the Jews were certainly enjoying more relaxed treatment and perhaps they were not showing an adequate desire to abandon the practices of the previous generation.

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