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Megillah, Daf Yod Aleph, Part 6

 

Introduction

This section is actually on daf yod bet, but since it is basically a continuation of daf yod aleph I decided to include it this week.

It continues to deal with reckoning how long each Babylonian king ruled.

 

 

אמר רבא: אף דניאל טעה בהאי חושבנא, דכתיב +דניאל ט‘+ בשנת אחת למלכו אני דניאל בינתי בספרים, מדקאמר בינתימכלל דטעה.

 

Rava said: Daniel also made a mistake in this calculation, as it is written, "In the first year of his reign, I Daniel meditated in the books [etc.]" (Daniel 9:2). From his use of the words "I meditated," we can infer that he [at first] made a mistake.

 

Rava adds that even Daniel made a mistake in his calculation of the period of exile. This he detects from Daniel’s use of the word "I meditated." The word implies that Daniel made some mistakes and then "meditated" on them.

 

מכל מקום קשו קראי אהדדי; כתיב +ירמיהו כ"ט+ מלאת לבבל, וכתיב +דניאל ט‘+ לחרבות ירושלים! – אמר רבא: לפקידה בעלמא. והיינו דכתיב +עזרא א‘+ כה אמר כרש מלך פרס כל ממלכות הארץ נתן לי האלהי השמים והוא פקד עלי לבנות לו בית בירושלם.

 

In any case there is a contradiction between the texts. It is written [in one], "When there are accomplished for Babylon", (Jeremiah 29:10) and it is written [in the other], "For the desolations of Jerusalem?" (Daniel 9:2).

Rava answered: [The first verse] was for charging [pekidah] only, and this was fulfilled, as it is written, "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, "All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord, the God of the heavens, given to me, and he has charged [pakad] me to build him a house in Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:2).

 

There still remains a contradiction in the verses. The verse from Jeremiah implies that the 70 years should be counted from the first exile, that of Jechoniah, whereas the verse from Daniel implies that they should be counted from the destruction of Jerusalem.

Rava answers that the first verse refers to the date on which Cyrus will state that he was charged with rebuilding the Temple. This was fulfilled, as we can see in Ezra 1:2. The latter date referred to in Daniel refers to when the Temple was actually rebuilt.

 

דרש רב נחמן בר רב חסדא: מאי דכתיב +ישעיהו מ"ה+ כה אמר הלמשיחו לכורש אשר החזקתי בימינו, וכי כורש משיח היה? אלא אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשיח: קובל אני לך על כורש, אני אמרתי הוא יבנה ביתי ויקבץ גליותי. והוא אמר +עזרא א‘+ מי בכם מכל עמוויעל.

 

R. Nahman son of R. Hisda gave the following exposition. What is the meaning of the verse, "Thus says the Lord to his anointed to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held" (Isaiah 45:1). Now was Cyrus the Messiah? Rather what it means is this: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to the Messiah: I have a complaint on your behalf against Cyrus. I said, He shall build my house and gather my exiles, and he said, "Whosoever there is among you of all his people, let him go up" (Ezra 1:3).

 

R. Nahman b. Hisda’s derashah is brought here because it deals with Cyrus and the rebuilding of the Temple. Isaiah calls Cyrus the Messiah, which is strange because Messiah usually refers to an anointed king or, in rabbinic literature, to the eventual redeemer of Israel. Therefore, R. Nahman reinterprets the verse as if it is a complaint against Cyrus stated by God to the Messiah (the eventual redeemer). Cyrus had promised God that he himself would rebuild the Temple and lead the Jewish exiles back to Zion. However, in Ezra Cyrus tells the Jews to go back and rebuild the Temple themselves.