Friday, January 15, 2010

A reason for plague

With others citing gemaras as reasons for destruction, I thought I'd chime in with this one, from Yerushalmi Yevamot 49b:

שאלו את רבי אליעזר דור אחד עשר שבממזר מהו.  אמר להן הביאו לי דור שלישי ואני מטהרו.  ומה טעמא דרבי אליעזר דלא הוה אתייא דרבי ליעזר כר' חנינה דאמר רבי חנינה אחת לששים ולשבעים שנה הקדוש ברוך הוא מביא דבר בעולם ומכלה ממזיריהן ונוטל את הכשירין עמהן שלא לפרסם את חטאיהן.  ואייתינה כיי דמר רבי לוי בשם רבי שמעון בן לקיש (ויקרא ו) במקום אשר תשחט העולה תשחט החטאת לפני ה'.  שלא לפרסם את החטאים.

This presumably does not apply in this particular case in Haiti, of course, since mamzerus is only an issue among Israelites.

Update: Partly because some people (whose comments have since been deleted) make ill-informed assumptions, and partly because it would make a nice updated post, here is some clarification. People who have read this blog consistently know I am generally against randomly applying gemaras about sechar veonesh regarding tragedies to particular modern-day situations. I've made more than a few posts about this. And also, in the past, I've referenced a particular Yerushalmi which I said I would guess more than a few people would be uncomfortable with -- to claim that certain major national disasters are to wipe away all the bastards. I am not sure whether this would apply to non-Jews; there are reasons I think Yeranen Yaakov may be absolutely right, and that they were part of the target of the Yerushalmi. But I did not wish to seem to malign the Haitians, who are undergoing a tragedy at the moment, just to obliquely make a general point about our disconnect with the values of Chazal, or about ascribing reasons for tragedies. And so I put in that disclaimer.

1 comment:

yaak said...

Mamzeirut of Eishet Ish only applies to Jews, but other kinds of Mamzeirut would apply to non-Jews.
Just look at Amaleik's ancestry, and how Rashi classifies it.


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