Thursday, August 21, 2003


Egyptians (in Switzerland) suing Jews for 'stealing' the gold during Exodus.

Seems awfully familiar.
Perhaps they should read Sanhedrin 91a: This case has already been tried and lost.

has a paraphrase, not exact translation:
"When Alexander the Great ruled the world some 2,500 years ago he allowed the Jews to remain in Israel.

But it wasn't long before the other nations sent delegations to him to demand that he change his mind.

The Africans said "Israel is called the Land of Canaan (Num. 34) and Canaan was our relative! The land belongs to us!"

The Egyptians quoted Exodus 12:35 "The Jews robbed us of all our wealth when they left Egypt with Moses, we demand repayment."

The Arabs said "It says clearly in the Torah 'these are the generations of Ishmael the son of Abraham' (our section 25:12) as well as "These are the generations of Isaac ben Abraham" (25:19) We also have as much a right to the land as they do.

Alexander did not know what to answer. After all, each of them brought impressive proofs from the Torah and even he knew that the Torah is the source of truth. So he called on the Rabbi's to rebut their claims.

The Rabbi's were also in a quandary. If they answered in a way that Alexander didn't appreciate it could mean big trouble. But a simple, hunchbacked Jew called G'via ben P'sisa solved the problem.

"Let me try to reply" he said. "If I don't succeed then just say that I was an impetuous simpleton. But if I win, you can say that despite my ignorance the Torah was victorious."

The Rabbis agreed, G'via presented himself in Alexander's court and the debate began.

He calmly heard their claims stood up and immediately replied.

To the Africans he said. "If you rely on the Torah so will I. In Genesis 9:27 Canaan is called a slave and a slave has no possessions of his own. In other words, you have no claim to anything! And certainly not the holy land!"

Alexander gave the Africans three days to reply and when they realized they couldn't, they ran away in fear and shame.

To the Egyptians he said. "You claim that we Jews owe you money? It says in the Torah that over 600,000 of us, not counting the women and children, served you at hard labor for four hundred and twenty years! If you reckon it out I think you owe us much more than we took."

Alexander also gave them three days to come up with something and when they realized they couldn't, they too disappeared.

Finally (and this is what is relevant to us) he answered the Arabs. "True your ancestor was the son of Abraham. But none the less the Torah tells us (our section 25:5) "Abraham gave EVERYTHING he had to Isaac!"

Alexander gave them three days to reply and they too used the time to make their getaway.

The land of Israel remained in the hands of the Jews."

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