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A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Proof of God based on Claim of Prophecy of Nazis in the Talmud

The claim is made that the Talmud's Megilah 6a-b commentary of Psalm  140:9, predicts Nazi Germany could 'break out' and conquer the world. The claim is then made this is proof of prophecy.

Here are the passages:

Psalms140:9 O Lord, do not grant the desires of the wicked; do not let his thoughts succeed, for they are constantly haughty.

Megilah 6a

R. Isaac also said: What is meant by the verse, Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked, draw not out his bit,43 so that they exalt themselves, selah?44 Jacob said before the Holy One, blessed be
He: Sovereign of the Universe, grant not to Esau the wicked the desire of his heart, draw not out his bit:

(43) E.V., ‘further not his evil device’.
(44) Ps, CXL, 9

Talmud - Mas. Megilah 6b
this refers to Germamia of Edom,1 for should they but go forth they would destroy the whole world. R. Hama b. Hanina said: There are three hundred crowned heads in Germamia of Edom and three
hundred and sixty-five chieftains in Rome,2 and every day one set go forth to meet the other and one of them is killed, and they have all the trouble of appointing a king again.

(1) There was another Germamia which was probably the land of the Cimmerians. [Rieger, P. (MGWJ. LXXX, p. 455) identifies it with Carminia, the Persian Kerman.]
(2) This word seems to be an interpolation

I am loss to see how this is a proof of prophecy.

Recall the Talmud equates an Esau son with Rome, see an example at end of post.

Germamia of Edom - is the Roman province of Germania per Jastrow's Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrash. We know  the Talmud authors were aware of Roman expansion goals, German provinces of Rome and the problems Rome was having with the Germanic tribes.  It was current events for many of them. The German tribes were acting as the good guys - a 'bit', a restraint on Roman expansion. 

The Talmud authors retroactively read into the Psalms the conflict they were aware of first hand. It is not about Nazi Germany whatsoever. Besides, for us to accept a prophecy as a proof we need to have knowledge of when the prediction was made, when the prediction says the event would occur, clear meaning of what is being predicted etc: etc: None of this is provided or available in the 'proof'. 

Also, Psalms 140:9 is not making a prophecy, and could  be referring to just about any wicked country.

To make this more understandable I have added country names to the Talmud tracts.

Megilah 6a

R. Isaac also said: What is meant by the verse, Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked, draw not out his bit, so that they exalt themselves, selah? Jacob said before the Holy One, blessed be
He: Sovereign of the Universe, grant not to Esau [meaning Rome] the wicked the desire of his heart, draw not out his
bit [the resisting German tribes]:

Mas. Megilah 6b
this refers to Germamia of Edom, for should they [Rome] but go forth they would destroy the whole world. R. Hama b. Hanina said: There are three hundred crowned heads in Germamia of Edom and three hundred and sixty-five chieftains in Rome, and every day one set go forth to meet the other and one of them is killed, and they have all the trouble of appointing a king again.

The Talmud never claims or implies that the Talmud itself  is  making a prophecy. (However, some modern Rabbis such as those using the proof advocate that Talmud is in effect prophesying).  Rather the Talmud is  interpreting Psalm 140:9 to apply to a certain conflict.  But Psalm 140:9 is so vague as to apply to just about any wicked desires and of any country and so in no way can it be suggested as proof of a prophecy

I am now going to offer a novel reading of my own. Recall another name for Jacob is Israel. So read Megila 6a as a literal statement. i.e. Israel during the Rome-German conflict is praying, pleading to the Lord to keep Rome restrained, with the hope of Rome's eventual demise.
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{ETA 1/12/2015 

Talmud Yoma 10A
Rab said: Persia will fall into the hands of Rome

Lets suppose this did occur. 
The prophecy does not specify when it will occur. 
The chance it could occur increases greatly if the date of the event is not provided.
Even if it did occur it would be not be an extraordinary prophecy.  Could just be a lucky guess.

R. Judah b. Ila'i, said: Rome is
designed to fall into the hands of Persia

Lets suppose this did occur. 
The prophecy does not specify when it will occur.
The chance it could occur increases greatly if the date of the event is not provided.
Even if it did occur it would be not be an extraordinary prophecy.  Could just be a lucky guess.

Notice almost all basis are covered between the two 'predictions'. A third prediction is neither would occur.


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Related post Proof of God From Prophecy 

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Talmudic sample support that equates Rome with an Esau's son 

Talmud - Mas. Gittin 17a
....and took away their lamp;1 whereupon Rabbah b. Bar Hanah ejaculated: ‘O All Merciful One! either
in Thy shadow or in the shadow of the son of Esau!’2

(2) I.e., the Roman Empire

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