Was Rabbi Hillel a Heretic?

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There is a surprising statement in the Talmud that, at least initially, denies one of the fundamental principles of Jewish faith. The question, though, is what did the statement mean?

Sanhedrin (99a):

Rabbi Hillel said: There is no messiah for Israel for he was consumed in the time of Chizkyahu. Rav Yosef said: May Rabbi Hillel’s Master forgive him. Chizkiyahu lived during the First Temple while Zechariah prophecied during the Second Temple.

Who is this Rabbi Hillel? R. Aharon Hyman (Toledos Tanna’im Ve-Amora’m, vol. 1 pp. 362-375) lists 14 different people named Hillel who appear in the Talmud. He attributes this statement to Hillel II (late second century), grandson of R. Yehudah Ha-Nasi and younger brother of R. Yehudah Nesi’ah I. It seems from the Gemara that Rabbi Hillel accepted the concept of a messiah but limited it to a time period that had already passed, to which Rav Yosef pointed out the Zechariah’s prophecies of a future redemption seemed to disprove.

What did R. Hillel mean and how could he deny Zechariah’s prophecies?

  1. Rashi (ad loc.) explains that R. Hillel accepted the concept of a future redemption but merely held that there will be no individual who will bring that redemption. Rather, God will do it without a human messenger. If so, the debate with Rav Yosef was about whether Zechariah’s prophecies necessarily entail a messiah or can be understood as foreseeing a redemption by God alone. R. Ya’akov Ibn Chaviv, in his introduction to Ein Ya’akov, and the Maharal (Chiddushei Aggadah, ad loc.) follow this approach.
  2. R. Moshe Ha-Levi Abulafia (Yad Ramah, ad loc.) begins by suggesting that R. Hillel denied any redemption but then said that some explain that R. Hillel was only denying the person of the messiah (like Rashi), which he disputes. According to R. Abulafia, it is unclear how R. Hillel understood the prophecies of Zechariah.
  3. Rabbenu David Bonfil, a student of the Ramban, explains in his commentary to Sanhedrin (ad loc.) that R. Hillel was saying that we will go straight to the period of the World-to-Come and skip the period of redemption known as the Messianic Era, in which there will be battles and the messiah will rule as king until the dead are resurrected (this follows the Ramban’s views and not the Rambam’s). He is not denying the coming of the messiah but stating that the process of redemption will be condensed. Presumably, R. Hillel believed that Zechariah’s prophecies can be interpreted as referring to the World-to-Come.
  4. R. Yosef Albo (Sefer Ha-Ikkarim 1:1) suggests that R. Hillel was not denying that the messiah will come; he fully believed in it based on a tradition. Rather, he was saying that there is no proof for this belief from the Bible. R. Albo then rebuts this explanation and explains that R. Hillel denied the concept of the messiah. However, he was not a heretic because he accepted the bare minimum of beliefs (God, Torah and Reward & Punishment) and only mistakenly rejected this. The Radbaz (Responsa 4:186) takes this same general approach. It is unclear, according to this approach, how R. Hillel understood Zechariah’s prophecies.
  5. R. Avraham Chaim Schorr (Toras Chaim, ad loc.) seems to explain that R. Hillel believed in a messianic redemption but that it will occur without miracles, because all of the miracles already occurred. Rav Yosef argued that Zechairah prophesied miracles and therefore they must happen. The dispute, then, was over the interpretation of Zechariah’s prophecies.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student recently served on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

2 comments

  1. yaak 06/04/2010 01:09 AM
    Ben Yehoyada says that he’s referring to Mashiah Ben Yosef with Rav Yosef misinterpreting his intent.

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14
    ———-
    Noch einer 06/04/2010 01:18 AM
    Isn’t the Chasam Sofer’s famous tshuva germane here?
    ———-
    Nachum 06/04/2010 01:29 AM
    1 person liked this.
    I’m confused over your identification:

    Yehuda Nesiah I (i.e., Yehuda II, grandson of Yehuda HaNasi) lived in the mid-third century. Yehuda Nesiah II (i.e., Yehuda III) lived in the early fourth century. Hillel II was his son, who lived in the mid-fourth century (i.e., 350) and was famous for fixing the calendar.

    The dates are important- reading Chelek, it seems that, l’havdil, like the very early Christians who believed that Jesus’ return was right around the corner, post-Churban Chazal believed that Mashiach would be no more than a century or so in coming. Then (all in the lifetime of Hillel II!) Rome went Christian; then Julian gave permission to rebuild the Mikdash, there was euphoria, he died, Christianity and persecution of Jews returned, the Sanhedrin was pretty much dissolved (it would limp along, perhaps, until the mid-fifth century), and Jews’ outlook became a bit more jaded. If this is the Hillel in question, it may not be a pleasant thought, but he may well have been denying a redemption at all.

    I’d prefer not to think so, as the five possibilities listed here fit better with my point of view, especially how the last century or so has proven beyond a doubt the possibility (and, to an extent, reality) of redemption without a Messiah.

    Regarding #4, I think you mean “God/Creation, Torah, Reward/Punishment” as Albo’s “big three.” The last often includes Redemption, but perhaps (according to this) need not.

    Regarding #3, note that the Rambam himself says that no one knows the actual timeline or details. R’ Saadiah makes a similar point about Techiyat HaMaytim. One could then apply this to Zechariah.

    As it happens, the Nevi’im of Zechariah’s era seemed to have thought that *they* were living the process. Zechariah (at least in parts) addresses Zerubavel as Mashiach. Artscroll et. al. do a great disservice when describing the end of Yechezkel as “The Third Bet HaMikdash.” Yechezkel didn’t know from a *Second* Bayit, so how could he have been discussing a Third? He clearly meant to be describing the Second and (in his mind) final Mikdash and Commonwealth in his Nevuah. (The same goes for the alleged statement of the Gra about the Churva. The Gra didn’t know from the Churva.) Ditto many Nevi’im, and many ma’amerei Chazal for that matter. (As for us, some suggest we’re awaiting the fourth or even fifth Mikdash.)

    As for me, I find it far easier to envision a Geulah without a personal Messiah than with. But that’s me. Halevai it should come soon and we’ll see what it is.
    ———-
    josh 06/04/2010 01:51 AM
    Nachum is correct.
    Hillel II was patriarch during the time of Julian the Apostate and the attempt to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
    ———-
    David Tzohar 06/04/2010 04:46 AM
    Anaf Yosef -Ain Ya’akov 81B “Anyone who quotes Rabi Hillel to say there will be no Mashiach is “Kofer b’chlal ha Torah” see Chatam Sofer Ressponsa 255 who expands on this theme.
    ———-
    Mordechai Tzion 06/04/2010 07:25 AM
    See the Radvaz (vol. 4 #187) who writes that even a Torah scholar who errs should not be shamed. His proof is from Rabbi Hillel said that the Messiah will not come. Rav Yosef said: May Hashem forgive his sin and he brought proofs. Rav Yosef spoke to him in the third person with honor, and said that he erred and should be forgiven, because the damage done by shaming him would be much worse than the damage done by him saying that the Messiah will not come!

    What an amazing lesson from the times we live in!
    ———-
    Nachum 06/04/2010 07:41 AM
    1 person liked this.
    Better than discussing whether he was a heretic would be discussing whether he (as interpreted by Gil’s sources) was right. History seems to be leaning in that direction.

    They called Galileo a heretic and made him recant, and the Earth (as he is said to have muttered, perhaps apocryphally) kept on spinning around the sun.
    ———-
    efrex 06/04/2010 08:40 AM
    1 person liked this.
    There is a surprising statement in the Talmud that, at least initially, denies one of the fundamental principles of Jewish faith

    Of course, you mean “denies one of Rambam’s fundamental principles of Jewish faith,” not necessarily the same thing at all…
    ———-
    Skeptic 06/04/2010 09:07 AM
    See also Bnei Banim 4:26

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20023&
    ———-
    Shlomo 06/04/2010 09:16 AM in reply to Nachum
    , and Jews’ outlook became a bit more jaded. If this is the Hillel in question, it may not be a pleasant thought, but he may well have been denying a redemption at all.

    I wonder what RHS would say about an analysis like this in which Chazal’s theological conclusions are so heavily dependent on their political fortunes.

    As it happens, the Nevi’im of Zechariah’s era seemed to have thought that *they* were living the process. Zechariah (at least in parts) addresses Zerubavel as Mashiach.

    To be called “mashiach” in Tanach, you just have to be a king. Even kings of non-Jewish states are called mashiach (i.e. Koresh). The word just means “anointed” after all, and all kings were anointed. Zechariah and other prophets said that bayit sheni might LATER reach “messianic” status, and might not, depending on the righteousness of the Jews at the time. (As we know, it didn’t.)

    Artscroll et. al. do a great disservice when describing the end of Yechezkel as “The Third Bet HaMikdash.” Yechezkel didn’t know from a *Second* Bayit, so how could he have been discussing a Third?

    Yechezkel mentioned things that were not true with regard to bayit sheni. Either he was talking about bayit shlishi, or he was a false prophet, and I prefer the former option.

    Of course Yechezkel did not call bayit shlishi by the name “bayit shlishi”. We have no way of knowing whether God told him about the destruction of bayit sheni, and thus, that the Temple at the time of redemption would be the third one overall. But he was most certainly talking about the Temple at the time of redemption, not an earlier one. In retrospect, we know the Temple of redemption is the third one.

    In short, Artscroll’s description is correct in explaining the meaning of the passage, but possibly misleading in describing Yechezkel’s mind. I think the first aspect is more crucial for a reader.
    ———-
    mycroft 06/04/2010 09:30 AM in reply to efrex
    Very important-just because we have a song -Yigdal based on Rambams principles-doesn’t mean he is correct-our system requires acceptance ofthe halachik process, a revelation from Sinai and thats about it. Obviously, some things flow from that eg RYBS-a olam haemet because otherwise how could a just God have this world.. Certainly according to the Ravad gadol miharambam believed in a corporeal God.
    ———-
    hirhurim 06/04/2010 09:37 AM in reply to Nachum
    R. Yehudah Nessiah I died around the year 230. He lived from the end of the second century into the beginning of the third, as did his younger brother Hillel. This is the same Hillel who learned directly from R. Yehudah HaNassi (Bava Basra 83b).

    Rav Yosef died about 40 years before Julian the Apostate became emperor (ca. 323 vs. 361). It’s impossible for the Hillel under discussion to have been a contemporary of Julian
    ———-
    hirhurim 06/04/2010 09:39 AM in reply to Noch einer
    IIRC the Chasam Sofer follows R. Yosef Albo.
    ———-
    YC 06/04/2010 10:07 AM in reply to Shlomo
    re Either (Yechezkel) he was talking about bayit shlishi, or he was a false prophet

    Thankfully there are more options than that
    ———-
    Nachum 06/04/2010 10:14 AM
    “Yigdal based on Rambams”

    Interestingly, neither Yigdal nor the Ani Ma’amins match the Rambam’s actual formulation in all places. See the seventh line in Yigdal for a glaring example of this (it has zero to do with the Rambam).

    Gil: Ah, so it’s a different Hillel, not Hillel II. OK.
    ———-
    PHXDAZ 06/04/2010 11:07 AM
    1 person liked this.
    Can you spell A-N-A-C-H-R-O-N-I-S-M? The “principles of faith” were not yet invented!
    I recommend an article by Jacob Petuchowski entitled “Messianic Dialectics in Judaism” in which this Gemara raises its head. I also suggest reading all 10 or so daf in Sanhedrin on the Messiah…clearly they were just beginning to work out their idea of the messiah.
    ———-
    YC 06/04/2010 11:14 AM in reply to PHXDAZ
    rambam hilchot melachim 12:2

    Rambam does not think anyone has or will “work out their idea of the messiah” until it happens. Can they try to learn verses yes, but beyond that….
    ———-
    MiMedinat HaYam 06/04/2010 11:21 AM in reply to Nachum
    see here http://hebrewbooks.org/943 (page 15 of the pdf) re the ani maamin’s.

    note r preil was an early rosh yeshiva at riets.
    ———-
    hirhurim 06/04/2010 11:54 AM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=943&st
    ———-
    hirhurim 06/04/2010 11:54 AM in reply to PHXDAZ
    You’re taking your theology from Reform scholars???
    ———-
    Elon 06/04/2010 12:09 PM
    From can tell both Bircat Hamazon and the Shemonah Esrei strongly hint towards a belief in a messiah, and both were written sometime during the Tannaic Era, so it is not just the Rambam who mentions the idea as a central tenet of Judaism.
    ———-
    ruvie 06/04/2010 12:41 PM in reply to Elon
    a strong hint doesn’t equate to a central tent of judaism at that time (though it may have been a belief or at least a hope by most if not all). your proof is wanting.
    ———-
    ruvie 06/04/2010 12:47 PM in reply to hirhurim
    did r. yehudah live at the same time as rav joseph and the same place?

    its interesting how the focus is trying to explain r. yehudah. nobody questions what rav joseph believed in or whether he was an extremist like it appears r. yehudah (it seems r. yehudah had an extreme view that needs to be explain/whitewashed/made more kosher.).
    ———-
    YC 06/04/2010 12:59 PM in reply to ruvie
    This is not difficult

    First minsha in Chelek re Tichiyas Hamesim. Unless your believe God will bring them back any ol’ time, I am free this Sunday. And this week is great as it will Gaza out of the news
    ———-
    mycroft 06/04/2010 02:11 PM in reply to Nachum
    There are different versions of Yigdal-if I recall correctly Elbogen refers to various different versions even incluiding one of 14- verses
    ———-
    mycroft 06/04/2010 02:15 PM in reply to hirhurim
    Are we talking chochma or Torah-yesh chochma bagoyim a fortiori in rholars-talking about the history of ideas is not the same as discussing what Halacha is.
    I used a Jastrow in Yeshiva-dating myself maybe-no one prohibited based on his hashkafa.
    ———-
    Jerry 06/04/2010 02:30 PM
    “I wonder what RHS would say about an analysis like this in which Chazal’s theological conclusions are so heavily dependent on their political fortunes.”

    Probably disagree, maybe agree. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. It would be the opinion of someone whose bekius (pele’dik, to be sure) lies in areas other than history and theology.

    “To be called “mashiach” in Tanach, you just have to be a king.”

    Not true. See VaYikra 4:3 and Yeshaya 61:1 (two of many examples), and report back.

    “Yechezkel mentioned things that were not true with regard to bayit sheni.”

    Yeshaya mentions an invasion of Egypt by the Assyrians that never occurred, yet one cannot dispute that the reference to everything else in that context is to the Assyrian invasion of the Levant. The explanation in Yeshaya’s case is simple: Nevi’im are not preemptive historians (i.e. people whose function is to write down history books before anyone else could). The expectation that they serve in this role is not particularly “Artscrollian,” but Artscroll does help perpetuate a version of this belief amongst am ha’aratzim. Nevi’im are spiritual commentators whose narrative is crafted to convey Hashem’s interpretation of the course of history, and Hashem’s wishes for His People’s behavior. Sometimes Nevi’im make historical predictions, but other times things that look like historical predictions are not.

    These are very complex issues, but just note that one of the reasons for dating Daniel to the Hasmonean period (i.e. 164 BCE), which Rabbi Shnayer Leiman does along with the majority of scholars, is because it is at this point that the historical predictions in Daniel begin to be incorrect. Does that mean that Daniel isn’t nevuah? No. We just need to reformulate our understanding of what Daniel is doing in that section of the Sefer. This is the sort of exercise in which Gil engages all the time (e.g. in this post).
    ———-
    Jerry 06/04/2010 02:39 PM in reply to Shlomo
    “Yechezkel mentioned things that were not true with regard to bayit sheni.”

    By the way, see Rashi on Zevachim 59b (s.v. “V’ne’emar L’halan Ravu’a”), where Rashi presents two possibilities regarding the end of Yechezkel (which from the context could either be Yechezkel 43, or much more likely Yechezkel 40-48 in general): Either Yechezkel was prophesying about Bayis Sheni, or about the Future Bayis. He doesn’t decide either way.

    For what it’s worth, Moshe Greenberg argued in “Idealism and Practicality in Numbers 35:4-5 and Ezekiel 48” in JAOS 88:1 (1968) that contrary to the view of many scholars, the schema in Yechezkel is not utopian or fantastical, but reasonably practical. This doesn’t mean that Yechezkel wasn’t referring to the Yemos HaMoshiach, but it does mean that we can’t necessarily rule out the non Messianic era.

    (And before those who read this article jump on me for citing an article with the underlying views that it has about the nature of Tanach, remember that Rabbi Leiman, his student, called him “Mori ve-Rebbe be-Hokhma u-va-Midot,” so just because you don’t agree with him about everything (even very important things) is no reason not to read him).
    ———-
    YC 06/04/2010 03:29 PM
    Hayyim Angel dealt with the issue of Rambam v Tos & Malbim regarding a good prophecy if it HAD to happen or it SHOULD happen

    http://jbq.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/371/3

    Seems like R Hillel prefers Rambam but impossible to say since rishonim dont seems to understand him for what he actually says (except Yad Rama)
    (Yes I know that last point is anachronistic)
    ———-
    Y. Aharon 06/04/2010 03:37 PM
    The various rationalizations given for the apparent denial of a future messianic king by the Amora, Hillel, don’t ring true to me. He was referring to a real king like Hezekiah and proclaimed that such a figure will never arise again. Rav Yosef easily refuted his contention by citing the prophesy of Zechariah about a very wise and powerful messianic king of the Davidic lineage. Zechariah lived about a century after Hezekiah. Rav Yosef didn’t call Hillel’s statement heresy, only totally erroneous. He didn’t even use that other put-down in the Bavli, “zil k’ri bei rav” (go back to school!). Such uncharacteristic mild treatment lends support to the idea that Hillel was a Nasi (Patriarch) in Judea. If he, indeed, lived during the times of the Roman emperor, Julian – the anti-Christian son of Constantine, he may well have wished to deflate the expectations of his people that the redemption was iminent. As it turned out, Julian’s project to rebuild the temple was quickly abandoned after an earthquake. One could speculate that a, possibly, unconscious motive may have also been to waylay the idea that the Patriarchate would soon be abandoned in favor of the Babylonian exilarch who was patrilinearly descended from the David royal line.
    ———-
    ruvie 06/04/2010 04:06 PM in reply to YC
    do you think that r. yehudah didn’t believe in tichiyat hamatim? if the gemera felt that way i am sure he would have been called a min or at least a kofer.
    ———-
    YC 06/04/2010 04:17 PM in reply to ruvie
    Ruvie,
    I am sorry, which statement of R Yehuda are you referring to
    ———-
    ruvie 06/04/2010 04:21 PM in reply to YC
    i apologize… i meant r. hillel in the original qoute in the post… thats what happens when one is cooking for shabbat with 3 ovens going and a fry pan… burnt food and bad posts.
    ———-
    guest 06/04/2010 04:26 PM
    Nachum: what are you counting as the seventh line of yigdal?
    ———-
    YC 06/04/2010 04:27 PM in reply to ruvie
    Ruvie, no problem
    I have no idea what R Hillel said but R Yosef said he was wrong and everyone seems to say he did not mean what he said

    Your point re tichiyat hamatim is a good one and perhaps another reason no one says: I take R Hillel literally and it is an acceptable shitah (even if they disagree)
    ———-
    martinlbrody 06/04/2010 04:28 PM in reply to Nachum
    “Artscroll et. al. do a great disservice when describing the end of Yechezkel as “The Third Bet HaMikdash.”

    Indeed
    I have been asking for years, unsuccessfully, what or where is the source of a “Third and final Temple”.

    Chazal had a least 2 opportunities to rebuild the Temple but didn’t for a variety of reasons. Hadrian and Julian both supported it.
    ———-
    ruvie 06/04/2010 04:35 PM in reply to YC
    agree… i assume that r. hillel lived in israel and i think we know that rav yosef was a babylonian amora. so the give and take is interesting (did they live a t the same time?)

    what nobody looked at – in the posts – is what else is rav yosef known for on the masiach? it seems he was a little extreme as well – a messianist (maybe an early lubav) see bavli senhadrin 97b[looking for messinic scrolls – ]
    ———-
    Jerry 06/04/2010 05:06 PM in reply to Shlomo
    “I wonder what RHS would say about an analysis like this in which Chazal’s theological conclusions are so heavily dependent on their political fortunes.”

    Come to think of it, he might direct you to Rabbi Dr. David Berger’s classic article on messianic typologies: “Three Typological Themes in Early Jewish Messianism: Messiah Son of Joseph, Rabbinic Calculations, and the Figure of Armilus” in the AJS Review. He might specifically advise you to read pages 141-148 where Berger discusses how the tradition of the Moshiach ben Yosef developed in response to typological concerns that arose as a result of reactions to the Bar Kochva Revolt (and the changes that Chazal therefore made to the story of the Benei Ephraim who prematurely ascended to Israel).
    ———-
    hirhurim 06/05/2010 01:39 AM in reply to Nachum
    R. Yehudah Nessiah I died around the year 230. He lived from the end of the second century into the beginning of the third, as did his younger brother Hillel. This is the same Hillel who learned directly from R. Yehudah HaNassi (Bava Basra 83b).

    Rav Yosef died about 40 years before Julian the Apostate became emperor (appr. 323 vs. 361). It’s impossible for the Hillel under discussion to have been a contemporary of Julian.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
    ———-
    Nachum 06/05/2010 05:28 PM
    OK, Gil, it’s just that in your original post you called him “Hillel II.” Hillel II was a patriarch who lived much later.

    guest, I meant the fifth line of Yigdal.

    Ruvie, techiyat hamaytim is not Mashiach, so we have no way of knowing what he felt.
    ———-
    Jerry 06/05/2010 09:54 PM in reply to Nachum
    I think what happened is that when Gil wrote “Hillel II” he meant the second sage identified by that name, i.e. Hillel, the son of Rabban Gamliel III and brother of Yehuda Nesiah I. He may not have realized, or just forgot that “Hillel II” actually refers to the third sage by that name, namely, the Nasi of the mid-4th century and son of Yehuda Nesiah II.
    ———-
    Nachum 06/06/2010 01:27 AM
    1 person liked this.
    Fair enough.

    I’d like to stress once more that “heretic” or not, history certainly has weighed in on his side.

    Re: Daniel. This is certainly an issue for the second half of Yishaya (i.e., his using an actual historical name) as well.
    ———-
    guest 06/06/2010 01:38 AM in reply to Nachum
    nu, nu. (at least the fifth makes some sense here) – its a poem…
    ———-
    Nachum 06/06/2010 05:44 AM
    Sure. It’s just not what the Rambam wrote.
    ———-
    YC 06/06/2010 11:23 AM in reply to hirhurim
    Gil,
    In you book “Can the Rebbe be Moshiach?”page 99
    ———-
    hirhurim 06/06/2010 11:33 AM in reply to YC
    Yes, but in understanding R. Hillel he follows R. Yosef Albo.
    ———-
    PHXDAZ 06/06/2010 07:28 PM in reply to hirhurim
    1 person liked this.
    I take wisdom from wise people…
    ———-
    COJ 06/06/2010 11:11 PM in reply to hirhurim
    R. Yehuda Nessiah I died in 270 CE not 230 CE. He was the Nasi between 230-270 CE. Julian the Apostate was born in 331/332 CE and was absolute ruler of the Roman Empire only for 19 months between 36-363 CE.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 06/08/2010 05:53 PM in reply to Nachum
    Nachum-don’t Chazal in Yoma clearly understand based on the relevant verses in Yechezkel that Bayit Sheni was at best a poor comparison with Bayit Rishon, and thus the concept of Bayit Shlishi is at least consequently implied ? Didn’t R Herzog ZL respond to the fact that the Brisker Rav ZL was worried about the Nazis being on the edge of EY prior to the British victory at El Alamein by pointing to the fat that Klal Yisrael sustained two Churbanos,, but there was no basis for a third occurring? Please provide some textual bases for the concept of a fourth or fifth Mikdash.
    ———-
    Nachum 06/09/2010 02:24 AM
    Steve- all true. I’m just talking from Yechezkel’s (and Zechariah’s) perspective. They had no reason to think things wouldn’t be good in the Second Commonwealth. (And there were some good moments, I suppose.) Certainly the navi and gemara both say that the second Bayit was better, at least in some ways (length of time, beauty) than the first.

    Re: Fourth and Fifth: Herod’s Temple is sometimes called the “third” since it was essentially a new building. And there are those who claim that Bar Kochba built one, however rough, when he was in control. (It wouldn’t make sense for him not to.) Hence, four or five.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 06/09/2010 09:57 AM in reply to Nachum
    True, but Chazal say that the old timers who returned from Bavel and had seen Bayis Rishon viewed Bayis Sheni as missing much of the unique Klei HaMikdash of Bayis Rishon. All of the Herodian improvements did not change that fact.
    ———-
    Nachum 06/09/2010 05:18 PM
    First, that has nothing to do with my point. Numbers are numbers, and the Gemara is the Gemara, and the nevuah is the nevuah. And Sanhedrin says that “Acharon” in the Nevuah here means “second,” not “last.”

    Second, it’s not Chazal, it’s a b’freush pasuk in Tanach (Sefer Ezra). And it wasn’t anything to do with Klei HaMikdash but the appearance of the Mikdash, which, of course, Herod (and likely many before him) did a lot to improve.
    ———-
    guest 06/09/2010 08:51 PM
    Sorry if this was already mentioned, but the Radvaz (brought down in Rabbi Henkin’s Benei Banim) says that R’ Hillel was not an apikurus because he had good intentions and his honest quest for the peshat brought him to that conclusion.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 06/10/2010 11:53 AM in reply to Nachum
    Doesn’t the Pasuk as understood by Chazal in Yoma refer to the four or five elements of Bayis Rishon that were noticeably absent from Bayis Sheni such as Urim VTumim. etc ?
    ———-
    Nachum 06/11/2010 01:45 AM
    Pirkei Avot lists ten. Ein Hachi Nami. There were apparently ups and downs in both eras. (For one, the people weren’t worshiping idols and offering on bamot in the Second Bayit era.)

  2. The Chasam Sofer (when I found it) is the last teshuva in Yoreh De’ah – Siman 356.

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