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Monday, December 2

The Weekly Shtikle - Chanukah

This evening, I was explaining the various historical episodes referenced in Maoz Tzur when it occurred to me that there is a chronological anomaly in the order of the verses. The third stanza relates the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash and the crowning of Zerubavel after 70 years of exile (which is of course also referenced in the haftarah we read on Shabbos.) However, the next stanza summarizes the story of Purim which, of course, predated the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash. 

I thought an answer to this quandary might lie in a recent gemara from Daf Yomi which I had found difficult, as originally discussed here.

The gemara (Yoma 9b) is comparing the merits of the generations that saw the destruction of each Beis HaMikdash. The consensus seems to be that the fact the Beis HaMikdash has not been rebuilt, in contrast to the relatively short initial exile of 70 years, is proof of the greater merit of the earlier generations.
We are taught (actually ירושלמי in this פרק)
כל דור שאינו נבנה בימיו מעלין עליו כאילו הוא החריבו
It would seem that the responsibility for bringing the Beis HaMikdash back would lie in the hands of the subsequent generations in exile. Yet, the gemara seems to tie it back to the generation in which it was destroyed. I suppose one support for this could be that the prophecy of the 70-year exile was already given to Yirmiyahu (29:10). The gemara must understand that it was due to the merit of the generation of the destruction that an expiry was put on the ensuing exile from the very beginning, whereas as no such favour was granted the second time.

Since apparently, it was the generation of the churban, on whose merit the Beis HaMikdash was so speedily rebuilt, the verse in Maoz Tzur actually belongs before the story of Purim as it was put in motion well before.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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