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If not for the persecutions in exile....


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#1 Moshi

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 05:59 PM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?
The L-rd may not come when you call, but He's always on time. -Lemon Andersen

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#2 existwhere?

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:54 PM

What do you think?
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#3 DQ

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:01 PM

Good question.

#4 shrigala

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?



What kind of persecution? Because at a certain level persecution is not conducive to survival...

One could start by looking at minorities and study the combinations: survival/assimilation - persecution/no persecution. Another way would be to study periods in Jewish history and try to estimate what was the assimilation rate relative to the extent (or the kind) of persecution (weren't there some discussions like this on Hashkafah already?)

I was trying to think about a minority that survived a long time without facing persecutions and I though of Polish Tatars. They were Tatar Muslims who served as mercenaries in Polish/Lithuanian armies in XIVth and XVth century. They were given some land and established a community in North Eastern Poland and Lithuania. I couldn't say whether they suffered no restrictions because of their faith, but they were never really persecuted (at least not in Poland, I'm not sure what happened to those who ended up in USSR). They are still around, though it's a small and probably dwindling community.

It's only five centuries, but I think it's not a bad result for a community that was never very big to begin with and which was "imported" and quite different from the surrounding society.

#5 Savannah

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:53 PM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?

"Either Jews make kiddush or the goyim will make havdalah."

#6 shaya_getzl

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 11:57 PM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?

Probably. The friendlier the host nation, the less was observance intensity.
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#7 existwhere?

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 05:43 AM

"Either Jews make kiddush or the goyim will make havdalah."


I always loved that. From R' Chaim of Volozhin iirc.
"If they would allow one dead soul to visit an assembly of philosophers, that would be the end of all their teachings." -R' Nachman



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#8 artscroll

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 04:50 PM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?

Without persecution, I'm not sure they would have stayed an exile community.

#9 offthed

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:52 AM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?


I must say that is an interesting question. I would have to say that we would not have survived as a religous nation and over time we would not have survived as a nation at all.

Take America as a microcosm for all of Jewish history. In 60 years since our grandparents came over, the tranquil lifestyle we take for granted has caused most if not many of Orthodox Jewry to lose following. We could argue numbers but no one would disagree that we have seen massive assimilation over the past 6 decades.

Multiply that by 10 or 20 and over the past millenia the Jewish people would no doubt be lost if America was founded in the 11th century as we know if today.

#10 Moshi

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 05:01 PM

I must say that is an interesting question. I would have to say that we would not have survived as a religous nation and over time we would not have survived as a nation at all.

Take America as a microcosm for all of Jewish history. In 60 years since our grandparents came over, the tranquil lifestyle we take for granted has caused most if not many of Orthodox Jewry to lose following. We could argue numbers but no one would disagree that we have seen massive assimilation over the past 6 decades.

Multiply that by 10 or 20 and over the past millenia the Jewish people would no doubt be lost if America was founded in the 11th century as we know if today.


Alternatively, one could also say that people left Orthodoxy as a reaction to having grown up in a shtetle, no? Certainly the seeds for leaving traditional observance have been sewn and taken hold WELL before "the last 60 years." There are many causes - other than the tranquil American life - for Jews leaving Orthodoxy in the 20th century.
The L-rd may not come when you call, but He's always on time. -Lemon Andersen

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"All is by the hand of Heaven, except colds and fevers" -Ketubot 30a.

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#11 Rentsy

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 11:25 PM

I think we would have done fine.
רמב"ם הלכות תשובה פרק העשירי, הלכה ב

העובד מאהבה - עוסק בתורה ובמצוות והולך במתיבות החוכמה לא מפני דבר בעולם, לא מפני יראת הרעה ולא כדי לירש הטובה, אלא עושה האמת מפני שהוא אמת

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#12 Monte Cristo

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 11:18 PM

I must say that is an interesting question. I would have to say that we would not have survived as a religous nation and over time we would not have survived as a nation at all.

Take America as a microcosm for all of Jewish history. In 60 years since our grandparents came over, the tranquil lifestyle we take for granted has caused most if not many of Orthodox Jewry to lose following. We could argue numbers but no one would disagree that we have seen massive assimilation over the past 6 decades.

Multiply that by 10 or 20 and over the past millenia the Jewish people would no doubt be lost if America was founded in the 11th century as we know if today.


America can't be used an microcosm of all the nations we've been in during Galus. For one it was founded (partially) on elightenment ideals and the level of anti-semitism that existed in America was never as bad as it was in other countries.
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#13 seekinganswers

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 02:44 PM

Or would the Jews have assimilated quietly over the centuries?


This question is complicated; I don't really understand it. Does it mean, if there were no persecutions against Jewish people, would Jewish people still exist? Wouldn't the population be much higher?


Or, does it mean, if there were no persecutions, would Jewish people who are not in Israel have lost their identity and beliefs and blended into Gentiles?

Also, what does this mean, ""Either Jews make kiddush or the goyim will make havdalah."

Thanks.
"6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. {S} Hallelujah. {P}" - http://www.mechon-ma...e/et/et26f0.htm

#14 rvn2590

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 08:36 PM

This question is complicated; I don't really understand it. Does it mean, if there were no persecutions against Jewish people, would Jewish people still exist? Wouldn't the population be much higher?


Or, does it mean, if there were no persecutions, would Jewish people who are not in Israel have lost their identity and beliefs and blended into Gentiles?

Also, what does this mean, ""Either Jews make kiddush or the goyim will make havdalah."

Thanks.


Either Jews make kiddush= either Jews live a life separated unto HaShem (holy means separate), or the nations of the world will separate themselves from the Jews by persecuting them. If Jews don't fulfill their mission as G-d's chosen people, then G-d will remove his hand of protection from the Jewish people allowing the persecution which will remind us that as Jews that we have to fulfill our task as Jews and not try to live as if we were "normal" people. havdalah means to distinguish, separate.
טובה הארץ מאד מאד

Rav Tal "The evil forces of the world are the leftists who act against sanctity."

#15 seekinganswers

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:58 AM

Either Jews make kiddush= either Jews live a life separated unto HaShem (holy means separate), or the nations of the world will separate themselves from the Jews by persecuting them. If Jews don't fulfill their mission as G-d's chosen people, then G-d will remove his hand of protection from the Jewish people allowing the persecution which will remind us that as Jews that we have to fulfill our task as Jews and not try to live as if we were "normal" people. havdalah means to distinguish, separate.


Thanks Rvn. I understand now.
"6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. {S} Hallelujah. {P}" - http://www.mechon-ma...e/et/et26f0.htm

#16 Gabbe

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:07 AM

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#17 Snag

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 11:19 AM

When I was in HS one of the Beards was wont to pontificate on the 105th Psalm, which purports to give an account of the praises of our Light and Salvation. The 25th verse in said Psalm describes what happened in Egypt: "He [the Lord] turned their [the Egyptians'] hearts to hate them [the Jews], to plot against His servants."
How, asks the Beard, is this something to praise the Lord about?
I think you can figure out the answer...

i believe that is sourced in the beis halevi.

there is a similar idea from the chasam sofer, who asks why the verse "v'af gam zos bih'yosom b'eretz oyveyhem lo m'astim v'lo g'altim l'chalosom", which would seem to be a verse of nechomo, is included in the tochocho. he explained it to mean that, as an additional curse, when the jews are in the lands of their enemies hashem doen not make them disgusting and repulsive (in the eyes of said enemies, thus allowing them to become close to them), in order to destroy them.

there is another similar idea from rav chaim volozhiner, the details of which escape me at the moment.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

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#18 Ezrahite

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 01:05 AM

Persecution has influenced what's survived and decisions made but persecution per se is not the reason for Jewish survival.

Cleaving to Torah is the reason for the survival and lack of total assimilation.

Peoples to consider:
One example of a people with an apparent common origin that faces distinct persecution and has survived (but in name alone): Gypsies.
They've been around a long time but no one evens knows where they came from. Some are Christian some aren't. Some Gypsies claim they are all from Egypt while others claim India.

We could say 'the Europeans' persecuted 'the Indians' of south and north America and that it hasn't exactly lead to their survival.

#19 Rentsy

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 01:11 AM

Well, it helps that Rabbinic Judaism is a culture carefully crafted to self-perpetuate.
רמב"ם הלכות תשובה פרק העשירי, הלכה ב

העובד מאהבה - עוסק בתורה ובמצוות והולך במתיבות החוכמה לא מפני דבר בעולם, לא מפני יראת הרעה ולא כדי לירש הטובה, אלא עושה האמת מפני שהוא אמת

הלכה ג

אהבה גדולה יתרה רבה עזה עד מאד, עד שתהא נפשו קשורה באהבת השם ... וכל שיר השירים משל הוא לענין זה

#20 seekinganswers

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 01:06 PM

Persecution has influenced what's survived and decisions made but persecution per se is not the reason for Jewish survival.

Cleaving to Torah is the reason for the survival and lack of total assimilation.


That makes sense.
"6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. {S} Hallelujah. {P}" - http://www.mechon-ma...e/et/et26f0.htm




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