Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Missing 160 Years

In a recent lecture, Rav Hershel Schachter says that there are great sages (“gedolim”) on both sides of the issue — some who accept rabbinic chronology and some who modify it in one way or another. He points to the Maharshal’s (Rav Shlomo Luria, 16th cen., Poland) comment in Chokhmas Shlomo (Sanhedrin 52b) in disagreeing with the Talmud’s conclusion that he should not be considered like someone who disagrees with the Talmud because there is no current practical implication to his view. Similarly, there is no practical implication to disagreeing with the Talmud on chronology. Rav Schachter also points to Rav Zerachiah Ha-Levi (12th cen., Spain), known as the Ba’al Ha-Ma’or, in his commentary to the beginning of Rosh Hashanah where he explicitly disagrees with the Talmud about the list of Persian kings (and his colleague, the Ra’avad, says that this is against our tradition).


  1. why should a single book of history be canonical? It was not given on Sinai.

  2. There's a great book I have somewhere all about this. The official understanding is that Alexander swept east and wiped out the entire Persian Empire in about 48 hours. He uses his research to suggest that while Al conquered much of the empire, a good chunk survived the additional time and that explains the overlap.


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