The “Greatest”

(Stein Atle Vere. ©2012. The “Greatest”. brakha.blogspot.com.)

Rabi Shimon Ben Yokhai רַבִי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַאי is a sage during the Roman Period, who the Talmud mentions. To him, the Medieval Rabanim (Rabbis) attribute the Zohar, the authoritative book of Kabala קַבָּלָה (Jewish spirituality). He lives about a hundred years after Yhoshua. In the disaster of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion around 135, he witnesses the massacre of Yhudim (Jews). The Roman emperor and his armies murdered hundreds of thousands of the Yhudi aborigines in Yhuda (Judea).

(Stein Atle Vere. ©2012. Image: Caesar Hadrianus Augustus. brakha.blogspot.com.)

In the Book of Talmud Yrushalmi, Ben Yokhai teaches his students:

“The greatest of the Nonjews is a killer.”


A good one that is among the Nonjews is a killer.

טוֹב שֶׁבַּגּוֹיִים הָרוֹג

(Kidushin 66c.)

Note: הָרוֹג , irregular plural הָרוֹגוֹת (Post-Biblical Hebrew) killer, murderer. (Klein. A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language.)

In the days of Ben Yokhai, the “greatest” of the Nonjews was Caesar Hadrianus, indeed a killer.

Even before Ben Yokhai, Yhoshua (Historical Jesus) teaches this same Tora tradition:

And Yhoshua called them unto him.
He said:
You know:

As: The chiefs of the Nonjews oppress among them.
And the great ones dominate among them.

It will not be thus among you ones.
But each someone that will desire
to be great among you ones,
will be a servant that (belongs) to you ones.

וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ קָרָא אֶלָיו אֹתָם
אַתֶּם יֹדְעִים

כִּי שָׂרֵי הַגּוֹיִם רֹדִים בָּהֶם
וְהַגְּדוֹלִים שֹׁלְטִים בָּהֶם

לֹא כֵּן יִהְיֶה בָּכֶם
כִּי אִם כֹּל מִי אֲשֶׁר יִרְצֶה
לִהְיוֹת גָּדוֹל בָּכֶם
יִהְיֶה מְשָׁרֵת אֲשֶׁר לָכֶם

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς

ὅτι οἱ ἄρχοντες τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν
καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν

οὐχ οὕτως ἔσται ἐν ὑμῖν
ἀλλ ὃς ἐὰν θέλῃ
ἐν ὑμῖν μέγας γενέσθαι
ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος

(Mt 20'25-26.)

It is an uncomfortable fact of history, the “great” empires among Nonjews - especially the Pagan Roman Empire - achieved their “greatness” by becoming brutal killers.

When Yhoshua and Ben Yokhai refer this tradition of Nonjewish oppressors, they seem to refer to four specific Nonjewish governments who oppress the Jewish Land of Yisrael, as the Tanakhi (biblical) Book of Daniel describes them.

Daniel portrays these four governments as parts of an idolatrous statue. (Daniel 2'31-45.)

• The head is gold corresponding to the Kingship of Bavel (Babylonian Empire).
• The chest and arms are silver for the Kingship of Madai and Paras (Mede and Persian Empire).
• The belly and thighs are bronze for the Kingship of Yavan (several Hellenistic governments, namely, Aleksandros the Great, Ptolemaic Egypt, and Selucid Syria).
• The shins and and feet are iron corresponding, as the Rabanim (Rabbis) understand it, to the Kingship of Rome.

The kingship of Rome also encompasses several governments: Roman, Byzantine, and other governments emerging from the Roman legal system, such as Nazi Germany.

This fourth Kingship, Rome, mixes partially with a fifth Nonjewish Kingship, because the iron intermingles with clay to form the feet. But the iron and clay fail to blend or adhere. This fifth kingship comes to correspond with the Arab Empires, and other governments that emerge from its legal system.

The iron and clay alternate their coercive control over the aboriginal Jewish Land of Yisrael.

Ultimately, God will overthrow these historically oppressive Nonjewish governments, and will empower an aboriginal Jewish government over the Land of Yisrael. Daniel visualizes this sacred ancestral government as a holy unhewn stone. The Kingship of the Heavens.

Tora (Judaism) recognizes the authority that comes from violence, but the violence has no authority in itself, and no merit. Only the Tora itself has the authority. Only those who choose to pursue the authority of Tora gain merit.

This authority that comes from love, is “the kingship of the heavens” מַלְכוּת הַשָּׁמַיִם .