Where can I find a discussion about the roots of modern nations, in the Umos Haolam mentioned in the Torah and Chazal?
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Aside from those mentioned already, there are quite a few references to peoples, or places, in Tanach that have been identified with modern nations:
- though none of these really have halachic significance, as far as I know.
Many different views of the matter are described here:
Too long and complicated for me to summarize.
There are numerous Biblical place-names which we're pretty sure we can identify (tzarfas, sfarad, etc.); but as far as peoples go:
The Gemara in Meggilah List a nation called GermaMia and the Vilna Gaon corrected the text to read “GermaNia" A plain reference to Germany and this was way before the Holocaust.
Just to explain Alex's refrence about Reb Sonnenfeld. He was once asked why he did not go out to meet the German (Prussian) King to make the Bracha on seeing a King.The Halacha is you should go out of your way to make a Bracha on the king of the other Nations. But he refused to meet with Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany who visited the Old City because he believed that the Emperor was a descendant of the nation of Amalek.His refusal was because he is reported saying he has a Kabbalh from the Gra that Germany is Amalek and you dont Make A Bracha On the King of Amalek