This question is for the history buffs. Do you know why we say Esav is Rome and Esav is modern day European descendants?


1 Answer 1


See https://www.sefaria.org.il/Genesis.27.39?ven=The_Koren_Jerusalem_Bible&vhe=Miqra_according_to_the_Masorah&lang=bi&with=Rashi&lang2=en

וַיַּ֛עַן יִצְחָ֥ק אָבִ֖יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֑יו הִנֵּ֞ה מִשְׁמַנֵּ֤י הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה מֽוֹשָׁבֶ֔ךָ וּמִטַּ֥ל הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם מֵעָֽל׃

And ῾Esav raised his voice, and wept. And Yiżĥaq his father answered and said to him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;

And in Rashi

משמני ארץ וגו'. זוֹ אִיטָלִיאָה שֶׁל יָוָן:

Of the fatness of the earth: This refers to Italy.

See also Megillah 6a, where the gemara refers to a tribe called Germamia that comes from Esav, which Rb Yaakov Emden corrects to Germania (Germany).


"ואמר רבי יצחק: מאי דכתיב (תהילים קט): "אל תתן ה' מאויי רשע, זממו אל תפק ירומו סלה"? אמר יעקב לפני הקב"ה: 'ריבונו של עולם אל תתן לעשו הרשע תאוות לבו. "זממו אל תפק" - זו גרממיא של אדום, שאלמלי הם יוצאים [הם] מחריבים כל העולם כולו".

הרב יעקב עמדין (היעב"ץ), שחי לפני כ־250 שנה, כתב: ״גרממיא״, רצונו לומר 'גרמניא' היא אשכנז שלנו. וכן הגאון מוילנא כתב שצריך לגרוס: ״גרמניא״.

  • This is a good answer, and just as importantly a great source, but would be incredibly useful to show how we identify all of Italy with Rome and the entirety of Western Civilization with Rome. May 15 at 11:34
  • 1
    @יהושעק I added another source. Generally the Rishonim seem to identify Europe with Esav, for unclear reasons.
    – pcoz
    May 15 at 13:22
  • Great, much obliged, @pcoz. This question seems to come up from time to time so I thought it best to make the connection explicit. May 15 at 13:26
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    @יהושעק Because Rome was the most powerful country in Europe for a very, very long time, and still has a massive influence on Western society.
    – N.T.
    May 15 at 21:54

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