I have a question about one of the klalot in parshah Ki Tavo, which makes this chilling prediction:

The Lord will bring upon you a nation from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you will not understand. A brazen nation, which will not respect the elderly, nor show favor to the young. They will devour the fruit of your livestock and the fruit of your soil, to destroy you. They will not leave over anything for you of the grain, wine, oil, offspring of your cattle or flocks of your sheep, until they annihilate you.

Could this be a reference to Nazi Germany, which targeted the elderly and infirm; Rome/Edom, which destroyed the Beis HaMikdash; or possibly both?

1 Answer 1


In Esther Rabbah Petichah 3 and Eichah Rabbah 1:45, the Roman emperor Trajan y"s identified himself with the eagle in this pasuk, and in Sukkah 51b, the Gemara makes this link (see Rashi ad. loc.) to Alexander of Macedonia y"s (from the earlier narrative of the Maccabees).

The Maharal Be'er haGolah 6:14, see especially notes 970-973 deals with this apparent contradiction between the Gemara and Midrash Rabbah. He suggests amending the text and Hagahot haGr"a on Sukkah 51b does just this by replacing Alexander with Trajan.

Further to this, Rabbeinu Bahya connects it to Vespasian y"s (who destroyed the Temple in an earlier part of the Jewish-Roman wars that Trajan continued) using the same story and remez. The Chizkuni sees references to Babylon (even earlier) and Rome in general.

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    An eagle with spread wings was also a symbol of Nazi Germany. Is it possible that more than one country was prophesized? Aug 28, 2023 at 19:14
  • Nazi Germany is also connected with Rome/Edom by being part of Amalek (at the very least in ideology, if not literally Amalek)
    – Menachem
    Sep 5, 2023 at 17:00

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