There are different sources (Bereishis Rabbah 2:4, Shemos Rabbah 15:6, Ramban; Bereishis 15:14) that say that there were decreed four galuyos - four exiles. There are also explanations that explain why Mitzrayim isn't counted as the first one, because it is the root of all the four galuyos (see for example Shem MiShmuel, Parshas Vaera, sv. שנת תרע”א).

However, I read in the book "Achake Lo: I Will Await Him" by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Cohen (p.215), that there is an anonymous commentary on Shir HaShirim that says:

. מפירוש כתב יד קדמון מיוצאי תימן על שיר השירים, נדפס מחדש בירושלים בחמש מגילות: השבעתי אתכם בנות ירושלים וגו' (שה"ש בז). גם זה כבר נתבאר שהוא על דרך הצוואה, שבהיותם בגלות ותחת שלטון זר אל יתפרצו במעשים ופעולות לפני שיגיע הזמן, פן יגרמו לעצמם נזק ואפילו כליון במקום מה שחשבו שתצמח להם טובה ורווחה, אבל כשיהיה הרצון האלקים ויגיע העת ויגמר הזמן אינם זקוקים לפעולה מצדם ולא לעשות שום תחבולה, אלא יסתבבו סבות אלקים להופעת רצונו מה שלא יעלה על דעת בשר ודם אופן אותם הסבות והאיך השגו, ועל זה אמר ישעיה (ב' ב') דברו על לב ירושלים וכו' כי מלאה צבאה כי נרצה עוונה וכו', נשלם הזמן וקבלה את כל העונש שהיתה ראויה לו על כל חטאותיה, ונכפל פסוק זה בספר זה שלש פעמים לחיזוק הענין, וגם כנגד ג' גליות שהיו ישראל בהם, גלות מצרים וגלות בבל וזה הגלות הכללי הארוך, ה' - "I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem..." This is a command that when the Jews are in exile under a forgein power, they must not burst forth with deeds and actions before the time comes, lest they bring upon themselves harm or even destruction, instead of the good they thought would come of it. But when G-d wills it and the time is up, they will not need their own actions, nor will they need to use any strategy, but rahter G-d will cause things to happen to bring about His will, in a way that no human being can imagine. This is what Yishaya the prophet (40:2) said, "Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her for her time is up and her sin is atoned". This verse ("I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem") is written three times to hammer in the concept, and also to correspond to the three exiles: Egypt, Babylonia, and the current lengthy exile, may Hashem show us its end soon.

How to reconcile this, that there are sources that mention only three galuyos instead of the four galuyos? Are there sources that say that there are more/less than the "traditional accepted" four galuyos and why is this? I also heard that the Vilna Gaon head an tradition that there are 10 galuyos. So, it seems that there are more views on this. Or is this just a one-time occurence of this idea?

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    Just for fun, note the Zohar adds Galut Yishmael to the its list of exiles, bringing the total to 5: mishpacha.com/an-exile-like-no-other Commented Jan 6 at 21:20
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    Yes, I am aware that the Maharal in Ner Mitzvah also says this. Rashi on Zecharya says that the galuyos are named by two (Edom-Yishmael etc..).
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jan 6 at 21:25
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    @יהושעק I doubt the Zohar had fun in mind
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jan 22 at 19:09
  • Note: Ramban (Bereishis 15:14) writes 'וגם את הגוי אשר יעבודו וגם לרבות ד' גליות ', indicating 4. Ramban at the beginning of Vayigash calls the current galus גלות השלישי.
    – chortkov2
    Commented Jan 23 at 12:54
  • @chortkov2 Thanks. It seems the Ramban on Bereishis 15:14 is beginning his explanation by quoting Rashi, as he always seems to do. Nevertheless, it seems to be accepted that there are four galuyos (Edom-Yishmael as the last), so why would there be meforshim that say three?
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jan 23 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


There are four Galuyot according to what our sources say, as you mentioned above.

According to the Zohar there is an fith Galut, called Galut Ishmael ( Arabs).

This is also at the core of the Machloket if we should drink four or five cups of wine during the Seder, corresponding to the four or five Galuyot.


  1. Mitzrayim is not counted as one of them, as Am Israel was born as a nation only at Har Sinai.
  2. The three Gauyot mentioned by the book you quoted are an original Interpretation of a verse in Shir ha Shirim by the Rabbi, but do not represent the classical viewpoint of Chazal and Rishonim. ( no one besides him writes about three galuyot)
  • Thank you, so it seems to be just an interpretation? And what about the Vilna Gaon that is supposedly to have said there are 10 galuyos?
    – Shmuel
    Commented May 5 at 11:36

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