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The Gemara (Pesachim 87b) states that Hashem performed a righteous deed with Israel in that he scattered them (pizron) among the nations.

Rashi explains that instead of being exiled to a single country, the Jews were scattered among several countries. G-d thereby ensured that the gentiles would be unable to destroy all the Jews at the same time [see Artscroll Pesachim 87b, note 49].

Yet, the Gemara (ibid. 118b) said that the reason Israel was scattered among the nations of the world was because Israel desired to be friendly with the nations. Therefore, G-d punished them measure for measure by scattering them throughout the world to live among those very nations (see Artscroll Pesachim 118b, note 49).

Was Hashem bringing the remedy before the affliction (see Megillah 13b) or was it a punishment?

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    Was Hashem bringing the remedy before the affliction (see Megillah 13b) or was it a punishment? Why can't it be both? – mevaqesh Nov 22 '16 at 17:04
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    @sabbahillel Got that and agree. However, I think this is a result of the exile; not a fact that the exile itself is a punishment. By analogy, my school principal gave me a punishment in that I was not allowed to join my classmates in the lunch room to eat school lunch. That's a punishment. As a result, I ate my mom's delicious food (instead of the bad school lunch) on my own, and I wasn't bullied by one of my classmates during lunch time. The result was a blessing for me, personally, but it didn't eliminate the principal's punishment. – DanF Nov 22 '16 at 18:41
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    @DanF agreed. However, the question seems to be is it a case of A or B, while it appears that it is both A and B. – sabbahillel Nov 22 '16 at 18:53
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    @sabbahillel I guess inclusive "Or" doesn't apply, here? :-) – DanF Nov 22 '16 at 18:56
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    @DanF Many times I answer a question like this as "yes" – sabbahillel Nov 22 '16 at 19:07

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