1. Eisov = Red = Edom = Romi (Rome)
  2. Eisov excelled in honoring Yitzhok (B"R 65)
  3. Dama B"N was a senator (? or a general) in Rome's province in Ashkelon (according to Yerushalmi)
  4. דמא is the letters אדום
  5. He was exemplary in honoring parents (fathers)

I'm looking for sources that speak of this similarity, please.

  • Chazal often speak of character traits having been passed down from generation to generation. I wouldn’t be surprised if Esav’s one redeeming quality was found in his descendant Dama.
    – DonielF
    Jul 18 '18 at 20:16
  • I added a tag for maseches-kiddushin since that’s the primary source for the story of Dama Ben Nesinah, even though it also appears in Avodah Zarah.
    – DonielF
    Jul 18 '18 at 20:16
  • google.ca/… Jul 18 '18 at 20:35

There is a third link: Rabbi Yehuda ben Dama, one of the ten martyrs. He seems not to be mentioned anywhere else.

This is complete and utter speculation, but here is how I interpret the "poetry" of the lesson:

Eisav's (and therefore Rome's) big merit was honoring his father, but only superficially as he planned on killing Jacob after Isaac died (Genesis 27:41). He only honored his father such that he could receive favoritism.

Dama ben Netina's honoring of his parents was greater because Dama's parents were both insane. He had no chance of receiving favoritism from them. In fact, he took a financial hit.

The entire Roman Empire observed his exemplary honoring when his mother ripped off his clothes while he was addressing the Senate. The senators surely laughed at the spectacle and mocked Dama, degrading the commandment of honoring one's parents and repudiating their merit.

A generation later, Rome does not try to increase their commitment to their ancestor's mitzva and executes Dama's son. Dama's inclusion in the Tisha b'av readings is a comfort because when they executed him, they guaranteed their eventual downfall. Hadrian became Emperor at Rome's greatest extent (117). He was emperor when the Bar Kochba revolt took place in 135. The empire would decline constantly until the end.

  • Very interesting. Does the death of Dama's son (the source?) close the circle and Eisov's merit is fulfilled?
    – Al Berko
    Jul 19 '18 at 12:39
  • again, utter speculation. Jul 19 '18 at 14:25
  • Are you sure that this is the same Dama? Maybe Dama was a common name, and R’ Yehudah Ben Dama was completely unrelated to Dama Ben Nesinah. Was he a convert, anything that could indicate that they were related?
    – DonielF
    Jul 20 '18 at 0:41

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