Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Who is Geviha?

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 91a) refers to an unassuming guy named Geviha ben Pesisa. The story goes that when Alexander the Great conquered the Land of Israel, a delegation of Egyptians came to him and demanded that the Jews return the wealth they took with them when they left in the wake of the Exodus (some nine hundred years before). The leadership in Jerusalem was at a loss as to what to do, until Geviha b. Pesisa offered to accept the challenge and answer them. Geviha was not a famous scholar, nor was he a powerful politician. He was simply an astute 'everyman.' He told the powerful in Jerusalem: 'Look. This is a win-win proposition. If I lose, you can say that all you managed to do was to beat a nobody. If I win, they"ll look like total idiots.' The leadership agreed and Geviha appeared before Alexander to answer the Egyptians.' He looked them straight in the eye and said: 'You want compensation? First pay us for the 430 (0r 206) years of bondage to which you subjected the children of Israel. Then we can discuss the rest.' The Egyptians were stunned. They asked Alexander for a continuance and that night fled.

I"ve always liked Geviha. He was able to talk straight in the face of challenges, when everybody else was paralyzed with fear, politics and ambition. This blog will deal with Israel, Judaism, and what not, as I see it. It's dedicated to Geviha's memory and uses his name because somethimes anonymity is still the way to go.

By the way, do you think that the story with the Egyptians is far fetched? Well, there's a lawyer in Cairo who plans to sue the State of Israel for the same money the Egyptians asked for in the fourth century BCE. He doesn't realize that by placing his suit, he's admitting that the Jews in Israel are the direct descendants of Biblical Israel, something Arab propaganda has been denying for years.

11 Comments:

At 12:42 AM, Blogger Ben said...

A bit of unsolicited advice: If your objective is to remain anonymous, try to vary the format a bit.

Kesiva vechasima tova,
"Ben"

 
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