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Notes on the Extent of the Diaspora

May 4, 2014

Some questioned why I chose to write this line in this post:

Imagine say, 50,000 years into the future, and the Messiah has yet to come, this planet is barely habitable, and the Jewish people, like the rest of most of what is left of mankind, lives somewhere beyond our solar system.

I imagined Jews living on other worlds because of these cryptic-at-the-time-of-their-writing verses foretelling the Redemption (Deuteronomy 30:3-5): 

Then the LORD your God will return your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples, where the LORD your God has scattered you. אִם-יִהְיֶה נִדַּחֲךָ, בִּקְצֵה הַשָּׁמָיִם–מִשָּׁם, יְקַבֶּצְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, וּמִשָּׁם, יִקָּחֶךָ.  If any of yours that are dispersed unto the ends of heaven, from there will the LORD your God gather you, and from there will He fetch you. And the LORD thy God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.

Why would the Torah use the phrase “ends of heaven” instead of the  usual “ends of the earth”? It is interesting to note that the classical commentators had very little to say about the middle verse. 

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