He Flung from the Heavens to the Earth the Beauty of Israel

by tillerofthesoil

“וַיִּשְׁלַח (Va-yishlaḥ), and [Jacob] sent, messengers before him [to Esau his brother] (Genesis 32:4)…. [Sent messengers] before him—to [Esau] whose time had come to take hold of the kingship before him [Jacob]. Rabbi Yehoshu’a [son of Levi] said: שָׁלַח (Shalaḥ), he took off, the purple [mantle], and threw it down before him, saying to him: Two roosters cannot sleep on one board [i.e., two nations cannot rule at the same time] (Bereshit Rabbah 75:4).

“הִשְׁלִיךְ (Hishlikh), He flung, from the heavens to the earth the beauty of Israel (Lamentations 2:1). Rabbi Huna son of Rabbi Aḥa said in the name of Rabbi Ḥanina son of Rabbi Abbahu: A parable: Like a king who had a son. The son wept, so he placed him upon his knees. The son wept, and the king took him in his arms. He wept again, and the king set him upon his shoulders. [Then the child] soiled him, immediately he flung him down to earth. His ascent was not like his descent: his ascent was bit by bit, but his descent was all at once. Similarly: Yes I taught Ephraim to walk, took him by his arms (Hosea 11:3). And after that: Yoked Ephraim that he would plow, Judah that Jacob would harrow (ibid. 10:11). And after that: He flung from the heavens to the earth the beauty of Israel. Their ascent was not like their descent: their ascent was bit by bit, but their descent was all at once” (Eikhah Rabbah 2:1).

He flung from the heavens to the earth the beauty of Israel, [nor did He recall His footstool on the day of His wrath] (Lamentations 2:1). If so, they have fallen. He replied: ‘If they have read [once] but not repeated, if they have read it a second time but not a third…’ (BT Berakhot 18a) [see for example Amos 9:11: I will raise up the fallen shelter of David]. A parable: A king had a lovely diadem upon his head and a lovely mantle upon his shoulder. An evil rumor came to him and he flung the diadem from upon his head and the mantle from before him” (Bahir §33).

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