Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Different Approaches to Daniel

As a continuation of the last post, I would like to show a couple of different approaches among the Rishonim on Daniel.

Ramban (in Sefer HaGeulah) and Rashi both take the 1290 and 1335 to represent years. Both of them take them to be 2 periods of time with the same starting point related to the cessation of the Tamid offering. In other words, at 1290 years, there will be something which can be called the desolate abomination, and happy is one who makes it 45 years after that.

The years offered by Rashi and Ramban have of course passed already. The math shows that 1335 years passed the time of the last Tamid offering hundreds of years ago. If the wording in Daniel is literal, from the time of the cessation of the Tamid offering in the Beit HaMikdash, we cannot assume that it is two overlapping counts with a 45-year difference in length. Assuming the days are years and the Tamid is referring to something in the Beit HaMikdash, we must look for another way.

Ibn Ezra, on the other hand, takes the days to be literally days. He also takes them to be 2 separate periods of time. He says that the 1290 days is in reference to 3 years leading up to the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash. He goes on to say that we do not know the starting point of the 1335 days.

The Ramban argues on this idea. According to the Ramban, Daniel did not know the meaning of Moed, Moadim va'Chetzi (A time, times, and a half), and therefore the angel gave extra information to make him understand, being the 1290 and 1335. The Ramban takes from this that he didn't understand before, but at the end, he did understand. If so, the 1335 cannot have an unknown starting point, which by extension argues against the Ibn Ezra's positioning of the 1290 days to the time of the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash.

די למבין

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