Menachem Mendel

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Cyrus and Masada

In his short and very interesting book, History: Remembered, Recovered, Invented, the historian Bernard Lewis made an interesting comparison between the development of the historical memories of Masada for the Jews and Cyrus for the Persians.

Cyrus has been dead for two and a half millenia and was forgotten by his own people though remembered with honor by others. The defenders of Masada too were forgotten by their own people, and remembered only by a renegade who wrote for a foreign audience in a foreign language. Yet both have been recovered, reinterpreted, and given a new role in the modern history of their respective nations. (41)

I was reminded of this comparison after reading this post by Yaacov Lozowick. The Jewish and Persian people have a long history of interaction and contact, not all of it so positive. We’ll see what the future holds.

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