"Galut" or "Golus" ( _he. גלות), means literally exile. Galut or Golus classically refers to the exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel. There were altogether four such exiles. These are said to be alluded to in Abraham's biblical vision of the future of his descendants according to Bereishit Rabba (44:17): :"And behold, a great, dark fear fell upon him." "'Fear' refers to Babylonia ... 'dark' refers to Media. ... 'great' refers to Greece.... 'fell upon him' refers to Edom.'"

These four exiles are said to correspond to four animals: the camel, the rabbit, the hare, and the pig. []

Mystical explanation

Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov (Bnei Yissaschar, Chodesh Kislev, 2:25) explains that each exile was characterized by a different negative aspect:

# The Babylonian exile was characterized by physical suffering and oppression. The Babylonians were barbarians who viewed sheer physical strength as bestowing the right to dominate and conquer. They were lopsided toward the Sefirah of Gevurah, strength and bodily might.
# The Persian exile was one of emotional temptation. The Persians were hedonists who declared that the purpose of life is to pursue indulgence and lusts—”Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.” They were lopsided toward the quality of Chessed, attraction and kindness (albeit to the self).
# Hellenistic civilization was highly cultured and sophisticated. Although the Greeks had a strong sense of aesthetics, they were highly pompous, and viewed aesthetics as an end in itself. They were excessively attached to the quality of Tiferet, beauty. This was also related to an appreciation of the intellect’s transcendence over the body, which reveals the beauty of the spirit.
# The exile of Edom began with Rome, whose culture lacked any clearly-defined philosophy. Rather, it adopted the philosophies of all the preceding cultures, causing Roman culture to be in a constant flux. Although the Roman Empire has fallen, we are still in the exile of Edom, and indeed, we find this phenomenon of ever-changing trends dominating modern western society. The Romans and the various nations who inherited their rule (e.g., the Europeans, the Americans) are lopsided toward Malchut, sovereignty, the lowest Sefirah, which can receive from any of the others, and act as a medium for them.

External links

[ The Arizal on the four exiles]

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  • Galut — Der Begriff Diaspora (griechisch διασπορά diaspora = Verstreutheit) bezeichnet seit dem späten 19. Jahrhundert hauptsächlich religiöse oder ethnische Gruppen, die ihre traditionelle Heimat verlassen haben und unter Andersdenkenden lebend über… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Galut —    See Diaspora …   Historical Dictionary of Israel

  • Galut — 1. Jødernes landflygtighed. 2. Jødehjemsted uden for Palæstina …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Galut — (‘exile’)    The term used for the situation of Jews in the Diaspora (see above) …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • galut — ga·lut …   English syllables

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