Thursday, October 15, 2009

4) Cyrus' attitude beyond tolerance

While the edict arranging for the return of the Jewish captives to Jerusalem might be seen in line with Cyrus' politics to allow the return of displaced peoples to their respective home countries, it is the above order which elevates his attitude towards the Jewish people from mere tolerance into the realm of the commandment of loving one's neighbor as one's own self.

Tolerance is a passive attitude in which one lets another one have his way, while love of neighbor is an active attitude in which one furthers and supports a neighbor in his way towards the Divine9 even if it differs from one's own way. That is just what Cyrus did. Unparalleled as this act of Cyrus is, it is outstanding even the more so as there is no record or hint in history that he gave similar orders of actively supporting the return of Gentile peoples whom he allowed to return home, not to speak of financing their sanctuaries. We may conclude that Cyrus must have recognized the peculiarity of the Jewish people and its ongoing mission which had not come to naught with the destruction of the First Temple and the exile.

Undauntedly, even willingly, he offered his support. This is certainly another, even crucial hallmark of Messiaship.

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