“These are the names of the chieftains [that came] of Esau, chieftain Magdiel, chieftain Iram; these are the chieftains of Esau...”

-Vayishlach 36:40-43

The present galut is referred to as “Galut Edom-the Edomite Exile,” because the Romans-who brought about the present galut with their destruction of the Holy Temple-were mostly descendants of Edom. This galut is generally divided into two eras, governed by two kinds of chieftain-leaders, as mentioned in the verse cited:

The first is “Chieftain Magdiel.” This name signifies, and is an expression of, “he magnified himself (yitgadel) above every god” (Daniel 11:36). In the first era of the Edomite galut, the Roman empire expanded throughout the world, seeking to overpower Judaism and to make it difficult for Jews to observe Torah and mitzvot.

The second one is “Chieftain Iram.” This name, the Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 83:4) notes, is an expression of “he is destined to amass (le’erom) treasures for the royal Moshiach.” This refers to the second era of the Edomite galut, the one close to the Messianic days. In that time Rome will no longer oppress Israel and will itself submit to holiness. Moreover, it will even assist Moshiach. Rome will be transformed to realize the sacred meaning of its name: Romi as an expression of hitromemut-exaltation, i.e., the exaltation of holiness.