From That Hour The Doom Was Sealed

“Can you imagine if the entire world would, for one day, sit on the floor weeping, grieving, and fasting for the suffering that we have inflicted upon each other and the planet? One day when we recognize the humanity of others - that they suffer as we suffer...Just grieving the pain and our collective loss of heart. Can you imagine? Surely that would be the birth of the messiah.”

Michael L. Kagan, PhD on Tisha B’Av

(יז) לֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֙יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ וְלֹא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא׃ (יח) לֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י יקוק

(17) You shall not hate your brother in your heart; Reprove your kin but incur no sin on their behalf. (18) You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the members of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

אבל מקדש שני שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים מפני מה חרב מפני שהיתה בו שנאת חנם ללמדך ששקולה שנאת חנם כנגד שלש עבירות ע"ז גלוי עריות ושפיכות דמים ...

ובמקדש ראשון לא הוה ביה שנאת חנם והכתיב (יחזקאל כא, יז) מגורי אל חרב היו את עמי לכן ספוק אל ירך וא"ר (אליעזר) אלו בני אדם שאוכלין ושותין זה עם זה ודוקרין זה את זה בחרבות שבלשונם

But why was the Second Temple destroyed, seeing that in its time they were occupying themselves with Torah, [observance of] mitzvot, and acts of loving kindness? Because there was baseless hatred during that time. This teaches that baseless hatred is equivalent to three transgressions: idolatry, sexual immorality, and bloodshed together.


Was there no baseless hatred during the First Temple? Surely it is written (Ezekiel 21:17): "They are thrust down to the sword with my people; smite therefore upon my thigh," and R. Eleazar said: This refers to people who eat and drink together and then stab each other through with with verbal daggers!

אקמצא ובר קמצא חרוב ירושלים אתרנגולא ותרנגולתא חרוב טור מלכא אשקא דריספק חרוב ביתר

Because of Kamtsa and Bar Kamtsa, Jerusalem was destroyed; because of a rooster and a hen, Tur Malka was destroyed; because of a carriage board, Beitar was destroyed.

אמר רבי יוחנן מאי דכתיב (משלי כח, יד) אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד ומקשה לבו יפול ברעה אקמצא ובר קמצא חרוב ירושלים אתרנגולא ותרנגולתא חרוב טור מלכא אשקא דריספק חרוב ביתר אקמצא ובר קמצא חרוב ירושלים דההוא גברא דרחמיה קמצא ובעל דבביה בר קמצא עבד סעודתא אמר ליה לשמעיה זיל אייתי לי קמצא אזל אייתי ליה בר קמצא אתא אשכחיה דהוה יתיב אמר ליה מכדי ההוא גברא בעל דבבא דההוא גברא הוא מאי בעית הכא קום פוק אמר ליה הואיל ואתאי שבקן ויהיבנא לך דמי מה דאכילנא ושתינא אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי פלגא דסעודתיך אמר ליה לא אמר ליה יהיבנא לך דמי כולה סעודתיך א"ל לא נקטיה בידיה ואוקמיה ואפקיה אמר הואיל והוו יתבי רבנן ולא מחו ביה ש"מ קא ניחא להו איזיל איכול בהו קורצא בי מלכא אזל אמר ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי א"ל מי יימר א"ל שדר להו קורבנא חזית אי מקרבין ליה אזל שדר בידיה עגלא תלתא בהדי דקאתי שדא ביה מומא בניב שפתים ואמרי לה בדוקין שבעין דוכתא דלדידן הוה מומא ולדידהו לאו מומא הוא סבור רבנן לקרוביה משום שלום מלכות אמר להו רבי זכריה בן אבקולס יאמרו בעלי מומין קריבין לגבי מזבח סבור למיקטליה דלא ליזיל ולימא אמר להו רבי זכריה יאמרו מטיל מום בקדשים יהרג אמר רבי יוחנן ענוותנותו של רבי זכריה בן אבקולס החריבה את ביתנו ושרפה את היכלנו והגליתנו מארצנו שדר עלוייהו לנירון קיסר כי קאתי שדא גירא למזרח אתא נפל בירושלים למערב אתא נפל בירושלים לארבע רוחות השמים אתא נפל בירושלים א"ל לינוקא פסוק לי פסוקיך אמר ליה (יחזקאל כה, יד) ונתתי את נקמתי באדום ביד עמי ישראל וגו' אמר קודשא בריך הוא בעי לחרובי ביתיה ובעי לכפורי ידיה בההוא גברא ערק ואזל ואיגייר ונפק מיניה ר"מ שדריה עילוייהו לאספסיינוס קיסר אתא צר עלה תלת שני

Rabbi Yoḥanan said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Happy is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 28:14)? Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Kamtza and bar Kamtza. The place known as the King’s Mountain was destroyed on account of a rooster and a hen. The city of Beitar was destroyed on account of a shaft from a chariot [rispak]. The Gemara explains: Jerusalem was destroyed on account of Kamtza and bar Kamtza. This is as there was a certain man whose friend was named Kamtza and whose enemy was named bar Kamtza. He once made a large feast and said to his servant: Go bring me my friend Kamtza. The servant went and mistakenly brought him his enemy bar Kamtza. The man who was hosting the feast came and found bar Kamtza sitting at the feast. The host said to bar Kamtza. That man is the enemy [ba’al devava] of that man, that is, you are my enemy. What then do you want here? Arise and leave. Bar Kamtza said to him: Since I have already come, let me stay and I will give you money for whatever I eat and drink. Just do not embarrass me by sending me out. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Bar Kamtza said to him: I will give you money for half of the feast; just do not send me away. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Bar Kamtza then said to him: I will give you money for the entire feast; just let me stay. The host said to him: No, you must leave. Finally, the host took bar Kamtza by his hand, stood him up, and took him out. After having been cast out from the feast, bar Kamtza said to himself: Since the Sages were sitting there and did not protest the actions of the host, although they saw how he humiliated me, learn from it that they were content with what he did. I will therefore go and inform [eikhul kurtza] against them to the king. He went and said to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you. The emperor said to him: Who says that this is the case? Bar Kamtza said to him: Go and test them; send them an offering to be brought in honor of the government, and see whether they will sacrifice it. The emperor went and sent with him a choice three-year-old calf. While bar Kamtza was coming with the calf to the Temple, he made a blemish on the calf’s upper lip. And some say he made the blemish on its eyelids, a place where according to us, i.e., halakha, it is a blemish, but according to them, gentile rules for their offerings, it is not a blemish. Therefore, when bar Kamtza brought the animal to the Temple, the priests would not sacrifice it on the altar since it was blemished, but they also could not explain this satisfactorily to the gentile authorities, who did not consider it to be blemished. The blemish notwithstanding, the Sages thought to sacrifice the animal as an offering due to the imperative to maintain peace with the government. Rabbi Zekharya ben Avkolas said to them: If the priests do that, people will say that blemished animals may be sacrificed as offerings on the altar. The Sages said: If we do not sacrifice it, then we must prevent bar Kamtza from reporting this to the emperor. The Sages thought to kill him so that he would not go and speak against them. Rabbi Zekharya said to them: If you kill him, people will say that one who makes a blemish on sacrificial animals is to be killed. As a result, they did nothing, bar Kamtza’s slander was accepted by the authorities, and consequently the war between the Jews and the Romans began. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The excessive humility of Rabbi Zekharya ben Avkolas destroyed our Temple, burned our Sanctuary, and exiled us from our land. The Roman authorities then sent Nero Caesar against the Jews. When he came to Jerusalem, he wished to test his fate. He shot an arrow to the east and the arrow came and fell in Jerusalem. He then shot another arrow to the west and it also fell in Jerusalem. He shot an arrow in all four directions of the heavens, and each time the arrow fell in Jerusalem. Nero then conducted another test: He said to a child: Tell me the verse that you learned today. He said to him as follows: “And I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel” (Ezekiel 25:14). Nero said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, wishes to destroy His Temple, and He wishes to wipe his hands with that man, i.e., with me. The Romans are associated with Edom, the descendants of Esau. If I continue on this mission, I will eventually be punished for having served as God’s agent to bring about the destruction. So he fled and became a convert, and ultimately Rabbi Meir descended from him. The Roman authorities then sent Vespasian Caesar against the Jews. He came and laid siege to Jerusalem for three years.

תניא אמר רבי אלעזר בא וראה כמה גדולה כחה של בושה שהרי סייע הקב"ה את בר קמצא והחריב את ביתו ושרף את היכלו:

To conclude the story of Kamtza and bar Kamtza and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Gemara cites a baraita. It is taught: Rabbi Elazar says: Come and see how great is the power of shame, for the Holy One, Blessed be He, assisted bar Kamtza, who had been humiliated, and due to this humiliation and shame He destroyed His Temple and burned His Sanctuary.

אתרנגולא ואתרנגולתא חריב טור מלכא דהוו נהיגי כי הוו מפקי חתנא וכלתא מפקי קמייהו תרנגולא ותרנגולתא כלומר פרו ורבו כתרנגולים אכשליה פומיה לבר דרומא ואמר (תהלים ס, יב) הלא אתה אלקים זנחתנו ולא תצא אלקים בצבאותינו דוד נמי אמר הכי דוד אתמוהי קא מתמה על לבית הכסא אתא דרקונא שמטיה לכרכשיה ונח נפשיה אמר הואיל ואיתרחיש לי ניסא הא זימנא אישבקינהו שבקינהו ואזל איזדקור ואכלו ושתו ואדליקו שרגי עד דאיתחזי בליונא דגושפנקא ברחוק מילא אמר מיחדא קא חדו בי יהודאי הדר אתא עלייהו א"ר אסי תלת מאה אלפי שליפי סייפא עיילו לטור. מלכא וקטלו בה תלתא יומי ותלתא לילוותא ובהך גיסא הלולי וחנגי ולא הוו ידעי הני בהני

§ It was previously mentioned (55b) that the place known as the King’s Mountain [Tur Malka] was destroyed on account of a rooster and a hen. The details of what happened are as follows: It was customary in that place that when they would lead a bride and groom to their wedding, they would take out a rooster and a hen before them, as if to say in the manner of a good omen: Be fruitful and multiply like chickens. In the end it was the words issuing from his own mouth that caused bar Deroma to stumble, as he uttered this verse in complaint against God: “Have You not rejected us, O God, so that You go not forth, O God, with our hosts?” (Psalms 60:12). The Gemara asks: But did not David also say this? The Gemara answers: David uttered these words as a question, wondering whether they were true, whereas bar Deroma pronounced them as a statement of fact. The Gemara recounts what happened to bar Deroma: He entered an outhouse, a snake came and eviscerated him, and he died. The emperor said: Since a miracle was performed for me, as I had no part in bar Deroma’s death, I will let the rest of the people be this time and take no further action against them. He let them be and went on his way. They leapt about, ate, drank, and lit so many candles in celebration that the image [bilyona] imprinted on a seal [gushpanka] was visible from a distance of a mil. The emperor then said: The Jews are rejoicing over me. So he went back and came against them. Rav Asi says: Three hundred thousand men with drawn swords entered the King’s Mountain and massacred its inhabitants for three days and three nights. And at the same time on the other side of the mountain, weddings and other festivities continued to be celebrated, and they did not know about each other, owing to the enormous size of the place.

אשקא דריספק חריב ביתר דהוו נהיגי כי הוה מתיליד ינוקא שתלי ארזא ינוקתא שתלי תורניתא וכי הוו מינסבי קייצי להו ועבדו גננא יומא חד הוה קא חלפא ברתיה דקיסר אתבר שקא דריספק קצו ארזא ועיילו לה אתו נפול עלייהו מחונהו אתו אמרו ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי אתא עלייהו:יומא חד הוה קא חליף גונדא דרומאי שקלינהו מינייהו נפלו עלייהו מחונהו אתו אמרו ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי אתא עלייהו הוה בהו ההוא בר דרומא דהוה קפיץ מילא וקטיל בהו שקליה קיסר לתאגיה ואותביה אארעא אמר ריבוניה דעלמא כוליה אי ניחא לך לא תמסריה לההוא גברא לדידיה ולמלכותיה בידיה דחד גברא

§ It was stated earlier that the city of Beitar was destroyed on account of a shaft from a carriage. The Gemara explains that it was customary in Beitar that when a boy was born they would plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born they would plant a cypress [tornita]. And when they would later marry each other they would cut down these trees and construct a wedding canopy for them with their branches. One day the emperor’s daughter passed by there and the shaft of the carriage in which she was riding broke. Her attendants chopped down a cedar from among those trees and brought it to her. Owing to the importance that they attached to their custom, the residents of Beitar came and fell upon them and beat them. The attendants came and said to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you. The emperor then came against them in war. One day a troop [gunda] of Roman soldiers passed by there while a wedding was taking place and took the rooster and hen from them. The residents of the city fell upon them and beat them. The soldiers came and said to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you. The emperor then came against them in war. Among the residents of the King’s Mountain there was a certain man named bar Deroma who could jump the distance of a mil, and he killed many of the Romans, who were powerless to stand up against him. The emperor then took his crown and set it on the ground as a sign of mourning. He said: Master of the Universe, if it is pleasing to You, do not give over that man, a euphemism for himself, and his kingdom into the hands of only one man.

אמר רב יהודה אמר רב מאי דכתיב (מיכה ב, ב) ועשקו גבר וביתו ואיש ונחלתו מעשה באדם אחד שנתן עיניו באשת רבו ושוליא דנגרי הוה פעם אחת הוצרך (רבו) ללות אמר לו שגר אשתך אצלי ואלונה שיגר אשתו אצלו שהה עמה שלשה ימים קדם ובא אצלו אמר לו אשתי ששיגרתי לך היכן היא אמר לו אני פטרתיה לאלתר ושמעתי שהתינוקות נתעללו בה בדרך אמר לו מה אעשה אמר לו אם אתה שומע לעצתי גרשה אמר לו כתובתה מרובה אמר לו אני אלווך ותן לה כתובתה עמד זה וגרשה הלך הוא ונשאה כיון שהגיע זמנו ולא היה לו לפורעו אמר לו בא ועשה עמי בחובך והיו הם יושבים ואוכלים ושותין והוא היה עומד ומשקה עליהן והיו דמעות נושרות מעיניו ונופלות בכוסיהן ועל אותה שעה נתחתם גזר דין ואמרי לה על שתי פתילות בנר אחד:

Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: 'What is signified by the verse, "And they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage? (Mica 2:2)"A certain man once conceived a desire for the wife of his master, he being a carpenter's apprentice. Once his master wanted to borrow some money from him. He said to him: Send your wife to me and I will lend her the money. So he sent his wife to him, and she stayed three days with him. He then went to him. "Where is my wife whom I sent to you?" he asked. He replied: "I sent her away at once, but I heard that the youngsters played with her on the road." "What shall I do"? he said. "If you listen to my advice", he replied, "divorce her". "But", he said, "she has a large marriage settlement". Said the other: "I will lend you money to give her for her ketubah." So he went and divorced her and the other went and married her. When the time for payment arrived and he was not able to pay him, he said: "Come and work off your debt with me." So they used to sit and eat and drink while he waited on them, and tears used to fall from his eyes and drop into their cups. From that hour the doom was sealed; some, however, say that it was for two wicks in one light