A History of Pointless Hatred
We are deep into the ‘Three Weeks,’ a time marking the destruction of the Temple-based Jewish life and the expulsion of the Jews from our ancient land. The Talmud blames our exile on ‘Sinat Chinam’ (Yoma 9a-b) - literally ‘hatred given freely’. There are a number of tales and utterances scattered across the Rabbinic oeuvre which cast light on what this excess of hatred might have been, or perhaps re-articulate what the problem - so severe it could lead to such destruction - actually was. We also have the remarkable testimony of Josephus, the Jewish-born Roman historian, who paints a dramatic picture of life in Jerusalem before and during the Roman siege on the city and its destruction.
This week, in Shul, I want to look at these sources with both a historically critical eye and a religious neshamah. Next week I’ll try and use such truths as we can from history in an analysis of our contemporary successes and failings as the Jewish people, both in and outside the modern State of Israel.
And then on Monday night, 31st July and Tuesday morning 1st August, we will commemorate together the 9th Av, the destruction of the Temple. More info here about what is always a deeply moving and important moment in our yearly cycle as a community.