Destruction of the Second Temple

A biblical history of the Jews

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Destruction of the Second Temple: A biblical history of the Jews

This class continues to describe the reign of the Herodian kings and the events leading to the fall of the Holy Temple to the Roman Emperor, Titus.
History, Second Temple, Agrippa I, Herod, Three Weeks, Destruction of the Second Holy Temple

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Anonymous Arizona USA May 31, 2015

Thank you! This series was an excellent review! It’s like having our own personal rabbi talking with us and teaching us! Thank you!
My husband and I are retired and living in Arizona but we were born and raised in NJ and lived in Warren County NJ for some time. We visited Great Britain four times and it’s delightful to hear your accent. We were wondering how you arrived in Sussex NJ. Did someone ask if you wanted to go to Sussex and you thought they meant Sussex England? LOL We especially appreciate all the correct Hebrew pronunciations of the names and words.
We are grateful that you have recorded these Bible lessons for us. Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge and your time. Reply

bethy new york new york July 5, 2014

Perhaps there should not be another lavish temple? As tragic and horrible as the destruction of the massive and stunning Temple was, and of course much more tragic, the destruction of Jewish lives..is there a lesson here that perhaps there should not be such a lavish temple constructed ever? .that G-d does not need temples to be built in His honor or for praying or for any reason..not palaces like of such grandiose scale..even Herod got carried away.. the story is symbolic..perhaps inherent in this vast, exquisite monument is the idea that such lavish spending and construction should not be endeavored at all..what difference is this then to the opulent churches that took gold and treasure from the people and used it to finance and "decorate" those places? Perhaps it was not meant to last? But one cannot withstand the injustice done to almost one million Jews by the cruel Roman armies..obviously Jerusalem and its people were a monumental threat to Imperial Rome..Really this was equal to a holocaust yet most Jews do not know this at all Reply

Marty Denver August 8, 2013

Shechita You write Law cannot be based on assumption. Perhaps this is a matter of semantics. Much of Talmudic law is based on a combination of precedent, logic, interpretation and midrashim. Those are assumptions. The Torah does not tell us to kill the animal by cutting its throat. It was accepted by halacha and it was universal in Jewish communities because it was the most painless way at that time.
You say the law is very clear that stunning before Schechita is prohibited. You’re basing that on the prohibition of eating a wounded animal, Ex 22:30, correct? This is a classic case of the letter of the law vs the spirit of the law, only in this instance the letter of law, i.e., how to kill the animal, isn’t in the Torah. You write if it was about painless, it would have come down to us. It was handed down. If the animal suffers, it isn’t kosher. And we know from many investigations throughout the world, that pain in shechita occurs frequently, yet, they are still accepted as kosher. Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ July 29, 2013

Oral law update "All other branches of Judaism far outnumber orthodoxy so why hasn't the latter followed the former?"
Response: All "other branches of Judaism" maintain clearly that they are not a variation of the law rather a deviation from it. Obviously, in a situation where people are not following the law (in this case - mostly out of ignorance) the job is to educate and teach, not to drop the law and follow the majority. Like Noah and Abraham.

Re. Shechita: Law cannot be based on assumption. The law is very clear that stunning before Schechita is prohibited. That cannot be abrogated on the basis that the idea MAY have been to kill in the most painless way. This would be something very central that should have come down some way to us.
To "be profane with the Torah’s permission" is not good. Yes - we should do that which we can to improve a situation where this is happening. Reply

Marty Denver May 30, 2013

Effects of kings Advisors tell Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, says 1 Kings 12:4 Your father made our yoke hard. Now you lighten your father's hard work and his heavy yoke which he placed upon us.. But in 12:11 he decides, “And now, where my father did burden you with a heavy yoke, I shall add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions." This is just as 1 Samuel 8:11-22 warned regarding dangers of kings.
Also, from Purdue Univ: "Numerous Phoenician artisans, merchants, and traders migrated to Jerusalem to fill voids in the emerging economy, with the inevitable result that they attained greater affluence and higher social status than Hebrew inhabitants themselves. In short, the attempts of the kings of the United Kingdom to construct a ruling hierarchy and to elevate the newly founded kingdom of Israel to the level of neighboring world powers inevitably created social and economic dislocations that left ordinary Israelite citizens disadvantaged." Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ May 16, 2013

Forced labor and economic ruin Kings 1 5:27 - It was a tax. Every government makes taxes, sometimes of money, other times of actually working for the country. In Israel today there is the army and "Sheirut Leumi" which is compulsory due to the need of the country. Forced labor? Look at the way the entire people gathered in jubilation at the opening of the temple. Ch. 8.
Economic ruin? nothing could be further than the truth. Kings 1 4:20, 5:5.
See Kings Ch. 5 - There was an agreement between Solomon and Hiram, Hiram gave building materials and metals while Solomon gave him food provisions. Instead of giving the food Solomon wanted to give him (the tax) from the city's. Hiram turned down the offer and the agreement carried on as before. The source you are quoting is extremely misleading and inaccurate. Reply

Marty Denver May 13, 2013

Oral law update The Oral Law isn’t fixated and one rule for change is by majority. All other branches of Judaism far outnumber orthodoxy so why hasn’t the latter followed the former? Regarding shechita: The Torah law only says the animal is to be killed in the manner I will tell you. Did G-d say kill in the most merciful manner possible or to cut its throat? G-d probably said the former and since at that time the fastest way was to cut the throat that is what was practiced. So the original message might have gotten lost. It’s possible, isn’t it? Now stunning is faster and it precedes cutting the throat. Shouldn’t we do what is G-d’s will, to be merciful? Yes, I’ve heard that one can be profane with the Torah’s permission. But should we? G-d found time to make a covenant with animals and to protect them, shouldn’t we? At least spread the message not to eat factory farmed animals and lead by example, after all, that’s our job, isn’t it? Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ May 9, 2013

of the law? Yes. Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ May 9, 2013

Regarding the Oral Law The oral Torah has an exact code of what Shechita is and is not. As explained in previous response, there is fixation of Torah law. especially when there is clarity of the tradition from Moses. So any other way of killing the animal is just not the way we where told to do it.. However, there is room - and importance - that within the framework of the law (Halacha) there is improvement of implementation .Stunning the animal after Shechita is not simple according to Halacha. It is only allowed in a case were there is no other choice.
As to factory farming: Unfortunately, the cruelty to animals in such conditions is a violation of the "spirit" of the law rather than the "letter" of the law. The Torah has many Mitzvos withholding us from causing pain to an animal. We however allowed to put the animal to human service. Many a Jewish sage have said that one could be a "profane person with permission of the Torah". It is an ethical problem. Could a rabbinate make a ban to protect the spirit Reply

Marty Denver May 9, 2013

Forced labor and economic ruin From Jewish Virtual Library, The Temple: Solomon spared no expense for the building's creation. He ordered vast quantities of cedar wood from King Hiram of Tyre (I Kings 5:20­25), had huge blocks of the choicest stone quarried, and commanded that the building's foundation be laid with hewn stone. To complete the massive project, he imposed forced labor on all his subjects, drafting people for work shifts that sometimes lasted a month at a time. Some 3,300 officials were appointed to oversee the Temple's erection (5:27­30). Solomon assumed such heavy debts in building the Temple that he is forced to pay off King Hiram by handing over twenty towns in the Galilee (I Kings 9:11). Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ May 8, 2013

Talmud and Torah on kings Indeed the oral Torah is not fixated. There is room for interpretation and opinion - albeit limited to the rules with which the Torah could be expounded upon. There is however a system whereby conclusions and rulings are reached. They are dictated by the (written) Torah itself. Such as following the majority. So the Talmud often quotes all the opinions and then tells us the ruling. The various opinions are thus valuable only for learning purposes not for actuality.
Yes - No king who was not G-d fearing ever resigned because he was not G-d fearing... The law is the right thing to do when possible. it would have been suicidal for anyone to try implement that law in such a case.
King David being "guilty of murder and adultery" - it think that was addressed in my comments in the class on the subject both regarding the status of Bas sheva and Uria.
King Solomon - economic ruin and forced labor: source? Reply

Marty Denver April 10, 2013

Regarding the Oral Law I am not opposed to the Oral Law, per se, I'm opposed to it being fixated. You give two good examples. Let's look at shechita. The Torah only says to slaughter the animal as I have commanded you Deut 12:21 Did G-d command us to cut the throat or to kill in the most merciful manner possible? And this is why the Torah must be a living force. Surely, G-d, who originally wanted us to be vegetarian, Gen 1:29-30, doesn't want his other creatures to suffer. Now, the rabbis, our 'judges' must reconvene and explore stunning the animal before bleeding. Also, we see the laws prohibiting animal cruelty. The rabbis must review something that didn't exist during Talmudic times, factory farming. How can chickens that are painfully debeaked, it is not like cutting a fingernail, crowded into cages where they can't even spread their wings, never see daylight or breathe fresh air, form pecking orders which is their natural drive, etc...how can these poor creatures be kosher?? So too with other animals. Reply

Marty Denver April 10, 2013

Talmud and Torah on kings I appreciate the dialogue, thank you. The fact that there is an opinion that the Torah only permits and doesn't demand a king demonstrates neither we or our sages really know what G-d told Moses, the Talmud is holy but not on equal footing with the Torah; to be aligned with G-d's will and the spirit of the Oral Law, it must remain open and not be fixated. Then Torah will remain a living dynamic force. 1 Sam 8:20 shows the main reason the people wanted a king. We were divided and couldn't defeat our enemies. Having a king resolved that but it came at the heavy price as Samuel predicted.
You write that if the king didn't have G-d fearing qualities he would resign? Hardly any met that parameter and none resigned. Even David was guilty of murder and adultery. I'm aware of the 'get' given by soldiers to their wives. Uriah was deliberately placed in the line of fire to be killed.The Tanach is very clear. And Solomon put the country in economic ruin with forced labor to build the Temple. Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ March 28, 2013

In response to Marty - 3 First, I must point out that there is an opinion in the Talmud that the verse only permits (not commands) the people to appoint a king, but the ruling does not remain with this opinion (Sanhedrin 20:B)

Second: The verse tells us that "it was bad in the eyes of Shmuel when they said give us a king to judge us". What was wrong? His sons were "not going in his ways" and he was "getting old" so they wanted good leadership! The meaning here lies in the words "Give us a king so he may judge us as all the nations". They wanted to be on par with their neighbors each who boasted mighty kings who ruled as they desired. For this Shmuel was upset. G-d tells him "It is not you they have despised but me" - they want to be like all the nations. The Torah sees a king as someone appointed to uphold the Torah law and to lead the people in its spirit. But they wanted to be "A state like all other states". So Shmuel warned them of the corruption that will come with creating such a state.

The Talmud says that indeed there was a segment of the people who asked that there be a position of power to restore order, and this was correct and a Mitzvah. Until then things were chaotic.

Third: The heir of the king would need to have G-d fearing qualities. Otherwise he forfeits the position - see previous response. It is about the kind that was desired at the time that it says all those negative verses.

Regarding the oral law: The oral law was given in a way of fundamental principals and rules. The debates in it are regarding things that were either forgotten or unclear, in addition to new cases that came up and it was unclear as to the application of the principals to this particular case. The absurdity of having the written Torah without the oral one is quite obvious. There is no way of keeping almost any Mitzvah just by the written Torah. Take Shechita and Teffilin as examples.

The groups that arose denying the oral Torah did so out of a personal power struggle with the sages and had no rational backing. "The judges who will be in those days" - refers to the application of the rules to the situation - the proceeding verse. Reply

Anonymous USA March 11, 2013

Destruction Of The Second Temple Dear Rabbi Duvov, where can I find these studies with all details as you describe them from the destruction of the temple? I have various books of the history of Israel and the TaNak. I wish that I could feel confident in the books I read to this concern. Is there an insight from your part that could help me in this regard? Thank you for your kindness in teaching us. Maybe, if possible, you could direct me through my email address. Thank you again, this is the second time I hear/watch your video. Reply

Marty Denver March 11, 2013

Regarding Oral Tradition We must remember that the Oral "Law" is full of debate. Even during the time of the Second Temple we know the Sadducees rejected the Oral Law. So did the Essenes and the Karaites. I have a different perspective. I prefer to call it the Oral Tradition. The Torah tells us that we will need interpretation and refers us to the" judges who will be in those days" Deut 17:9. Each generation must interpret the law specific for their time yet remain true to the Torah.
The Oral Tradition was oral for a reason. Not because it was too much to write but so that it would not be fixated. Yet, our history and the diaspora demanded it be written. But should we become slaves to it? We must learn from it and at the same time we must grow. See the Torah through new eyes. Even our sages and Moses himself were only human. They too can make mistakes.
I tried to read your references at Chabad and googling but I couldn't retreive them. If you send me a link I'll gladly review it. Thank you. Reply

Marty Denver March 11, 2013

The Tanach versus a king Thank you for your response. You say: "The reason why Samuel scolded the people for asking for a king is because of the WAY they asked for it being that they had despised Samuel."I don't see that. First, the Tanach makes it clear that Samuel's sons whom he appointed judges were not good men. So it wasn't that the people despised Samuel. 1 Sam 8:5 The next 10 verses warn the people of the terrible things a king will do because it's the nature of power, it's a corrupting influence. A study of our kings proves that, doesn't it? Good kings are the exception, like Hezekiah, and not the rule.
Also, you cite Deut 17:20 as proof that monarchy is inherited. Yes, it's natural for a father to give to his son. But is it what G-d wanted for the Jewish people? The first of the 10 commandments, how does G-d identify Himself? Ex 20:2 "I took you out of bondage." This is a G-d of freedom. And how does G-d depict kings? 1 Sam 8:7-18 when you have a human king, you have a master and you are a slave. Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ March 2, 2013

In responce to Marty - 2 As for the idea of lineage, Jewish law is clear:
"Once a king is anointed, he and his descendents are granted the monarchy until eternity, for the monarchy is passed down by inheritance, as Deuteronomy 17:20 states 'Thus, he the king and his descendents will prolong their reign in the midst of Israel.
...Not only the monarchy, but all other positions of authority and appointments in Israel, are transferred to one's children and grandchildren as inheritances forever.
The above applies if the knowledge and the fear of God of the son is equivalent to that of his ancestors. If his fear of God is equivalent to theirs but not his knowledge, he should be granted his father's position and given instruction". (Maimonides, Laws of Kings 1:7).
Moses himself wanted to give his position to son(s) but G-d told him that this case would be an exception (See Rashi Bamidbar 27:16). Reply

Mendel Dubov Sparta, NJ March 2, 2013

In response to Marty I beg to differ: It is extremely important when studding the written Torah (Tanach) to study it with its meaning given to us in the oral Torah. Although the verse in itself may give room for what you are saying, it is nevertheless not the case. The "Sifri" - an original source for the oral Torah says that the Torah is actually giving us a command here to appoint a king (see Ramban on the verse). This is reflected in all major works of Jewish ruling such as Maimonides and the "Chinuch".
The reason why Samuel scolded the people for asking for a king is because of the WAY they asked for it being that they had despised Samuel (See Maimonides, Laws of Kings, 1:2). Reply

Marty Denver February 28, 2013

Kings in the Tanach You reference Deut 17:14-15. For clarity, G-d is not saying that we should appoint a king, rather He is telling us in the future we will want a king like other nations. Rather than forbidding it, G-d commands us to make it from our 'brothers' and not a "foreigner."
It should be noted that G-d doesn't want us to have a king. Ref: 1 Samuel 8:7 where Samuel tells G-d that the people rejected him by demanding a king; and G-d responds to Samuel saying, "No, it's Me they've rejected." The Torah is so clear that we should not have a king nor be influenced by lineage. For example, Moses appoints Joshua to judge after him. Joshua is no relation to Moses. We don't even know what happens to Moses' children. The Torah's stories are rich in this lesson. So too, we should honor the convert as one of our "brothers" if the conversion came from the heart and not for ulterior motives. Reply