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    Zealotry & the three weeks

    churban temple 2The national mourning period from 17 Tammuz until after Tishah B’Av recalls a Talmudic story about three wealthy men who were living in Jerusalem at the time when the enemy were besieging the city.

    One rich man said, “I can provide enough wheat and barley for everyone”. “I can supply wine, salt and oil”, said the second. The third said, “I have enough firewood for the whole city”.

    Many of the people said the city could thus withstand a long siege. But a group of zealots who were determined to fight set fire to the stores of food and caused a famine. The residents of the city now had no choice but to take up arms. The resistance was doomed; in the end the city fell.

    The moral of the story may be that solidarity and mutual respect can be irreparably harmed by acts of fanaticism and zealotry.

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