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Lamentations: Kinah1 – Line 10 Part One

“…for we have pursued gratuitous hatred.”The Second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam, gratuitous hatred.   Rav Kook said that in the same way that the Beit

Hamikdash was destroyed through gratuitous hatred it will be rebuilt with gratuitous love. Rav Kook was addressing the issue of the relationship between religious Jews and the non-religious who were instrumental in building the then future State of Israel.

While most of the religious community was critical of the future state because of the non-religious leadership, (among other major theological issues), Rav Kook saw the holiness in the actions of the non-religious. This continues to be a major issue in our time, not only in the State of Israel, but in the relationship between orthodox and non-orthodox Jews. This is a sensitive issue. It tears at the heart of the Jewish People. How can the orthodox maintain a relationship with those who deny the basic tenets of their belief? How can they work with those who don’t believe that the Torah, both Written and Oral, were given at Sinai? How can they see the holiness in those who do not maintain a commitment to Halachah? Yet Rav Kook says that it will be gratuitous love that will rebuild Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash. What is the gratuitous love that Rav Kook demands?

The Radak  asks why in the Book of Samuel it says that King David went with his men to capture Metzudat Tziyon, and in Divrei Hayamim it says that he went with all Israel, not just his men? The Radak answers that all Israel had become David’s men. He ruled over all of Israel. Once he ruled over all of Israel he went to Jerusalem to capture Metzudat Tziyon. The Jews had a tradition that Tziyon was the seat of the king of all of Israel and the only one who could capture it had to be accepted as king by all Jews. We see that in order for Tziyon, or the place of the Temple, (Tziyon refers to the place of the Beit Hamikdash, to all of Jerusalem and to the Jewish People), to be built, all of Israel had to be united. Once we were no longer united, but filled with gratuitous hatred, Tziyon had to fall.

The Talmud  tells the story of hatred that directly led to the destruction of the Second Beit Hamikdash; It is the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza: As a result of the incident involving Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, Jerusalem was destroyed: A certain man who had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy named Bar Kamtza made a banquet. He told his attendant: “Go and bring Kamtza to join me at the banquet.” The attendant went and mistakenly brought him Bar Kamtza. When the host arrived at the banquet and found Bar Kamtza sitting there he said to Bar Kamtza, “Look here, that man (you) is the enemy of that man (me). What do you want here? Get up and get out!” Bar Kamtza said to him, “Since I am here already let me stay and I will pay you for whatever I eat and drink.” This continued, with Bar Kamtza increasing his offer up to paying for the entire party. The host stood up and ejected Bar Kamtza. He said to himself, “Since the rabbis were seated and did not rebuke him it is evident that what he did was acceptable to him. I will go and spread slander against the rabbis in the royal palace.”

The Maharal of Prague explains: When you look at the word “Kamtza” you will see that this name is an indication of separation, something with many disconnected parts. For example, the Kemitza in the Temple service was to break the incense or mincha offering into parts. The rabbis refer to the cockroach as Kamtza, as Onkelos translates, “And we were in their eyes as grasshoppers,” as kakamtzin. Cockroaches are called kamtzin because they multiply assiduously. In Hebrew they are called “Arbeh” which also means to increase almost infinitely.

The Maharal explains that such a process of increasing is indicative of breaking apart into many pieces with a lack of unity. Something that is united cannot break apart into such numbers. The verse in Proverbs 30 says, “There is no king f the grasshoppers.” They cannot unite under one figure. A king, in Jewish thought, is the great unifier. This, says the Maharal, is the explanation of the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza. The Jews were breaking apart into more and more pieces without any sense of unity.

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