Arie E. Pelta

My Sin Caused the Destruction of the Beis Hamikdash – Kinnah #23

ואת נוי חטאתי השמימה


This kinnah tells over the story of the son and daughter of Rav Yishmael ben Elisha, the Kohen Gadol. Why are we told the story about the demise of the children of Rav Yishmael?

We need to tell over the stories of suffering so we not forget. Just like at pesach seder say over the hagaddah for remember story of mizrayim.

Moshiach will on come one the th 9th of Av to turn mourning to joy, yirmiyah 31:12

We were to enter Eretz Yisrael on Rosh chodesh av 11 days after 17th tamuz getting the luchos. But the cheit HaEgel and then the sin of the  meraglim delayed everything.

Specifically the geulah needs to be from the most evil to the best scenario, this way sanctify the oneness of Gd.

The more bad the more good. The more we say about the geulah on pesach seder is praiseworthy for shows greatness of GD at mizrayim. So too the more we cry the more tragedy we express the greater will be the yeshuah on 9th of av with moshiach !


תלמוד גיטין נח.

The Rabanon taught in a Baraisa: There was a story of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananiya who went to the great city in Rome. They told him, there is a boy in prison with beautiful eyes and a fine appearance and his hair in curls. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya went and stood by the entrance of the prison. He recited out loud this pasuk (ישעיה מב:כד): “Who delivered Yaakov to plunder and Yisrael to looters?” The boy answered (by completing the pasuk) and said: “Was it not Hashem, He against whom we have sinned? They did not wish to go in His ways and did not listen to His Torah.”

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanaya said: “I am certain that his boy will render legal decisions in Yisrael. I swear by the avoda of the Beis Hamikdash that I am not budging from here until I have redeemed him for whatever price they demand for him”.

It was said the Rav Yehoshua did not move from there until he redeemed the boy with a large sum of money. And it was not more than a short time before he became a Torah authority in Yisrael. And who was he? Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha.


The story of the 10 Martyrs – עשרה הרוגי מלכות

It was Rav Yishmael to ascended to heaven to verify their heavenly decree to be killed leshem shamayim. The Roman executioners daughter was overtaken with Rav Yishmael’s beauty and asked for his skin to be removed from his face ! Her plan was to stuff is like a mannequin for gazing pleasure. Rav Yishmael was skinned alive and he screamed out only they reached the place of his tefillin.

The same Gemara in Gittin (58a) then relates to us the story of the fate of Rav Yismael’s children.



תלמוד גיטין נח.

…there was a story in which the son and daughter of Rav Yishmael ben Elisha were caputured [after the churban Beis Hamikdash] and sold to two masters. Sometime later the two masters met each other in a certain place. This one said I have a beautiful slaveעבד . The other one said I have a shifcha who is most beautiful. They said come lets marry them and we will divide their children [like animals]. They brought them to a room. He stayed in one corner of the room and she remained in the other corner.

He said, “I am the son of Kohanim Gedolim, how can I marry a shifcha?

She said, “I am the daughter of a Kohen Gadol, how can I marry a slave?”

They both cried the entire night. When the morning broke, they recognized each other [as brother and sister] and cried upon each other until they both died.

In reference to them Yirmiyahu lamented “over these people I weep, my eye, my eye runs with water. על אלה אני בוכיה, עיני עיני ירדה מים (איכה א:טז).

These children of the Kohen Gadol, Rav Yishmael ben Elisha, should have been the Gadol Hador and the prominent wife of one of the Gedolim, respectively. Instead, they were sold as slaves and treated like animals for breeding. This was a chilul Hashem. We can only cry of the chillul Hashem that was caused.

In some ways the tragedy of the survivors is just as bad as the victims. This is also the story of the 7th Million of the Holocaust. The survivors of the Holocaust in many ways suffered as well. My grandma, Helen Farkas, now age 92 is an Auschwitz survivor. When I lived in her house she would scream out in her sleep every night.

Her story was that she was taken from her home in Rumania Erev Shabbos 1944, with two challos on hand. Prior to this, a Mr. Kastner with Ben Gurion made a deal with Eichman, to allow a 1,684 Jews including the Satmar Rav Yoe Teitelbaum, from the St. Mary (Satmar) area to escape on a train to safety in exchange for trucks supplies. In exchange, Mr. Kastner would guarantee to keep Jews, like my family fooled, into thinking they were just going to a “summer” camp. When she got of the train in Auschwitz she threw the loaves to several starving Jews behind a fence. At that moment, she got hit in the face by the butt of a rifle from a Nazi soldier. My Grandma related that she never forgot the pain of that wack. Welcome to Auschwitz!

After that incident she proceeded with her parents into a selection line headed by a cruel German known as the “Dr. of death” – Mengele. He held her face in his hand and looked it over thoroughly and stated that it would be a shame to waster her. She had blond hair and blue eyes, which he stated is a gift of Aryan features. At that moment he sent her to one side of the selection and her parent in the opposite direction. That was the last time my Grandmother saw her parents. They went straight to the gas chambers and were thus murdered moments later. My grandma Helen survived Auchwitz and that is why I am here today with my seven children in Eretz Hakodesh. She once told me that horse meat does not taste bad when one is starving. She still lives with the horrors to this day at age 92 in Parker Jewish Home for the Aged in Queens New York. However, now she had the gift of dementia which makes such memories less painful.

Our job today on Tisha B’Av is not to forget. But rather amidst the destruction בשאיה, to remember, to cry, to weep בוכיה, lament אריד , and moan אהימה .

Why did all of this suffering occur? Rav Yishmael knew the answer as a young man in prison:

“הלוא ה’ זו חטאנו לו, ולא אבו בדרכיו הלוך ולא שמעו בתורתו”

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA, made Aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He received his Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also an active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Dr. Pelta is currently a full time Senior Surgeon practicing in Laniado Hospital (Netanya); specializing in the surgical care of all colorectal diseases.
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