Soon after we entered the Three Weeks, the Jewish annual period of mourning, the Daf Yomi cycle reached Gittin 55 from where, over several dafs, some of the most famous aggadot concerning the Destruction and Exile are located – a timely reminder for us of what is at stake in the present troubled times.
The segment opens with Rabbi Yochanan wondering, what is an illustration of the line from Proverbs: “Fortunate is the man that always fears [the consequence of his actions]; and he that hardens his heart will come to harm”? (Proverbs 28:14)
Three incidents are listed – as a result of the matter of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, Jerusalem was destroyed; as a result of the matter of a rooster and a hen, Har HaMelech was destroyed; as a result of the matter of the side of a carriage, Beitar was destroyed.
The line from the Artscroll Schottenstein commentary, attributed to Tosafot, drawn from Maharal, should immediately make us stop and think:
“In each of these episodes, people acted recklessly, complacently assuming that their current state of relative peace and prosperity would continue. They failed to consider that since they had sinned, their fortunes might change for the worse”.
Is this not us today? Is our generation of Jews not in a better position than any generation in 2,000 years since the Destruction? Are we as a nation not blessed with constant miracles to survive, let alone thrive, 10 million among 500 million? Are our enemies not still surrounding us, even, as we see in the North, literally massing at our borders, that we can feel so complacent? Does our Torah not emphasize unity against division time and again?
What words can even begin to describe the magnitude of recklessness that has been unleashed by Israel’s politicians right now? What level of disgrace, even chillul Hashem, on us that so many of them are apparently religious?