Frustrated Hope

Frustrated Hope:

 

In the days of Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah the Roman government decreed that the Temple should be rebuilt. Pappus and Lulianus set up tables from Akko to Antioch and provided for the olim from the Diaspora. Those Kuthim then went and said to him: May the king know that if this city is built and the walls finished, they will not pay toll, tribute, and custom (Ezra 4:13). He replied: What is to be done, as I have already issued the decree? They said to him: Demand that they either change the site or change its size by 5 cubits larger or smaller. Then, they will give up the project on their own accord. A crowd gathered in the valley of Bet Rimon when the letters arrived. The people began to weep and considered rebelling against the government. Some said: Let a dependable sage get up and calm the people. They said: Let it be Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, since he is a great askolastika of the Torah. R. Joshua ben Hananiah arose and expounded (darshen-ed): Once a lion ate his prey and got a bone lodged in his throat. Said the lion: If anyone can get the bone out of my throat, he will get a reward. A heron came, stuck his beak down the lion’s throat and pulled out the bone. The heron said: Give me my reward. The lion said: Get out of here! Go and boast that you entered the lion’s mouth and got out safely. So it is with us. We ought to be satisfied that we entered into a relationship with this nation in peace, and we exited in peace.

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Rabbi Yehoshua ben Hananiah