Your RDA of Irony

Temple Fugit

And now with the appropriate fanfare of shofars—

According to the inexplicable Jewish calendar, tonight begins Tish B’Av, a time of mourning and avoidance of Italian food. On this day, both the First and the Second Temple were destroyed.

In 586 B.C.J.(Before Cousin Jesus) Iraq–alias Babylonia–really did have weapons of mass destruction, and they were used on Jerusalem. The First Temple, the one built by King Solomon, was leveled.

The Babylonians got their comeuppance from the Persians in 538 BCJ. Contrary to the Greek propaganda, the Persians were pretty nice guys and let their Jewish subjects rebuilt the Temple in 515 BCJ. This was the Second Temple.

It was nothing fancy. The Jews couldn’t afford much and there was that prohibition of graven images. Herodotus didn’t consider Jerusalem worth a visit; in fact, all he said of the province was that the people were obsessed with circumcision.

Persia was overthrown by Alexander; the Hellenistic kingdoms were conquered by the Romans, and the Jews remained obsessed with circumcision and the theology attached to it. Rome subcontracted Judea to a clever fiend named Herod. Trying both to impress his Roman masters and to ingratiate himself with his Jewish victims, Herod undertook a major expansion of the Second Temple in 19 BCJ. The wily ruler built the expanded structure in such a way that it could double as a fortress–in case the Jews were not that grateful to him.

Ironically, the Jews were very grateful and used the Temple for their last-stand in the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD (Anno Domination). Of course, the Romans were neither tactful nor sentimental, so they destroyed the Second Temple too. The Arch of Titus in Rome commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Jewish nation.

Gosh, I guess we didn’t take the hint.

  1. Bob Kincaid says:

    There’s just no pleasing some people!

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      The first rebellion was during the reign of Nero. So, you could ask why the other provinces were not rebelling. Well, the Emperor actually was popular among the Greeks. The Roman plebeians did not care who provided them with bread and circuses; but the patricians resented subsidizing the mad and flamboyant emperor. Guess who commanded the armies? Ironically, suppressing the Jewish rebellion was considered drudgery in a grim land. So the assigned commander was a plebeian exception to the Old Boys network: Vespasian. Of course, once the patricians began slaughtering each other for the throne, Vespasian dispensed with the traditional decorum. And he did make a good Emperor.

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