Read the skit about R. Yochanan ben Zakka.

Ghost of Rabbi Yochanan Baryonim (a baryon in modern Hebrew is a ‘bully.’ Narr Yehuda (Jewish civilian) Abba Sikra (Rebbe Yochanan’s nephew) START HERE: Ghost of Rabbi Yochanan: Let me tell you, lads, about a controversial story in my day. You won’t believe what I had to do… Narr: For three years, the Roman General Vespasian set siege to the city of Yerushalayim but was unable to get her to surrender. Ghost of Rabbi Yochanan: Armed resistance against the Romans is useless!! The Romans are too strong! There are too many of them and they have so much armor! We are not one, young David fighting against a giant Goliath! We are a few, untrained, people in a walled, besieged city! The Romans have legions and legions of soldiers prepared to die at any time! The only chance for survival is to make peace with them. Baryonim: Fool! We will fight against the mighty Roman army rather than surrender. Yerushalayim still has a large supply of oil, wine and wood and could easily hold out against an enemy siege! Perhaps if we burn our own stock, you will be forced to fight! Yehuda, Jewish civilian: You wouldn’t burn our oil or wine or wood! That’s suicide! Baryonim: Suicide? No, it’s fighting for freedom! Help us, or die a slave! We set fire to these storehouses in the hope that we will force you to fight the Roman enemy! Narr: Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai called his nephew, Abba Sikrah, who was the leader of this rebellious group and tried to reason with him. Rebbe Yochanan: "We'll all die if you continue this madness! Stop these foolish Baryonim! Abbah Sikrah: Holy Uncle, I am lost! I have lost all control of my followers! They listen to no one but their own radical ideas! I have nothing left to do! If I dare suggest that they make peace, they will … (slice a finger across your throat)! I myself am frightened of them! Rebbi Yochanan: Then please, Abbah Sikrah! Find a way to get me out of the city so that I may negotiate with the Roman general. Abba Sikrah: I’ve got an idea, Holy Uncle! Pretend you are very sick! Allow only your most trusted students into your room. Isolate yourself! After a few days let it be known that you have died. As you know, only the dead are permitted out of the city for burial! Rebbe Yochanan: That’s ridiculous. Abbah Sikrah: Have you got a better idea? This may be our only hope Rebbe Yochanan: I hope you’re right. OK, we’ll try it. Narr: The plan worked. Rebbe Yochanan’s death was announced. Rebbe Yochanan: Hashem should help us! Careful as you carry me out of the city! We could all die with one wrong move! Vespasian.

Yehuda and Abba Sikra: We’ll be careful, Rebbe! Hashem should help us! Pray for us inside your coffin! Quick, get in! Yehuda and Abba Sikra: We are Jews, carrying the coffin of our leader, the Holy Rebbe Yochanan ben Zakkai, out of the city for burial! Let us through, please! Narr: Outside the Roman general’s tent, Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakkai got ouf of the coffin and was granted entry. Upon entering into the general's presence, he bowed graciously and proclaimed Rebbe Yochanan: Blessed be you my King, blessed be you, my King! Narr The general looked at him in great anger and said Vespasian: You now deserve to be killed twice. Once, for addressing me as the king when I am only the general, and secondly , if it be true that I am the king then why did you not come earlier? Rebbe Yochanan: Undoubtedly you must be the King, because our prophets have prophesied that Yerushalayim will fall into the hands of a King! And the reason I haven't come earlier is because the Baryonim would not permit me to leave the city. Narr: At that very moment, a Roman nobleman arrived on horseback with an urgent message for the general. It stated that the king had died and that Vespasian had been proclaimed the new ruler. Vespasian was amazed at this turn of events and told Rebbi Yochanan, Vespasian: You must be very Holy, Rabbi, to have predicted these events! I grant you to make any request of me, and it will be granted. Ghost of Rebbi Yochanan: [This was a trick question, of course. If I would ask for too much, such as to spare the city of Jerusalem, I may get nothing at all. These Romans are out for our blood, for our Temple. I must be modest enough to achieve what I want, but bold enough that he not think me a friar.} Rebbe Yochanan: Holy Emporer, if I may make just three requests. One, spare the city of Yavneh and its great scholars. Two, that the leadership of the princely family of Rebbi Gamliel be allowed to continue! Three, that a doctor be given to heal the great Rebbi Tzodok, who is suffering from an ailment we cannot heal. Vespasian: Captains! Let this Holy Rebbe’s wishes be granted immediately!. *** Ghost of Rebbi Yochanan: You see the choice I had, lads? Some thought I was crazy! Knocked off my shtender! How could I not save the city of Yerushalayim, our holiest city, our Temple? I could have asked for some of our ‫ כלים‬of the ‫!בית המקדש‬ WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE? How that decision tore at my gut! But don't - don't judge me harshly. After all, the Mishna says ‫ - אל תדין את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו‬and how could you know what that felt like? Yes, we lost our Temple. Thousands died, women were raped, children killed. Many of my people thought life was over, that Hashem's greatness had left us forever. But look - look

what we saved! Our great Torah Sages! The Torah center moved! MOVED! After 440 years in Jerusalem, the center of Torah was moved to Yavneh, the sages were saved, and Jewish leadership continued. The study of Torah continued on! Where is it now? (Gittin 56) SHORT DISCUSSION AND VOTE ON YOUR DECISION! THEN GO TO WIKI AND LET US HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS!

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