With starvation now descending on Jerusalem, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, the rabbinical leader of the Jewish community, contacted Abba Sikra, literally translated as "Head of the Sicarii," who was, ironically, Rabbi Yochanan's nephew. The Sicarii were an organized group of Biryonim and provide the origins of the term by which the modern-day aggressors are known.Rabbi Yochanan sought a truce to stop the Sicarii from their acts of violence and allow him to plea with the Romans to end the deadly siege. Abba Sikra's telling response was, "What can I do? If I say anything against the Biryoni agenda, they will kill me!" Despite Abba Sikra's presumed leadership, it was sham - he didn't lead, and no one else did.When the Torah is returned to the Ark, we recite (Proverbs 3:17-18) the verse "Etz chaim hi," which compares the Torah to a "living tree" because, regardless of how circumstances may change, it is relevant throughout all generations. We continue by affirming that "its ways are ways of pleasantness, and its pathways are those of peace."
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"Is It Devotion or Extremism? Putting the Israeli Religious Conflict in Context"Please download to view full document