Video: The Tragic Misunderstanding Of Kamtza & Bar Kamtza


shloime-pollack[Video below.] Could this have happened to us?

Are the characters is this story all unusually wicked with uncontrollable tempers?

Is there a lesson for us to learn in our lives?

It would seem there is more to the story….

Rav Yochanan (Gitten 55b) prefaces the story of Kamtza & Bar Kamtza with words from Mishlei/ Proverbs, “אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד,” which Rashi explains to mean, “Praised is the man who is constantly concerned of the outcomes of his actions, thus assuring that there won’t be a terrible outcome…”

This presentation was delivered by Rabbi Shloime Pollak of Lakewood, NJ.


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  1. R’ Shloime,

    Nice darher.

    Lfi anayis daati, though, Bar Kamtsa’s gripe and his subsequent actions were primarily rooted in and triggered by “since the rabanun did not protest etc…” See this past weeks haftora “ashrei chumutz etc..”

    v’dai l’maivin

  2. Good point “Tam”,

    With this explanation we understand how it was that the “Rabonun” did in fact remain silent, and why Bar Kamtza felt what seemed to him to be callous indifference, was unacceptable.

    The Rabonun, like the host, thought that Bar Kamtza showed up to sabotage the event. Under such circumstance, insisting that he should leave is appropriate, so the Rabonun remained silent.

    Bar Kamtza CORRECTLY interpreted the silence of the Rabonun, as agreeing to the hosts actions. He was correct to assume that had they disagreed, they would not have sat by silently….

    Bar Kamtza that knew he was invited, unfortunately thought that all were in on this big scheme….. to have him show up and publicly shoved out.

  3. What is never emphasized in this story is that this guest was spying for the Romans and the rabbis and tzadikim sitting there knew this. This is the basic reason for their odd behavior.


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