The Jewish Eye
Story of The Churban - Part 14
Part 14: Titus Vs. The Gnat - Just Desserts
When Titus had traveled back to Rome on a ship with the keilim of the Bais Hamikdash and Jewish captives, a fierce storm began, and the ship was in danger of capsizing. Titus said, "It seems that the Jewish God only has power in the sea. He drowned Pharoah in the sea and Sisra as well. Now He wishes to drown me in the sea, too. If He wants to show His strength, let Him come up on dry land and fight with me there."
A heavenly voice said, "Brute, son of a brute. I have a tiny creature, a gnat. Go up on dry land and fight against the gnat."
When Titus alit from the ship, a gnat flew into his nose, and gnawed at his brain. He suffered from it for seven years. One day, as he was walking on the street, the banging from a blacksmith's shop calmed down the gnat. Titus was relieved that he had found the answer for his pain. Every day, a blacksmith was brought to hammer in his presence, and calm down the gnat. The gentile blacksmiths were reimbursed for their time, unlike the Jewish blacksmiths. Titus, said, "For the Jew it is enough that he sees the revenge against his enemy." Sadly for Titus, the gnat soon adjusted to the noise of the hammering, and continued to attack his brain despite the noise. Chazal say that when Titus died, a gnat the size of a large dove was found inside his brain.
Titus, who died suddenly at the age of forty, had given orders before he died that his body should be burned, and his ashes scattered over the seven seas. He reasoned that this would prevent the Jewish God from finding him and punishing him for afflicting His nation. Titus caused a desecration of Hashem's name when he destroyed the Bais Hamikdash, and exiled the Jews. People said, "The God of this nation had wrought many miracles. He took them out of Egypt and drowned Pharaoh and his armies in the sea. He did the same to Sisra." When the nations heard about the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, and the exile of the Jews, they came to the conclusion that Hashem must have been powerless to save the Jews this time.
Titus, and the Roman nation have long since faded into oblivion. The powerful Romanempire was ultimately obliterated by a primitive nation. The Jewish people, who were oppressed, murdered, and scattered to the four corners of the world, live on until this day.
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