The Jewish Eye
Story of The Churban - Part 5
Part 5: The Roman Attack Creates Unity Among the Jews After The Pesach Bloodbath
Titus, the newly appointed commander of the siege against Yerushalayim marched to Yerushalayim with an army of 80,000 soldiers. The Roman army was within the sight of the city, but inside the city the various factions continued to contend with each other. The Tzadokim, headed by Shimon bar Giora, controlled the Lower City, and the Zealots controlled Har Habayis. Within the group of Zealots, there was yet another faction led by Elazar ben Shimon. This was a faction of moderates who opposed the extreme Zealots led by Yochanan of Gush Chalav. The moderates were situated within the Bais Hamikdash itself, and the extremists were in between Elazer and the moderates, and the Tzadokim in the city.
Many Jews, at the risk of their lives, had decided to be come up to Yerushalayim for Pesach despite the swiftly approaching Roman army. The moderates actually opened the gates of the Bais Hamikdash and allowed the Jews to bring the Pesach korbanos. The extremist also entered the Bais Hamikdash disguised as peaceful Jews. Once inside, they revealed the swords they had hidden on their bodies, and opened warfare on the moderates. They began murdering the moderates as well as innocent Jews. The moderates became frightened of the panic and murder among the hordes of Jews in the Bais Hamikdash, and they did not fight back. The extremist now controlled the entire area of the Bais Hamikdash.
The Romans began engaging in active warfare the day after Pesach. The conflicting Jewish factions finally joined together to fight the common enemy. The eastern part of the wall was defended by Yochanan and his men, and the remaining parts were defended by Shimon bar Giora and his men.
The Romans assaulted the northern wall with their battering rams. Their catapults hurled stones into the city. The Jewish warriors counteracted by hurling stones and burning torches onto the Romans. After fifteen days of warfare, on the seventh day of Iyar, the Romans breached the third outer wall. After continued fighting, they breached the second wall, and the new city was now controlled by the Romans. The Romans burned all the houses and stones, and prepared to attack the Old City.
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