Although we read Eichah on the night of Tishah B’Av, the destruction of the First Temple tends to be overshadowed by a discussion of the destruction of the Second Temple. It is only natural to address what is closer in time and what directly affects us. However, I would argue that in many respects the destruction of the First Beis Hamikdash (Temple) was a greater loss.

Last week I wrote about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Someone contacted me to tell me that they were born on that very day, July 20, 1969, at the time Neil Armstrong was stepping onto the moon. He stepped onto the moon at 10:56 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, more than six and a half hours after they landed on the moon.

It is written in the Talmud (Gittin 55b) that the Second Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred. The Talmud mentions an incident involving Bar Kamtza and an unnamed individual who hated each other. This man had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy named Bar Kamtza. One day the man made a banquet. The man’s attendant accidently invited Bar Kamtza, who accepted the invitation and went to the banquet. When the host saw Bar Kamtza he asked him, “Why you are here? You are my enemy. Get up and get out.” Bar Kamtza offered to pay for his meal, then for half of the banquet, and finally the entire banquet. His requests were refused. The host grabbed hold of Bar Kamtza and threw him out. The rabbis were there and did not rebuke the man. Bar Kamtza subsequently went to the Caesar and told him that the Jews are rebelling.

Fifty years ago, there was such respect for the American flag that it was considered disrespectful to wear the flag on any clothing. Therefore, those who wanted to protest the Vietnam War and other “progressives” would wear clothing with the flag.

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