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In his answer to the question Is there any evidence that Rabbi Akiva's students fought with Bar Kochba, Jake cites Y.T. Taanis 4:5 and M.R. Eicha 2:4 as sources for the position that Bar Kochba was choked to death by a snake in punishment for his sins. What were Bar Kochba's perceived sins and why was this punishment appropriate?

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See the Yerushalmi on Ta'anis that you mentioned - he killed R' Elazar HaModa'i. Also see the Midrash Rabba you mentioned - his followers prayed that HaShem should not intercede in their battles. – Fred Mar 7 '13 at 18:48

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