I would like to know what exactly this sinat chinam looked like. What did they "hate" about each other? I feel like the answer to this would be better if it gave a full picture of the state of the Jewish nation at that time: what they were doing, how they were divided and united, any specific politics going on... stuff like that.

So hence I ask for a historical account, as full and rich as possible. It doesn't have to be contemporary to the times, could be a later traditional historian with enough weight to be included as a source here at Mi Yodeya. It doesn't have to be a historian, as even more ideal would be a work by one of our Chazal at any point in time since then.

Failing all that, a collection of whatever short (or long?) mentions there of these matters in our sources would also be a wonderful answer.

Note: the reason I am asking this is to try to understand the religious ethical and halachic connotations of sinat chinam, as well as understand ahavat Yisrael and ahavat chinam better. There are many essays on these topics, but I would really like to come at this topic from the angle of looking at the zeitgeist of the times directly, in this question.

Also, the idea of Achdut is floating around right now like a pleasant breeze, BH and it would be nice to gather information relevant to that.

  • 1
    Maybe Josephus?
    – Shmuel
    Oct 11, 2023 at 20:06
  • @Shmuel indeed maybe. Any specific works or passages, or good summaries relevant to my question?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Oct 11, 2023 at 20:08
  • I only found some regarding some groups taking revenge on the Romans, but nothing specifically on sinas chinam.
    – Shmuel
    Oct 11, 2023 at 20:24
  • Thanks for looking, not asking you or anyone to go read Josephus for me, just asking if anyone knows in general
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Oct 11, 2023 at 20:28
  • The Kamtza/BarKamtza Gemara in Gittin is pretty solid about this ... additionally, the Netziv has a famous comment about everyone deciding the other guy was a heretic and therefore their lives were forfeit ...
    – Shalom
    Oct 11, 2023 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


In Talmudic times, there were bitter divisions in the Land of Israel, some religious and some political. The Pharisees preached the Oral Law and emphasized the World to Come. The Sadducees did not accept the Oral law, did not believe in the World-to-Come, and were by and large wealthy aristocrats. There was a monastic sect called the Essenes. There were Christians and followers of other would-be Messiahs. Many Jews were Hellenized or Romanized, secular in their outlook, while others exhibited very intense religious fervor. There were Jews who opposed an uprising against the Roman occupiers, and among them were spies and collaborators. And there were many Jews who encouraged an uprising, among whom three different factions of Zealots, or kana-im.

The difference between what caused the fall of the First Temple and what caused the fall of the Second Temple is that in First Temple days, the people sinned out in the open, then repented. In Second Temple days, the people sinned in their hearts, and did not repent. Rashi says that the Second Temple sinners practiced wickedness clandestinely. The Maharsha adds that they harbored senseless hatred in their heart, but in public they ate and drank in a congenial manner with those they hated.

The Sources also offer definitions. Rashi says that “senseless hatred” is hatred of people who have not committed any action justifying the hatred. [Rashi on Shabbat 32b] So when does the hatred make sense? You may bear ill will towards someone if you witnessed him engaging in an act forbidden by the Torah. [Pesaḥim 113b] However, you must assist him quickly, before assisting those you love [so that the ill will does not turn to hatred.] [Bava Metzia 32b] Now, how do you know that you have reached the point of hatred? A hater [שונא soné] is someone who does not speak to his fellow for three days because of enmity between them. [Sanhedrin 27b]

  • Wow. Do you have any lectures on these topics I can watch?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Oct 11, 2023 at 23:52
  • Sorry, no.-------- Oct 12, 2023 at 3:46

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