On Lev. 26:19, ושברתי את גאון עזכם - "I will break the pride of your strength," Rashi (citing Sifra) explains that this refers to the Beis Hamikdash.

But this is still fairly early on in the cycle of increasingly severe sins and punishments; it's two more cycles (vv. 21-22 and 23-26) before things get to the point of the Jews being besieged, and then still another (vv. 27ff) until the cities are destroyed and the Jews exiled, which is when the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. So why is the warning of this event placed so early, instead of somewhere around v. 30?

  • 2
    No time to look things up before Shabbat, but doesn't the Gemara (Gittin?) say that 40 (?) years before the Churban, the fire (?) stopped in the Mikdash and this prompted R Tzadok (?) to fast and pray to prevent the upcoming doom? Maybe this leaving of the Shechina is what is referred to.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 18, 2012 at 23:36
  • @DoubleAA is correct. The Jewish still thought since the Beis Hamikdash stood that they were safe not realizing that it was now just a house of stone.
    – user1292
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 1:18
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    @DoubleAA: Gittin 56a does tell about R. Tzadok's fasts, but without saying what prompted them. That is supplemented by Yoma 39b, which says that during those 40 years the various signs of Hashem's Presence in the Beis Hamikdash - the גורל של שם coming up in the Kohen Gadol's right hand, the strip of red wool turning white, the western light of the menorah staying lit - were absent, plus the gates of the Heichal would open on their own. Still, though, all of that fits better with וגעלה נפשי אתכם - זה סילוק שכינה (v. 30 and Rashi) than with ושברתי, which suggests physical destruction.
    – Alex
    Commented May 20, 2012 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Long before it was actually destroyed, it was looted.

The prophet Jeremiah kept knocking heads with the Jewish people about the Temple. For them it was "the pride of their stubbornness" -- well by golly if we still have the Temple standing, everything is going to be okay. Once the Temple was looted, that broke people's attitudes towards it as their stubborn pride, suddenly realizing how fragile it was -- even though the structure remained standing.

(As heard from my father.)

  • +1, interesting idea. But then, which instance of it being looted are we talking about? The first time was by Shishak, five years after Shlomo's death (I Kings 14:25-26 and II Chron. 12:9); the last one before the Churban was when Nevuchadnetzar exiled Yechonyah together with some of the treasures of the Beis Hamikdash (II Kings 24:13 and II Chron. 36:10), yet years after that people were still denying that Yirmiyahu's prophecies of destruction and exile would come true.
    – Alex
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 19:27

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