When the Romans decided to wreak their vengeance upon the Jewish People, the slaughter of tens of thousands of Jews wasn’t enough. Their goal was to totally eradicate the Torah. To achieve that goal they instituted a decree: Anyone caught learning or teaching Torah would be put to death. Rabi Chutzpit the Interpreter was one of the Ten Martyrs the Romans arrested and killed, and whose death we recall on Yom Kippur, during the reading of the moving piyyut Eleh Ezkerah.
Rabi Chutzpit lived at a time when hope was in short supply. The Beit HaMikdash had been destroyed. Jerusalem was in ruins. Although Rabi Yochanan ben Zakkai had established a flourishing yeshiva in Yavneh and reestablished the Sanhedrin, there were those who doubted that the Torah way of life could withstand the blow dealt to the nation. Without Jerusalem and the Beit HaMikdash, the heart and soul of the Jewish people, what was the point? How could Torah survive?
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