The Three Weeks

The Prophecy Shall Come True

July 19, 2011

The Talmud, on the last page of the Makkot tractate (24b) relates a story about Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Yehoshua, and Rabbi Akiva who were on their way up to Jerusalem.

Upon approaching the Temple Mount, the rabbis saw a fox emerging from the location of the Holy of Holies. Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah and Rabbi Yehoshua began to cry, Rabbi Akiva began to laugh.

“How can you laugh?” the three rabbis asked in horror. “How can you cry?” Rabbi Akiva answered.

“The place that decries a death penalty on any stranger who comes near it (the Holy of Holies in the Temple) now has foxes prowling it – how could we not cry?” exclaimed the three.

“That’s exactly why I’m laughing!” Rabbi Akiva said.

“All the time that I had not seen Uriah’s prophecy of destruction (Micha 3:12) come true, I was afraid that the redemptive prophecy of Zacharia “old men and woman shall yet again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem…and the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zacharia 8:4) would not be fulfilled.

“You are right Akiva. You are right and you have consoled us,” answered the rabbis twice…