Throughout the second stage of the revolt, Bar Kokhba conquers significant areas of Judea, including Lod in the west and Be’er Sheva in the south. (Though some historians claim that Jerusalem was also liberated, the ruined state of the capital was the very factor motivating the Romans to construct a new pagan city and the Jews’ resultant insurrection.) The revolt soon spreads across both sides of the Jordan River. Bar Kokhba establishes a rigorous, centralized regime of universal conscription and harsh punishments for defectors. Other known policies include the return of confiscated lands to their former Jewish owners, minting of coins as a symbol of Judea’s sovereignty, the declaration of Hebrew (rather than Aramaic) as the official language, and the establishment of a new calendar – beginning the year of the revolt’s outbreak. Bar Kokhba moreover fortifies strategic locations in preparation of the Roman attacks.
Bar Kokhba establishes his authority and expands his sphere of influence. He has complete faith in the victory of spirit and works fearlessly to bring his lofty ideas to fruition. However, this year of independence will soon become a memory of freedom – accompanying the Jewish people throughout 2000 years of exile. So too, the suppression of the revolt will accompany the Jewish people – in that the nation will thereafter choose to invest their efforts in study and spirituality, rather than in physical struggles.
“From Simeon ben Kosiba to Yeshua ben Galgoula and to the men of the fort, peace! I take heaven to witness against me that unless you mobilise the Galileans who are with you every man, I will put fetters upon your feet as I did to ben Aphlul.” Letter from Bar Kokhba to his deputy, Yeshua ben Galgoula
Fearlessness is not needing to “find the courage”, because we already have it; certainty in the Creator’s love enables us to be fearless.