Save for Jerusalem, the other cities and villages of Judea are not significantly fortified. They are therefore easily subdued. The Romans then deliberately linger and wait for the inner struggles of Jerusalem to weaken its people even further. Vespasian once again leaves Caesarea in the spring of 68 AD and proceeds to conquer Antipatris, Lod, Jaffa, and Yavne. Transjordan and Samaria soon follow suit. Bethel and the country of Ephraim – which are under the command of Simon bar Giora – also fall. Except for a few isolated fortresses under control of the zealots – such as Masada and Machaerus – Jerusalem is the last bastion of the Jewish revolt. Vespasian can now array his army around the walls of Jerusalem and prepare for a long siege. Meanwhile, the inner struggles inside the city claim many victims and continuously reduce the defender’s storages of food and weapons.
The Romans, knowing that the Temple is the source of God’s blessings and light on earth, cunningly prepare to destroy it.
“So they threw down all the hedges and walls which the inhabitants had made about their gardens and groves of trees, and cut down all the fruit trees that lay between them and the wall of the city, and filled up all the hollow places and the chasms, and demolished the rocky precipices with iron instruments; and thereby made all the place level from Scopus to Herod’s monuments, which adjoined to the pool called the Serpent’s Pool” (Josephus Flavius, The Jewish Wars, Book 5, Chapter 3, paragraph 2)
Saintliness is achieved when we overcome negativity and possess absolute certainty that the light of the Creator informs every thought and every deed.