From 134 to 135 AD

- י י ל -

The Siege of Beitar

From 134 to 135 AD

The revolt reaches its fourth and final stage. The independent Jewish territory is reduced to only a few miles. The Romans are now able to encircle the small enclave of Beitar – which has become the rebellion’s headquarters due to its proximity to Jerusalem, the abundant springs in its nearby hills, and the fact that it stretches along a mountain range that serves as a natural fortification. When Severus’ army arrives in the area, they set up camp, block all the roads, and erect a circumvallation wall. Following a prolonged siege, Beitar finally falls and most of its residents and defenders are killed. A small group of refugees flee to the desert and find shelter in the caves of Ein Gedi and cliffs along the shore of the Dead Sea. (Modern-day archaeologists have found weapons and scrolls documenting the fate of these refugees.) The Romans follow their rivals into the area and many are killed.

The Romans send massive reinforcement into Judea. However, Bar Kokhba’s warriors do not surrender. Instead, they continue to fortify key points throughout the land. Their adherence to their principles outweighs any personal profit. Following the bloody revolt and spiritual struggle, the rebels leave their bodies. However, their Jewish spirit is preserved and rises again – this time, in a new place. The rebels’ losses pave the way for spiritual growth and prosperity in the Galilee.

 “But in the eighteenth year of the reign of Adrian, when the war had reached its height at the city of Bitthera, a very strong fortress not very far from Jerusalem, the siege was continued for some time, and the revolters were driven to the last extreme by hunger and famine” (Eusebius, Eccelsiastical History, Book 4, Chapter 6, section 3)

Devotion combines self-discovery with love; as we discover our life’s purpose, we devote ourselves to others and to our cause.