The failure, however, of the military rebellions against the Romans in the early centuries of the Common Era – the finality of Exile - and the attendant rise of Rabbinic Judaism to a position of pre-eminence in the Jewish world transformed both the reality and the perspective on power.

There was, from this time onwards, a deliberate downplaying of the military tradition which had formed, at least in part, the Jewish self-image for centuries. The dominant streams in the Rabbinic world sought to refashion the concept of acceptable Jewish behaviour, and to emphasise the idea of the Jew as a person who accepts the will of G-d as the defining factor in life.

- G-d decides on the fate of Jews individually and collectively, and Jews can – and should – try and influence their fate by doing what G-d truly wants them to do.
- The way to this is through study, prayer and detailed and meticulous Halachic observance.
- To do anything else – to fight actively to try and change G-d’s decrees – was to challenge G-d and that, of course, for the Rabbis, was absolutely unacceptable and indeed unthinkable.




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31 May 2005 / 22 Iyar 5765 0