Sefer Hamaassiyot [Gaster, 1924]: exemple 70 pp.42-46 du texte hébreu

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(En.) The story of Kamsta and Bar Kamsta and the fall of Jerusalem. A man had company and had invited Bar Kamtsa who was his ennemy by mistake. He afterwards turned him out in spite of his offer to pay all the expenses of the feast rather than to be put to shame. Then Bar Kamtsa went and denounced the Jews to the Emperor as having rebelled and as proof he asserted that they would refuse to accept an offering sent to the Temple. A lamb was sent which he mutilated on the way, in a manner not offensive to the Roman sacrificial laws but contrary to those of the Jews. For the sake of peace the Jews were inclined to offer it up, but Zachariah ben Abqulos prevented it as being contrary to the law. Legions of Romans came to Jerusalem. The General shot arrows at the corners and they all fell into Jerusalem. Asking a boy to say his verse the boy repeated the verse Ezek.25,14. This so impresses him that he became frightened and resigned the command, turned Jew, and became the progenitor of Rabbi Meir. Then was Aspasianos sent, and the siege lasted for years. There were three rich men in Jerusalem: Nakdimon ben Gorion, Ben Kalba-Sabua, and Ben Tsitsit Hakaset who would have been able to provide Jerusalem with food during the whole siege but that the revolutionnary party burned their stores in order that they might fight to the bitter end. The famine increased terribly and the people died in the streets. Then Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai was smuggled by a ruse out of the town. Johanan went to the General who received him harshly. Yohanan greeted as Emperor. Soon afterwards the message of his election came. He was just then putting on his sandals, but he could not get the one on the second foot and he asked Rabbi Yohanan the reason, who said the good news has so elated him that his body had swollen up; let an ennemy come before him and the foot would soon shrink to his normal size. The Emperor asked him why he had not come before. He replied that the rebels would not alow him to. Then he was asked: " IÏf a snakeis wrapped around a cask of honey, do you not break the cask?" But he did not know the answer which should have been: " one takes pincers and lifts the snake away and so frees the cask without breaking it." The Emperor asked him what favour he could shew him and he merely asked to be allowed to settle in Yabne and that Rabbi Tsadok be cured, who had fasted 40 years to avert the desrtruction of Jerusalem and become a skeleton in consequence, This was granted to him. Then was sent Titus the Wicked. He went blasphemously into the Temple and committed an immoral act on the scroll of the Law; then he took a sword and pierced the curtain in the middle of the Temple and by a miracle drps of blood oozed out. He said: " Now I have killed their God." When he returned with all the spoil of the Temple a storm arose on the high seas and he said:" The power of their God is only in the waters. He has drowned Pharaoh ans Sisera and now He wants to drown me. Let Him come and fight me on dry land." And a voice came and said: " O thou wicked one! Anyone of my small creatures will suffice to war against thee." When he landed an insect got into his nostrils and from there to his brain and it gnawed for seven years. One day he passed a smith and the noise of the hammer silenced the insect. Then he called smiths who had continually to hammer; when the smith happened to be a heathen he paid 400 zuzim but when it was a Jew he said to him: " It is enough for thee to see the vengeance on your ennemy." and paid him nothing. After a time the insect got accustomed to the noise of the hammers and there was no longer any relief. On his death he ordered his body to be burned and the ashes to be strewn over seven seas so that the God of the Jews should not be able to find him. (Gaster, 67- 69)
(Fr.) Histoire de Kamtsa et Bar-Kamtsa et de la prise de Jérusalem par les Romains. Un homme appelé Kamtsa avait invité ses amis à un banquet et par erreur invité également son ennemi Bar-Kamtsa. Ce dernier se présentant à la porte fut repoussé; ses propositions de payer toutes les dépenses du banquet à la condition qu’on ne luit fasse pas honte furent repoussées également. Pour se venger, il alla dénoncer les juifs comme rebelles à l’Empereur. Comme preuve de leur rébellion, il lui assura qu’ils refuseraient de sacrifier une bête envoyée par lui. Lorsque l’agneau de l’Empereur arriva, Bar-Kamtsa le mutila d’une façon qui n’offense pas les Romains, mais qui était inaceptable pour les Juifs. Effectivement, ils refusèrent de le sacrifier et des légions romaines furent envoyées à Jérusalem. Le premier général en chef se convertit au judaïsme. Ce fut le tour de Vespasien d’assiéger la ville, et Jérusalem fur ravagée par la famine et les luttes internes. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai réussit à s’enfuir de la ville et à approcher Vespasien et obtint grâce à son intelligence le droit de résider à Yabne et d’étudier la Torah. Vespasien nommé empereur, ce fut Titus le Méchant qui fut envoyé pour détruire la ville. Il pénétra dans le temple, profana le sanctuaire et le pilla. Sur le chemin du retour vers Rome, il tourna le Dieu des Juifs en dérision. Aussitôt débarqué, un moustique s’enfonça dans ses narines, et arriva au cerveau et le tortura pendant sept ans. A sa mort, il donna l’ordre de brûler son corps et de disperser les cendres dans sept mers différentes, pour que le Dieu des Juifs ne puisse le retrouver.

L’histoire de Kamtsa et Bar-Kamtsa est racontée dans le Talmud et reprise dans le Midrach de nombreuses fois. Elle est souvent lue le jour du 9 ab, jour de la destruction du Temple et un proverbe connu y fait allusion: " A cause de la haine gratuite (de Kamtsa) Jérusalem fut détruite" . La référence de Gaster qui donne le numéro 4871 de Tubach ne correspond pas à l’histoire racontée ici. Le seul point commun est la santé de Titus, mais dans la version juive, il n’est pas guéri, mais au contraire meurt à cause d’un moustique.



Tubach Frederic C., 1969. Index exemplorum. A Handbook of medieval religious tales, Helsinki.:

  • #4871 : Titus, health restored. A man restored the health of Titus by making him angry. Cf. Alpha # 338; Enx (G) # 133; Pauli # 358; Recull # 291.– Gaster # 70; Toldo, Archiv. CXVIII, p. 336 n. (© Frederic C. Tubach)
Related worksTextes apparentésVerwandte TexteTesti correlatiTextos relacionados:
  • Traité Gittin, 55b et 57a.
  • Midrash Rabba ed. pr. Constantinople, 1512, Vilna, 1891(Lamentations,4,3)
  • Sur le thème du moustique:Genèse,10,7; Lévitique 22,3; Nombres 18,22; Ecclésiaste,5,8
  • Aboab Isaac, 1544. Menorat Hamaor, Venice.
  • Mahon Hamidrash Hamefoar, Jérusalem, 1988, ch.302
  • Midrash Tanhuma, ed. Lemberg, 1871 (Nombres, Hukkat,1)
  • Genèse, Berechit, 25; Deutéronome, Haazinu, 946.
  • Genèse, Berechit, 25; Deutéronome, Haazinu, 946.
Manuscripts / editionsManuscrits / éditionsManuskripte / AuflagenManoscritti / edizioniManuscritos / ediciones:
  • Gaster Moses, 1924. The Exempla of the Rabbis, being a collection of exempla, apologues and tales culled from hebrew manuscripts and rare hebrew books, Londres-Leipzig.

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