I wouldn't have been so calm if I'd known what happened to Thomas and
Philippos the day they went looking for me. Mounted police stopped them and
searched them for weapons. They had none. They were let go.
When I heard about it I was shocked. Yehuda! I thought, he makes himself and
us suspicious, too often he disappeared into the night, too often he came
home with an empty purse, too often he rubbed his hands together. And he did
it with wrathful satisfaction.
Finally he could no longer keep the news to himself. He took me aside:
Miryam, our thing is becoming clear and active.
Our thing? What thing?
What thing? Listen: There's a great guy among the rebels. He has a head on
his shoulders, I tell you, and he has experience and an exact plan. He has
his people in his hand. He decides who's to be robbed, extorted, kidnapped,
killed next. He's clever: he never let's his people attack the Romans
directly, only Jews, only those who give the Romans a hand, or also even a
little finger. All Yerushalayim trembles. No matter how much the police
search for them, they aren't caught. They work in small groups without a
permanent base, sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes at night,
sometimes in broad daylight, and before they are even seen they disappear
with money and hostages. It's all according to the plan this head worked
out. And imagine: he never appears himself. Only a few of his people have
even seen him. It's as though he didn't exist. But he does. I've met him.
His name is Bar Abba.
How you admire him, Yehuda! You admire someone who uses violence. Why don't
you desert to him? This Bar Abba is close to your heart! That's a man,
right? Completely different from our rabbi. Say it openly! Why are you still
Yehuda lowered his head.
Shall I tell you, Yehuda? Because you've gotten it into your head that the
rabbi is Yisrael's liberator, he, and no other. But if it's not that way?
He lifted his head high. Can't you bear to see me happy?
Yehuda! You aren't happy. You are deathly unhappy, and on the false path,
and you have blocked the right one. You choose Bar Abba instead of Yeshua.
You choose violence and destruction instead of peace.
He stopped listening to me, he walked away. How he fled from his own
knowledge! How he fell head over heels into the abyss, which he had dug
himself. Should I have spoken to the rabbi about him? Shouldn't he have
forced him to decide? I said nothing. Let the weeds grow with the wheat. I
had no right to judge.
Frank Thomas Smith