Many people know the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza
in the Talmud (Gittin 55b-56a). Traditionally, it is taught that it was sinat chinam
, baseless hatred, as exhibited by these two individuals that lead to the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. However, if you actually read the text, there is a debate between the Rabbis and R. Zechariah b. Abkulas:
The Rabbis were inclined to offer it in order not to offend the Government. Said R. Zechariah b. Abkulas to them: People will say that blemished animals are offered on the altar. They then proposed to kill Bar Kamza so that he should not go and inform against them, but R. Zechariah b. Abkulas said to them, Is one who makes a blemish on consecrated animals to be put to death?
The last word is given to R. Yochanan who utters the following phrase:
אמר רבי יוחנן ענוותנותו של רבי זכריה בן אבקולס החריבה את ביתנו ושרפה את היכלנו והגליתנו מארצנו. Through the scrupulousness of R. Zechariah b. Abkulas our House has been destroyed, our Temple burnt and we ourselves exiled from our land.