Section: Moadim   Category: Story of The Churban
Part 10: The Soul Of the Nation Is Destroyed As The Bais HaMikdash Goes Up In Flames

In the morning of the ninth of Av, the Sanctuary still stood, although the adjacent walls had been burned.  The starved and fatigued Jewish warriors, who were far outnumbered by the Romans, continued to drive off the Romans.  However, the time of reckoning had come.  Hashem removed His protection from the holiest spot on earth, leaving it vulnerable to the Romans.

 The Romans had set fire to the gates of the Bais Hamikdash, which had been tightly sealed by the Zealots.  The silver covering the gates melted, and the wood burned.  When the gates had been obliterated, the path to the Kodesh Kodeshim was revealed.  The next day, the Romans ignited the golden gate of the Kodesh Kodeshim itself.  The gate melted and caved in, and the Kodesh Kodeshim was revealed.  This happened on Tisha B'Av, the same day the Bavlim violated the Kodesh Kodeshim of the first Bais Hamikdash, four hundred and ninety years earlier. 

The Jews frantically tried to prevent the fire from spreading, unsuccessfully.  A great cry arose as the Jews saw their beloved Bais Hamikdash go up in flames.  Some Jews could not bear the thought of life without it, and threw themselves into the flames.

The Romans ran to the site, and ruthlessly ransacked whatever they could.  Every Jew in the vicinity was murdered in cold blood including women and children.    There were so many Jews killed that the floor of the Bais Hamikdash was completely hidden by the bodies.  The sounds of screaming and moaning filled the air, mingling with the sound of crashing as the walls of the Bais Hamikdash caved in to the ground.  Blood streamed across the floor of the Bais Hamikdash down the eastern steps.  The famished Jews of the Upper City were witness to the horrible sounds and sights taking place in the Lower City.

The Romans placed their idol in the Bais Hamikdash, and brought sacrifices to it.  They sang, and celebrated their victory.  They plundered the golden keilim of the Bais Hamikdash. 

That evening, Titus celebrated his victory by bringing a harlot into the Kodesh Kodeshim.  He spread a Torah on the floor and violated it.  He then took a sword and cut the curtain, which miraculously, began oozing blood.  Titus then shouted, "I have killed the Lord of Israel."  In truth, the blood was a sign of Hashem's pain over the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash.