The destruction of the Jewish communities of Erez Yisrael in the first century of the common era, with the destruction of the 2nd temple at its heart, followed by the genocide of the Jews of Judea 70 years later, were a catastrophe of epic proportions. All the while as they were happening, Jewish creativity never slowed down for a moment; indeed, the mishnaic era is rightfully regarded as one of the peaks in a history of millenia of cultural creativity. Yet while the creativity was never blunted, the echoes of the catastrophe reverberate resoundingly all the way into the main political discussions of the 21st century.
Page 55b of the Gitin tractate launches a long discussion of the catastrophe, its causes, its outlines, and its results. These 4-5 pages deserve a book-length analysis, which I'm not about to undertake. Still, here's the first story, that launches the discussion; it's very well known by many educated Jews, whether they've studied Gitin or not. I find it fascinating on many levels, one of which is the total lack of the feeling of victimization the powerless or weak are so supposed to revel in these days, as if weakness is a moral trophy. Well, those Jews sure proved to be the weaker side, and they sure were persecuted, but for the next few thousand years they told themselves stories about all the things they did wrong to bring their suffering upon themselves. So here's perhaps the single most important story of all, the story of Kamza and Bar Kamza, because of whom Jerusalem was destroyed:
There were once in Jerusalem two men, one named Kamza and the other named Bar Kamza. And there was a third man who's name has mercifully been lost, who was a friend of Kamza and an enemy of Bar Kamza. This man hosted an important social event, and told his servant to invite Kamza. The servant mistakenly invited Bar Kamza. When Bar Kamza arrived, the host threw him out. Bar Kamza, publicly mortified, begged to be allowed to stay, offering to pay the cost of his board, or even the entire cost of the event, but the host refused. Bar Kamza was especially furious that the high society of the time, the scholars, watched this happen and didn't do anything to save him from humiliation, and so he went to the Romans and told them the Jews were plotting a revolt, and this set the whole story in motion.
The moral of the story, the Talmud tells us, is that Jerusalem was destroyed because of sin'at hinam, unnecessary animosity between people. Not, say, occupation, or the heavy weight of Roman rule, or a wish for freedom or liberty or any sort of noble action one could attribute to the Jews or ignoble policy to attribute to the Roman. The Jews were punished, according to their own version, because they deserved it.