How to protest – the Jewish way

Since we see a lot of protests these days ranging from angry, loud, but civil to angry, loud, and violent, I can’t help but wonder how different the world would be if we would protest the way our sages reportedly did some 1850 or so years ago:

The government [of Rome] had issued a decree that they [the Jews] should not study the Torah, that they should not circumcise their sons, and that they should profane the Sabbath.

What did Yehudah ben Shammu’a and his colleagues do?  They went and consulted a certain matron whom all the Roman notables used to visit. She said to them, “Go and demonstrate at night time.” They went and demonstrated at night [saying]:

“Alas, in heaven’s name, are we not your brothers, are we not the sons of one father and are we not the sons of one mother?  Why are we different from every nation and tongue that you issue such harsh decrees against us?”

The decrees were thereupon annulled, and that day was declared a feast day.

[Babylonian Talmud: Rosh Hashana 19a]


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