Questions and Answers: Chapters 1-5

Questions
1. Who is Rosh, and what is his “cause”?

2. For what are the Jews waiting?

3. How does Jesus differ from Rosh?

4. Why does Rabbi Hezron defend the Roman occupiers?

Answers
1. Rosh is the leader of the rebels who live in the hills above Galilee. Rosh claims that he and his band will rid Israel of the Romans. They will do so, he says, by intimidating, threatening, and often murdering any Roman who comes within striking distance. He believes in rule by fear, and this extends to those who live and work for him.

2. The Jews are waiting for the promised Messiah who will finally free them and rid Israel of Roman oppressors. In the beginning of the novel, Daniel fiercely believes that Rosh is this deliverer.

3. Rosh’s actions are all compelled by hate. He believes that freedom for the Jews will be accomplished by killing as many Romans as possible until they all give up and leave. He also believes that the ends justify the means. Rosh has his “army” steal what they need, even from fellow Jews, arguing that they should all be grateful and willing to support the “cause.” Jesus, by contrast, teaches a message of love and tolerance. He is humble and clean, unlike Rosh who is boisterous and filthy. Most startling to Daniel is that Jesus preaches a message of inclusion. Jesus says that all people, even the hated Romans, are children of God and have a place in his kingdom.

4. Rabbi Hezron believes that the Law will ultimately free Israel. “When the last Roman empire has vanished from the earth,” he argues, “the Law will still endure.” The rabbi does not believe in a violent uprising; he claims that all the insurgency has done is get innocent people killed. And, most galling to Daniel, he claims that the Jews actually have reason to be “grateful” to the Romans, whose money has built a “beautiful synagogue.”