This is given simply as a sample of the teaching of the Talmud
on the subject both by precept and example. There is no
intention to cast a slight on general Jewish integrity, or
suggest distrust in regard to their ethical creed.
Rabbon Gamliel, Rabbi Eliezer ben Azaryah, Rabbi Yehoshua, and Rabbi
Akiva once went on a journey to Rome, and at Puteoli they already heard
the noisy din of the city, though at a distance of a hundred and twenty
miles. At the sound all shed tears except Akiva, who began to laugh.
"Why laughest thou?" they asked. "Why do you cry?" he retorted. They
answered, "These Romans, who worship idols of wood and stone and offer
incense to stars and planets, abide in peace and quietness, while our
Temple, which was the footstool of our God, is consumed by fire; how can
we help weeping?" "That is just the very reason," said he, "why I
rejoice; for if such be the lot of those who transgress His laws, what
shall the lot of those be who observe and do them?"
THE TALMUD, _Maccoth_, fol. 24, col. 2.