“For the commandment is a lamp, The teaching is a light, And the way to life is the rebuke that disciplines.” PROVERBS 6:23 (The Israel Bible™)

The Talmud (Bava Batra 4a) quotes this verse in a passage explaining why the wicked King Herod was motivated to renovate and beautify the second Beit Hamikdash. Herod had engaged in a murderous rampage against the leading rabbis of his generation, only to regret his evil actions after he came to know and respect the Sage Bava ben Buta. “What can I do to repent my evil ways?” King Herod begged Bava. Quoting this verse, Bava responded, “You who extinguished the light of the world by killing so many Torah scholars, can atone by bringing more light into the world.” Herod listened to the rabbi and immediately embarked upon a massive architectural project, restoring the glory of the Beit Hamikdash, and causing the second Temple to surpass even the beauty of the first Temple built by King Shlomo. In this way, he strengthened the light emanating to the world.

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