(Martin Buber, Tales ot the Hasidim, The Early Masters)
“An unbeliever once expounded to the rabbi of Berditchev that even the great old masters had erred gravely, that Rabbi Akiba, for instance, had taken Bar Kochba, the rebel, for the Messiah and honored him accordingly”.
The Rabbi of Berditchev replied:
“. . . When God saw that the soul of Israel had sickened, he wrapped it in the acrid linen of the Exile, and that the soul might bear it, he swathed it in a numbing sleep. But lest this destroy it, he wakes it from time to time with hope in the false Messiah, and then lulls it to rest again until the night is passed and the true Messiah appears. And for the sake of this, even the eyes of the sages are sometimes blinded.”