Judah, the fourth son of
and Leah, was born in Charan on the 15th of Sivan, of the year 2196 from creation (1565 BCE). He passed away on the same date 119 years later, in Egypt.
Judah took the leadership role both in selling Joseph into slavery and in the brothers' later attempts to find him and free him, and to protect Benjamin. On his deathbed, Jacob conferred the leadership of Israel upon Judah, proclaiming: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the legislator from between his feet, until Shiloh (the Moshiach)
comes..." The royal house of David, as well as many of the great sages and leaders of Israel throughout
the generations of Jewish history, trace their lineage to Judah.
Judah had five sons: Er and Onan, who died without children; Shelah; and his twins from
Tamar, Peretz and Zerach. Their descendants formed the Tribe of Judah, the most populous and prestigious of the twelve tribes of Israel.
After the death of King Solomon in 797 BCE, the people of Israel split into two kingdoms: ten tribes formed the
Kingdom of Israel in the north, with Shomron (Samaria) as the capital; only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin
remained loyal to Solomon's son, Rechavam, and formed the Kingdom of Judea in the south, in the areas
surrounding the capitol Jerusalem. Eventually, the Northern Kingdom was conquered by Assyria and the ten tribes living there were exiled and lost to the Jewish people; the
inhabitants of Judea were also exiled (to Babylonia) but subsequently returned to the Holy Land and rebuilt
Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. Over time, the terms "Judean" and "Jew"--which originally referred to a member
of the tribe of Judah--became synonymous with "Israelite" and was used to refer to the descendants of all
of Jacob's twelve sons--i.e., the Jewish people.
Shortly after midnight of the 15th of Sivan of 1927,
the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), was arrested by agents of the GPU (Soviet Secret Police) and Yevsketzia ("Jewish section" of the Communist Party) for leading the underground network of rabbis, teachers and emissaries working to preserve and disseminate Jewish learning and observance throughout the Soviet Empire.
Make a part of your life an act that takes you beyond your bounds—
helping people that are not part of your family or circle of friends,
doing something that does not fit within your own self-definition.