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Shabbat, July 12, 2014

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

After the postilion (coach driver) of the governor killed the four-year-old son of a councilor, charges were lodged against a Jew named Michael Vinelmann, a former resident of Basel, alleging that he had promised the murderer three gulden for the blood of the child. The murderer was broken on the wheel, and the Jew burned alive without trial.

Shortly before, a similar accusation had been brought against the Jews of Schaffhausen and been successfully refuted. When news of Michael Vinelmann's fate was brought to Schaffhausen, several of the Jews of the city fled and were soon captured. They were taken back to Schaffhausen, where they were thrown into a dungeon and terribly tortured. Unable to endure the pain, they "confessed" to the crime of which they had been accused, whereupon all the Jews living in Schaffhausen were condemned to death. Thirty Jews were burned alive. Four weeks later, eighteen men and women died at the stake in Winterthur in a similar context.

Rabbi Yosef Trani, known as the Maharit (1568-1639), was born in Safed and married a descendant of Rabbi Yosef Cairo. When a plague broke out in Safed, he abandoned the city, but returned in 1594 to head a yeshivah. In 1604, he was appointed rabbi of Constantinople and, a few years later, leader of Turkish Jewry. He is renowned for his responsa published under the title Teshuvot Maharit.

Laws and Customs

During the summer months, from the Shabbat after Passover until the Shabbat before Rosh Hashahah, we study a weekly chapter of the Talmud's Ethics of the Fathers ("Avot") each Shabbat afternoon; this week we study Chapter Six.

Link: Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 6

Daily Thought

There is a third strategy, powered by the intense light of inner Torah that awakens the essence of the soul, an essence-core that knows no change, that is unperturbed by any challenge or trial.

Faced with such invincible power, even the darkest forces surrender, make peace and become your allies.

The essence of your soul, after all, is the essence of all that is—even of darkness.

Maamar Padah B’Shalom 5722.