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Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Hashmonean King Alexander-Yannai (Jannaeus), an avowed enemy of the Jewish sages, died on this date. So great was his cruelty and the ruthlessness with which he persecuted the Sages and those loyal to them (some 50,000 were killed in the years 82-76 BCE), that the day of his death was declared a holiday.

King Yannai

On this day, Shevat 2 (January 14, 1793), a frenzied mob gathered around the Jewish ghetto of Rome with the intention of setting it on fire. Miraculously, heavy rains began to fall, and it became impossible for the bloodthirsty horde to carry out their plans, thus saving the homes and lives of the Jews from destruction. Every year, that day, also known as Moed di Piombo (“Holiday of Gray [Clouds]”), has been celebrated as a day of thanksgiving by the Jews of Rome.

Other "Purims"

Shevat 2 is the yahrtzeit (anniversary of the passing) of Chassidic Master Rabbi Meshulam Zusha of Anipoli (1718?-1800), a disciple of the 2nd leader of the Chassidic movement, Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch.

Despite Rabbi Zusha's erudition and great piety, he was distinguished by his self-effacement and simple ways. A characteristic saying of his goes: "If it were offered to me to exchange places with Abraham our Father, I would refuse. What would G-d gain from this? He'd still have one Zusha and one Abraham..." His colleagues said of him that he was literally incapable of seeing anything negative in a fellow Jew.

More about Rabbi Zusha

Daily Thought

The angels who perceive all things from their haven above, they will never know. They will never confront the ruthless and the insensible, the mountains of obstinate darkness, the futility of screaming as mortal life flogs you against its cold, deaf barriers. To them, all things have reason, nothing is impossible, every event has its cause and that cause its cause—they will never escape the prison of knowing.

Even the divine soul, a breath of G-d—these are things she can never comprehend until she passes through this world. Here, cast beneath the blanket of Earth’s atmosphere, at some point she can no longer close her eyes to the real world He has made. And find there are things she cannot face. Things that cannot be uttered. Things that cannot be, but are.

A breath of G‑d descends to this world, opens her eyes and closes them. And will open them again. At that time she will see the Essence That Has No Cause.