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Thursday, January 18, 2018

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.

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.

Links: More about Rabbi Zusha

Daily Thought

What is natural law? Natural law is when the Director directs each of His actors according to its character. Wondrous, but sensible. G‑d has endless wisdom.

What are miracles? Miracles are when the Director directs His actors freely, unrestrained by the character He has assigned each one. Amazing, but why not? G‑d is free to do as He wants.

Then there are the greatest of miracles: When the Director directs the show entirely contrary to the character of His actors, while directing each actor according to its character. The impossible occurs in a seemlessly natural way.

There is no room in our minds for such miracles. They are a perfect paradox—freedom and wisdom, chaos and order in perfect harmony. And therefore, we rarely can admit that they have occurred.

But go beyond your nature to fulfill your mission in life and you will ride the waves of such miracles, and the entire world will see with open eyes.