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Friday, January 25, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

With the Black Death raging throughout Switzerland, poison was reported to have been found in the wells at Zofingen. Some Jews were put to the "Dümeln" (thumbscrews) test, whereupon they "admitted" their guilt of the charges brought against them. This discovery was then communicated to the people of Basel, Zurich, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, and even Cologne.

The Jews of Basel were burned on an island in the Rhine on January 9, 1349, in wooden huts that were especially built for the occasion. Their children, who were spared, were taken and forcibly baptized.

On his way back from participating in a brit milah ceremony in Bohuslav (in what is now Ukraine), R. Aryeh Leib, known as the “Grandfather of Shpoli” was crossing over the frozen Ros River when the ice suddenly broke beneath his feet. Miraculously he was saved, and to this day his descendants mark this date with a joyous feast (Ish Hapelleh, pp. 299–301).

Link: The Story of the Baby Who Was a Grandfather

Daily Thought

Look deeply within each person you encounter, no matter how brilliant or dull, refined or crude, righteous or wicked you judge this person to be.

Beyond their clothes, beyond their skin, beyond their behavior, beyond their words.

Beyond the emotions they show, the personality in which they dress, past whatever masks they don to conceal their inner woes.

Look deeply and see the vicious war each one fights inside, the battle to remain human in a maddening world—a world you will never know, for no two of us are placed in the same world and no two of us confront the same challenges—

—the sickness at knowing one’s own failures and deficiencies, the yearning to be more, the disappointment at not being that, the struggle to fight every sorrow, every pain, every plummeting, disastrous trauma of life…

True, perhaps not everyone fights every battle. Some have long surrendered.

But the very fact that this person was assigned this battle tells us more than can be spoken, for the One who created him knows he has the power to prevail and win.

That alone is enough to admire, and to be humbled, asking yourself, “Do I fight a battle nearly as fierce as the one I expect this person to win? In what way am I any better?”

Tanya, Chapter 30.