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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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.

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King Yannai

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.

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More about Rabbi Zusha

Daily Thought

There are times G‑d will put a soul in prison—often a very lofty soul, such as Joseph.

It is like being held in a vise. Squeezed with the ultimate of futility, the deepest powers of the soul break through.

Likutei Sichot vol. 23, pp. 163–165; Shlach 5732:1.