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ב"ה
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Thursday, 15 Cheshvan, 5782

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

In the 2nd century before the common era, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks) who, with the collaboration of the Jewish Hellenists, introduced pagan idols into the Holy Temple and set about to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Mattityahu, the son of the High Priest Yochanan, was already an old man when he picked up a sword and raised the flag of revolt in the village of Modiin in the Judean hills. Many rallied under his cry, "Who that is for G-d, come with me!" and resisted and battled the Greeks from their mountain hideouts.

After heading the revolt for one year, Mattityahu died on the 15th of Cheshvan of the year 3622 from creation (139 BCE). His five sons -- the "Macabees" Judah, Yochanan, Shimon, Elazar and Yonatan -- carried on the battle to their eventual victory, celebrated each year since by Jews the world over with the festival of Chanukah.

Links: VirtualChanukah.com; a Chanukah anthology

On this night in 1938 and continuing into the next day -- November 9 on the secular calendar -- the Nazis coordinated vicious pogroms against the Jewish community of Germany. Encouraged by their leaders, rioters attacked and beat Jewish residents, burned and destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses, and ransacked countless Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes, while police and firefighters stood by. Ninety-one Jews were killed and 20,000 others were deported to concentration camps.

These pogroms, which collectively came to be known as Kristallnacht (“night of broken glass,” referring to the thousands of windows that were broken) were a turning point after which Nazi anti-Jewish policy intensified.

Daily Thought

When G-d asked Abraham to take his son, his only son, the son he loves, Isaac, and raise him for an offering upon a mountain, G-d said, “please.”

He said, “Please stand for me in this test, so they will not say, ‘The other tests were of no substance.’”

The other tests included being thrown in a fiery furnace for not worshipping Nimrod.

Not complaining when he had to leave the land promised him so as not to starve.

Not flinching with fear when he ran to save his nephew from the powerful armies that had captured him.

Not wavering from his faith when he had been promised many children and not a single one had been born.

And all this would be unsubstantial if he would fail this one test?

Yes. Because all these tests only demonstrated that Abraham was a man with a cause.

It could have been that his stalwartness had less to do with G-d and truth than it had to do with his own self-identity and iron will to stick to his cause.

Until a challenge came that would not promote his cause, not affirm his identity, not contribute to his future, or any future. Something that could only burn down everything he had ever built. 

But it was truth.

When Abraham fulfilled that impossible act, G-d said, “Don’t do anything to the lad. Because now everyone will know that all you do is real.” 

Likutei Sichot vol. 20, pg. 73ff.