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ב"ה
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Monday, 19 Shevat, 5781

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

The paradigm of all obstacles is the Sea of Reeds. Only six days earlier the children of Israel had fled their slavery, but now an impasse stood before them, with Pharaoh and his army charging from behind.

But the greatest of barriers turned into the greatest of miracles. Not only did the sea become an ambush for the enemy, but also a path that led the children of Israel to their ultimate freedom.

So it is with every obstacle. When you’re out to do the right thing, the entire world is there to assist you—including the most formidable threats, the most impossible challenges. The bigger they are, the more impossible to traverse, the greater the miracle they will provide.

That is the true reality of everything in this world: to serve you on your mission. What is your mission? To make this world miraculous.

And obstacles are miracles waiting to happen.

Likutei Sichot, vol. 6, Beshalach.