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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Moses passed away on the 7th of Adar. Following G-d's instruction that Joshua should succeed him and lead the Jewish nation into the Land of Israel, Moses transferred leadership duties to Joshua on the day before he passed away. Thus the fifth day of Adar was the last day of Moses' leadership.

Link: Moses' Passing

R. Shmuel Abba Schapiro and his brother R. Pinchas managed the famed printing press of Slavuta, in what is now Ukraine. In 1835, they were falsely accused of arranging the murder of one of their workers (who had committed suicide). As a result, the government ordered the closing of all Russian Jewish printing presses (save for one press in Vilnius), and the brothers were incarcerated and flogged.

The brothers’ tremendous piety and fear of Heaven followed them to their cells. It is related that while walking through the two rows of soldiers who were administering the flogging, R. Shmuel Abba’s kippah (skullcap) fell off of his head, and he refused to proceed until it was returned, although he received additional blows as a result.

A miniature Torah scroll was smuggled into their cell during their incarceration to enable the brothers to study. This unique scroll later gifted to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who would dance with it every year on Simchat Torah.

R. Shmuel Abba passed away on 5 Adar in the year 5624 from Creation (1864). Books printed in the Slavuta press remain prized collectors’ items to this day.

Links: My Son’s Badge of Honor; Eight Torah Scrolls as Amazing and Diverse as the Jewish People

Daily Thought

The original emblem of the Jewish people is the seven-branched Menorah that stood in the inner chamber of the Tabernacle and the Temple.

The Menorah shone light to a dark world. It also embodied the two opposites that make us a nation.

On the one hand, the Menorah has seven branches, just as there are seven sorts of Jews, each with their own particular light, each serving their own distinct purpose, each with their own distinct meaning in life.

On the other hand, these branches were not manufactured individually and then soldered together. The entire Menorah was drawn out of a single ingot of gold.

This is the Jewish people, a magnificent paradox: We are one who shine as many.

And what do we shine: That one day, all of humanity will be one who shine as many.